No Discounts for Millennials

You’ve seen them on the bus, in museums, and at movie theaters: senior discounts. As a reward for being old, senior citizens pay a quarter less for bus fare, a small fortune less for movie tickets, and receive discounts generally all over the place.

If you’re a twentysomething, or part of what some journalists have colorfully called “the screwed generation,” you may be wondering: why not me?

Priceonomics’s Alex Mayyasi takes a contentious stance in his post, “Why Does the Senior Citizen Discount Still Exist?” He says that the idea that senior citizens require financial help stems from the high percentage of seniors who were living in poverty after the Great Depression. Federal programs like Social Security and Medicare dramatically decreased that percentage. Mayyasi now says that millennials are being screwed over by the recession and are in a very vulnerable place, so maybe they should get a discount, too. If I made a list of things that probably would never come into existence, a discount for millennials would be on that list.

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14 Comments / Post A Comment

Greenbeans (#3,048)

Related: is it ethical to continue to use your student ID after you graduated, and if so, for how long?

What if the aforementioned ID has no expiration date?

bgprincipessa (#699)

@Greenbeans forever. or until you look too old for it to pass.

smr (#2,868)

@Greenbeans I’m still using my freshman ID 9 years later. I look so great in it.

Morbo (#1,236)

How about no discounts? It costs the same amount to transport a 180 lb. senior citizen on the train, as it does a 180 lb. millennial.

The only difference is one will want to tell me about a funny thing their cat did, and the other would like to show me the footage they took of it on their smartphone.

Wilgrims (#1,318)

Not to be that guy…who doesn’t live there…buuuut in Europe, usually things have discounts until you are 26, whether you are a student or not. Helping the old AND young is not impossible (well, unless your labor coalition is wrecked by financial betting)!

@Wilgrims Yeah, in France everything is pretty steeply discounted. Museums are free, train tickets are something like 40% off, movie and theater tickets get a good discount too…until you turn 26 and supposedly magically get a well-paying job.

patiolanterns (#2,234)

@Wilgrims We have senior discounts in Canada, where in fact people over age 65 are half as likely to be living in poverty than any other age group.

cmcm (#267)

@Wilgrims You can get a Young Persons Railcard in the UK until you’re 26 (or forever if you’re a student) which costs like £25 but gets you a third off rail fares. Or sometimes more – for some inexplicable reason, I can get off peak prices (£32) on the peak Birmingham -> London train which costs everyone else an unbelievable £158.

emmabee (#2,008)

At least in New York, there are often “under 30″ discounts at plays, classical music concerts, opera, etc – lots of your standard high culture stuff that’s trying to shed its geriatric image.

oh my god the comments on that article.

@fo (#839)

“If I made a list of things that probably would never come into existence, a discount for millennials would be on that list.”

Um, so wrong Mike Dang. There absolutely *will* be discounts for millenials, but they don’t start until January 1, 2047, and roll into existence daily thereafter for about 18 years, until all the millenials get a discount.

So, you’ll have to put that one on a different list.

j a y (#3,935)

I’m cynical. The stores aren’t being nice, they’re competing for older people’s money. They’re trying to hook students on spending habits and brand loyalty in their formative years.

When margins are thinner, I doubt there are seniors discounts – like online storefronts!

LHOOQ (#1,634)

Senior discounts are simply price targeting. If businesses thought that they would make more money in the long run by doing away with their senior discounts, they would do it.

Titania (#489)

The AARP is a powerful engine–and old people loveeee their senior discounts. Then again, while we may not have as many seniors living in poverty, we do have plenty of seniors on a fixed income or living off savings, so I sort of feel like it does make sense. Millenials have decades of potential and lots of energy with which to make money to allow them to enjoy luxuries. Senior citizens have limited time, limited income, and limited abilities. Is it ludicrous that Mitt Romney gets a discount at the movies and I don’t? Yes, of course. But by and large, I’m pretty cool with this. I can schlep myself to Kip’s Bay on a Sunday morning for cheap matinees if I want a cheaper option; my grandma has to go to the only theater that her retirement community buses people to that has a hearing loop. Frankly, she and many other elderly people enjoy a vastly less enjoyable experience than I and other young people do in the theaters, museums, and public transit where these discounts are common. I actually think she deserves to pay less.

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