JANUARY 15, 2014
The argument of who should get discounts

I loves me a good discount, don’t get me wrong. I wrote the book on being a cheapskate – literally. It’s a bestseller in Manitoba (www.cheapskatebook.com). But I have never understood the whole senior’s discount thing. Thanks to a reader’s email it got me thinking about the whole concept.

It first struck me as a kid at restaurants when there was a special section of the menu. I thought the reason was that portions were smaller and that was it. It turned out restaurants were just one of the many places older folks got a deal.

Have you noticed that being a senior is younger and younger now? Wasn’t it 65 before? My mom isn’t even 60 and she brags about getting senior discounts.

But statistics show that the older generations have more money than the youngsters. The argument could be made that seniors have spent their whole life paying taxes that it is time for a relief when it comes to shelling out money at an older age.

Though an unemployed University of Manitoba student – who is eligible for several discounts himself as a student, I should point out – isn’t too keen on the idea of seniors being on easy street, and he sent me an email articulating his thoughts with some rather valid points. I stress “some.”

“I was taking the bus to class and all the seniors got off at the casino (in Winnipeg),” wrote James, who wouldn’t give his last name. “What made me sick was hearing two of them sitting in front of me talking about how the price of everything keeps going up and how they had to cut back on Christmas presents. Why in bloody hell are you going to a casino to drop money into a blinking box of emptiness [slot machines] if they are so hard done by? And they bitched about the bus fare going up this year. For the amount of time they spend there (at the casino) they could easily be doing something worthwhile like babysitting grandkids or volunteering somewhere. Why blow your money and then turn around and complain how you don’t have enough anymore?”

I like to see things from several angles when I form an opinion. The only way I can switch up James’s argument is to say it’s like a 30-year smoker who complains about having lung cancer when he or she knew fully the dangers of smoking. Or someone who complains every winter about Manitoba’s weather but never takes the leap to move somewhere more desirable to their tastes.

Again, who am I to criticize discounts considering I wrote a book that features several chapters on how to get ‘em?
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