|Aging Becomes Even Less Appealing|
|Key Words||Net worth, discounts, retailers, companies, bankruptcy|
It used to be that getting old brought certain advantages, like 10 percent off a hotel room, or a few dollars off dinner. But now that one in five Americans is 55 or over, and many have a higher net worth than younger people, many companies are having second thoughts. It does not make sense for movie theaters, for example, to offer senior discounts to patrons who drive up in Mercedes cars.
The discounts for seniors began in 1955 when the National Retired Teachers Association obtained lower health insurance premiums for its members. This group spawned the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which negotiated deals with hotels and other vendors. Retailers found that senior discounts helped them induce the descendants of the Depression to spend money. Over time, banks, airlines and restaurants followed suit. Practically every company eventually offered discounts, even stores offering haircuts.
However, many of these businesses are now eliminating price breaks because
seniors often have more money than younger customers, and are living longer.
As the senior age group increases in size, the discounts are becoming
expensive. Delta Air Lines has dispensed with its senior club, in which
seniors paid an annual fee in return for lower prices, although senior
discounts and coupon books still exist. In Florida, some of R.J.Gator's
HomeTown Grill and Bar restaurants have amended their early bird specials
to exclude weekends in the snowbird season. Meantime, General Cinema Theaters
has pulled out of Florida and filed for bankruptcy due in part to the
volume of discounted tickets it sold.
(Updated October 1, 2001)
|Source||No Author, "Older consumers finding fewer perks," St. Petersburg Times, September 1, 2001.|
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