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You’ve clipped coupons for decades. You’ve memorized your favorite stores’ sales cycles. You’re a master of saving money on your groceries, and as you approach the ripe old age of 60, you look forward to adding a 5% senior discount to your savings arsenal.

And then your local grocery store pulls the rug out from under you – and tries to spin the news as being really exciting.

What’s that all about?

On the heels of its rival Kroger, southern supermarket chain Publix is methodically doing away with its senior discount days. Back in December, Publix pulled the plug on its 5% discount each Wednesday for seniors in Tennessee and Alabama – nearly a year after Kroger did the same in the same region. And effective this coming Wednesday, Publix is ending the senior discount in Georgia and South Carolina, just over a year after Kroger did the same in the same region.

Kroger-owned Harris Teeter, based in North Carolina, still has a 5% senior discount day, so Publix stores in North Carolina do, too. But that’s the only region in which Publix will offer a senior discount anymore. And if Harris Teeter discontinues it – you can bet a corresponding move by Publix won’t be far behind.

So why all the hating on seniors? It’s to give big discounts to the rest of us! Supposedly.

“After much research and consideration, we found that we can pass along greater savings to all our customers through other promotional offerings and pricing strategies,” Publix spokesperson Brenda Reid said in a statement. “We continuously look for new ways and promotions to provide additional value to our customers.” Besides, she added, usage of the senior discount has been declining anyway.

It’s a very similar explanation – nearly word-for-word, in fact – to the one used when Publix and other stores did away with double coupons. Few people take advantage of double coupons/the senior discount anymore, so we’re going to eliminate it and offer even better savings in its place! But the explanation also raises a similar question – if so few people are taking advantage of double coupons/the senior discount, how does doing away with it free up so many promotional dollars that it’s possible to offer even better savings in its place?

Publix isn’t elaborating on that, nor about what “greater savings” it envisions, beyond a generic plug for its weekly ad circulars, buy-one-get-one-free deals and digital coupons.

Kroger led the way in phasing out senior discounts when it began eliminating them division by division early last year. The move followed Kroger’s similar division-by-division elimination of double coupons, which began several years earlier. In fact, the very last Kroger region to snuff out double coupons – Nashville, Tennessee – was the very first to eliminate its weekly 5% senior discount as well, representing an entirely seamless transition from retiring one discount program to phasing out another.

Publix had always said its senior discount – and its double coupons – were “a competitive response to other supermarkets”. So it’s no surprise that Publix didn’t feel the need to continue either of them anymore, once Kroger stopped offering them. Kroger isn’t a competitor in Publix’s home state of Florida, so Publix never offered either perk there. Besides, “we are talking about Florida,” one commenter on the website I Heart Publix once wrote. “If they gave a senior citizen discount here they would go broke in about 20 minutes.”

Some might actually argue that seniors aren’t necessarily deserving of special treatment – if you give senior citizens a discount, should you also give discounts to veterans and active military members? To first responders? Law enforcement? Anyone who’s nice to you that day? Besides, seniors of all people are probably the least profitable to grocery stores – they don’t spend as much, so enticing them with a special discount in order to get their business isn’t likely to bring in big profits.

Nonetheless, seniors are likely to be disappointed by the loss of their special discounts. And with two of the country’s largest grocery chains discontinuing them, there are fewer options for offended seniors who might be inclined to take their business elsewhere. But you can bet they’ll be watching – to see whether those promised “greater savings” pan out.

Image source: USDA

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3 Comments

  1. The right to bear arms, and defend yourself, your home, and your family, are in our constitution. The fact that the left wants to take away guns, defund police, and have open borders, makes supporting the NRA very important to freedom. You must get your information from the mainstream news.

  2. Will be doing less shopping at Publix. Publix has been my primary choice for many years. Lots of Krogers, Aldis and Asian markets and other choices in my area.

  3. Judy Meehan says:

    I have shopped Publix exclusively since 1985 – that is 33 years. (10 in Fl & 23 in GA). Publix customer service has been stellar‼️ I have hailed Publix to all my friends as being the number one place to shop‼️ I cannot believe they are taking away the senior discounts‼️ Those of us who can least afford to lose it. It won’t do any good to tell you how very disappointed I am, but you need to know that regardless. Recently when the news reported Publix was a big donor to NRA, I was really angry. The last I saw on that issue Publix had “put it on hold” because of deserved boycotts & bad publicity. I would hope they eliminate these disgraceful donations to the corrupt NRA & ban together to protect America in all these senseless shootings‼️ Do not taint your high standards for the likes of this corrupt organization. Thank you.

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