In Florida, but definitely not a senior

Eileen Fisher, meet TJ Maxx. TJ doesn’t think anyone over 50 is too hip either. When my friend visited its new store in South Beach, Florida yesterday, a sales associate made a beeline for her and asked if she’d like to sign up for a “senior citizen credit card.”

I wonder what benefits are associated with the card. Will my friend only get rewards points for senior-oriented products like support hose, pants with stretch waists and flannel night gowns that come down to her ankles? If she earns enough points, can she get a free weekend at a retirement community in Florida.

Someone’s got to give these stores a few basic marketing lessons, so I might as well start now. Most important lesson: Kill the word senior. It’s outdated and irrelevant. Perhaps 60 year olds were considered seniors 30 years ago–when they were days away from getting their gold watches. Today the word makes sense when you introduce a US Senator, as in “Ladies and gentlemen, I now introduce you to the senior Senator from New York.” Or when we say: “She has seniority at her company.”  It’s also okay to use it when we forget something and we  jokingly say, “I’m having a senior moment.”

She a senior....Senator, that is.
She's a senior....Senator, that is.

The AARP thinks we’re seniors when we turn 50, automatically inviting us to become card-carrying members on our 50th birthday. At least it began to rethink its target audience when it stopped identifying itself as American Association of Retired Persons.  I do think it would be better off creating a new name entirely–not to mention a new marketing program–since even the initial “R” has no relevance to people in the 21st century, especially women.  The only thing retiring about us is when we go to sleep.

When you see, you’ll know just what I mean.

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