The Sage Connection

Why do the marketers of American focus on the teenagers and twenty-somethings and ignore seniors?


We asked for suggestions on what you would like to see in this column and Joyce Ogden wrote:

“I'm a long-time senior, retired over 24 years. Today I got a flyer (among others) in the morning paper from Fred Meyer, noting prominently that next Tuesday is "Senior Discount Day". However, everything in the flyer was toys for grandchildren (?), clothes for sons/daughters, etc. but NOTHING for a senior him/herself. I'd like to see ads for something I might really need or use.”

I feel your pain, Joyce. I have been wondering about this myself for quite a while.

For example, when I drive by the beautiful sailboats and cabin cruisers docked at the Swantown Marina, I often wonder how many are owned by 18-year olds.

And when I pass a 42-foot motorhome on the highway I have yet to see a 22-year-old driver.

It is true some seniors have had the opportunity to save more than others. It is also true that many of us have started our own businesses or moved into a second career altogether – increasing our income over what we lived on while working before retiring.

And it is common knowledge, among us, that seniors replace worn furniture, trade in cars, renovate their homes, purchase clothing for themselves, improve and/or enlarge their gardens and take vacations, sometimes to their vacation homes.

Some family members would say we spend a ridiculous amount of money on toys, clothing and holiday costumes for our beloved pets.

We may have varying amounts of disposable cash, but we don’t spend it all on Depends and vitamins.

We also make up a very large portion of the population. Most of the grocery stores have recognized this, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, by allowing us special days and hours to safely shop.

September is the month that hosts Grandparents Day. How many ads that month do you recall seeing promoting specials or discounts on jewelry, clothing, restaurant, massage, manicures or pedicure gift cards, flowers, candy, concert or airline tickets for grandparents? Yeah, me neither. And yet we enjoy all those things.

So why do the marketers of American focus on the teenagers and twenty somethings and ignore us? And why do they assume we want to spend all of our disposable income on our grandchildren?

Perhaps it is partially because we don’t rely on plastic as much as the younger generations. Maybe they think we already have everything we will need before we die. Or could it be that we are invisible? I have also wondered about that when shopping with a family member for myself but the conversation from the salesperson is directed to my daughter instead of me.

And yet we persevere. We shop, repair, replace, travel, pamper our pets and eat out without the help or notice of the marketing mavens of America.

Wise up kids – your day is coming.  

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week.  Contact her at or post your comment below. 


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