Chipping Away at Senior Discounts
One of the benefits of being a baby boomer is that we know more than most of the younger people.
OK – I take that statement back. The collapse of the housing and credit bubbles and our pathetic savings rates are evidence that many baby boomers didn’t know much at all about personal finance.
What I meant to say is that our advancing years qualify us for a variety of “senior discounts.” Some of those discounts kick in at age 55. Unlike some of my contemporaries who are too embarrassed to even join AARP, I have no hesitation in using my age to my economic advantage.
Alas, things may be changing in the world of senior discounts.
A year ago, my 55+ status allowed me to score discount movie tickets at both Regal and Carmike Cinemas. The 30% savings per ticket actually meant something to me and Mrs. ToughMoneyLove. We could see a movie in the theater for less than the purchase price of a DVD.
Not so anymore.
On my last visit to a Regal cinema, the senior discount starting age had been quietly bumped to 60. I was not happy. I mentally decided at that moment to exclusively patronize Carmike. Surely it would let me in at my usual discount.
Not to be. Carmike actually increased its senior discount age to 65.
This would not be so harsh if I hadn’t already been exploiting these discounts for three years. To have them taken away from someone who watches his money – and without warning – is not nice.
Does this signify a trend? I wonder. If Regal and Carmike are trying to discourage baby boomers from going to the theater, their strategy is working. The price of two movie tickets now easily exceeds the purchase price of a DVD. We have a large screen HD TV. I am happy to wait for the movie to be released for on-demand or DVD viewing. I make an exception now and then for certain movies with high value special effects, but those will be rare.
Maybe the theater owners see this as payback for baby boomer contributions to our economic collapse. What have we done to deserve a discount, they wonder?
That is a fair question. The problem is that you gave us the discount and now you’ve said – “you are no longer old enough.” I may be older but my memory still works fine. This I will remember, Regal and Carmike. With marketing like that, online content is going to bring you down.
Is this a mere blip or do you think that senior discounts in general will fade away?