Honestly, I’ve never understood why senior citizens, as a class, get all kinds of discounts. Why not people in their thirties . . . or forties? Evidently marketers have figured out a rationale for this type of promotion. Here’s an example of a unique discount. Last weekend the Consumer Gal and I went to a reunion in L.A. We checked a Sheraton Hotel near where the event was taking place. The price for the room was $195. With an AAA discount, the price was lowered to $149, an almost 24 percent discount. When I inquired if there was a better discount for AARP members (AARP is open for membership to anyone over age 50), they told me that the first night would cost $195, with the following night costing the last two digits of my year of birth. So, for example, if I were born in 1961 (no, I’m not revealing my birth year), the two nights would cost 195 plus 61. The average for the two nights would be $128. In other words, the older you are, the less you pay for the additional night.
The reason this makes little sense to me is that the average 23-year-old has a lot less discretionary money than does the average 60- or 70-year-old. In any case, being a “senior” is like living with a coupon taped to your back. But since that is the way of the American world, let’s take a look at some typical discounts available to seniors (and even younger folks).
Discounts abound. Perhaps my favorite discount is the U.S. National Park Service America the Beautiful Pass. If you are over 62, this is the best tourist value in America (next to New York’s Staten Island Ferry, which is free for everyone) at 10 bucks . . . for life! You, and up to three passengers in your car, can visit Yosemite (my favorite by far,) Yellowstone, Glacier and every other venue in the vast, wonderful park system at no charge, once you have forked over the initial 10 smackers. It also provides other assorted discounts in the park. You can get the card at any of the venues. Some states also offer discounts for their parks.
If you are over 60, you can get a 20-percent discount card at Elephant Bar locations. Applebee’s has a 10 to 15 percent discount at participating locations. It’s coffee for a buck at Denny’s for AARP members.
At Ross Dress For Less Stores it’s dress for even more less (???) with 10 percent off on Tuesdays for those over 55. Kohl’s offers 15 percent off on most Wednesdays for those over 50.
Virtually every movie theatre discounts tickets. Jiffy Lube locations give 10 percent off to 60-plussers, with some even offering discounts to those over 50.
Check out baseball park policies. I recently learned that my beloved New York Yankees – yes, the same villains who sell some seats for thousands of dollars – have five-dollar senior discounts for some seats two hours before game time.
There is a succinct point to all of this. All kinds of businesses offer all kinds of discounts. So before you shop, ask. There are three essential ways to go about doing this. Call the business and ask; visit the business’s web site; or, when you get there, ask if there is a discount policy for seniors. This has worked for me a bunch of times.
And now, here is the tip of tips. There is a web site that consolidates much of this information for you. It’s www.seniordiscounts.com. Check it out. You need not pay for any of its additional serivces.