Technology and Website

EVERYTHING KING: Technology leaving some seniors behind

In this week’s column, Wendy has suggestions for retailers and their older customers, because we should always respect our elders

Respect your elders! Haven’t we all been raised with that adage?

Well, we should have been.

In today’s society, it seems to me that many senior citizens are getting left behind as technology races forward and gets more complicated.

I’m not talking about all the older people, because many are totally computer-savvy and managing just fine.

Still, I am going to be a hazard I guess there are many others who struggle with the fast-paced changes that occur day after day.

As with most things, we handle things pretty well until one change hits us the wrong way and we get agitated and need to vent. Straw meets camel.

I call that Tuesdays!

I am angry that Shoppers Drug Mart has changed its senior discount policy so that you must be 65 years old to get it. Previously, they allowed it for those 55 and up if you had the Optimum card.

It’s unclear when the policy changed or was modified, but customers are just now realizing it. They get to the checkout and realize they are no longer allowed the seniors discount.

The company’s corporate statement says: “A senior discount in our stores is offered at 65 in our stores although some of our locations may be 55 at the discretion of the store owner.”

So, company policy isn’t really company policy then? It’s a store-to-store policy? That seems confusing.

Shoppers Drug Mart is a leading retail pharmacy chain in Canada, owned by Loblaws, with 1,300 stores, so clearly doesn’t need me to give it consumer advice. But, I will anyway. And this is for all retailers!

Don’t tick off senior citizens. They will take you down.

Don’t disrespect your elders who helped you build your company to where it is today.

Do not suggest your customers misunderstand your corporate policy. They know what the sales are, what days are the busiest, your hours and, believe me, they know what their discounts have always been. Don’t treat them like they are stupid.

They have already accepted bagging their own purchases and self-checkouts or agreed to wait in endless lines for the one cashier who is actually working at the till.

Do not — I repeat, not — disrespect them.

More free advice for other retailers…

Start really advertising your seniors’ discount days! Make it worth a person’s while to switch their business.

This is not meant to be anti-Shoppers, because it seems that many retailers are doing the same kind of things to increase profit and reduce overhead. They cater to youth with apps, downloads and digital coupons — anything to avoid customer service.

According to Statistics Canada, as of July 2022, almost one in five Canadians were at least 65 years of age or older. I would think it might be wise to cater to them.

At least, offer 20 per cent off.