Ageism in Chicago!

I’ve previously pointed out this sign on buses and trains, calling attention to its hamhanded grammar. It implies that “customers with seniors” get priority seating, so you would get a special seat even if you’re with a senior. What they should have written is ” . . is for seniors and customers with disabilities.”

But today I noticed that the “senior” is indicated by a man holding a cane, which is a form of ageism. I don’t have a cane, and can walk perfectly fine, thank you.  (Further, not all disabled people are in wheelchairs.) Is the cane some kind of Universal Product Code for older people?

If not, perhaps readers can come up with a better one that’s less ageist. Maybe someone with gray hair, or someone with a speech bubble saying “Get off my lawn!” (That of course would have to be in several languages.)


  1. Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    LOL…while in Chicago I went to a White Socks game. My date was slightly insulted but mostly amused when a young woman offered her a seat. 🙂

  2. Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    The original sign would be fine if they deployed the Oxford Comma, of which I am a fierce advocate …

    Priority seating is for customers with disabilities, and seniors.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      But try it with the Shatner comma: Priority, is, for, customers, with disabilities, and, seniors.

      • Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink


      • rickflick
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        I think that comes from badly scribbled cue cards and a previous, evening, of, bar hopping. 😎

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        Never heard of this – perfect!! I love it!

        UHHH I MEAN

        never heard, of, this, perfect, I, love, it



        I guess you always need a . .

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Or swap the order: “seniors or customers with disabilities”

      • Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:06 am | Permalink

        Vampyricon, that does not solve the problem. There remains the implication that both classes – seniors/customers – must have have disabilities to qualify.

        Two words … Oxford Comma. You still need it:

        Seniors, or customers with disabilities.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Since it’s in the conjunctive, I suppose an alternative reading might be that one must have a disability and be accompanied by a senior to qualify for priority seating.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Yeah that’s how I read it.

  4. eric
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    At least it’s a meme/icon with a very long history (2,500 years? 3,000?) After all: what goes on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?

  5. Merilee
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to complain about ageism if seniors are by definition old-ish.

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Unwarranted assumptions about seniors!

      • vtvita
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        What’s unwarranted about that? Seniors are old, yes?

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          No! They are off to college!

  6. John Black
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    The way I read the sign, one would have to come with both a disability _and_ a senior in order to be eligible for priority seating.

  7. SusanD
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree that a picture of a man holding a cane is ageist. I used a cane when recovering from a broken ankle at age 50 and a hip replacement at age 63, neither of which are “old”.

    • nicky
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:15 am | Permalink

      Reminds me of a 60 year old male acquaintance who was shocked when the young woman he rested a lustful eye upon, offered him her seat!

    • vtvita
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Whoa – you’re saying 63 is not old? For the first 50 years of my life, 60 was old. Now that I’m 71, I consider 65 as old.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        I was telling my parents a story once about a guy that was having a hard time working the parking kiosk and was holding up the line. I told them, “he was some old middle aged guy – about my age”. Ha ha

  8. Harry
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Why assume the person with cane figure represents seniors? Maybe it’s a depiction of a customer with disability in addition to the wheelchair one.

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Oh come on; I could give you several reasons why that HAS to be the senior. Why represent two disabled people and no seniors, for one thing?

      • Harry
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Because it’s uncommon to have a generic image that represents seniors in general. Can’t recall ever seeing one, and the figure in question has no defining characteristics of advanced age – young people use canes too.

        • Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          I have a friend who collects signs for seniors (she’s one, and very fit), and nearly ALL OF THEM have canes. Many are bent over, too.

          • BJ
            Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

            I guess the question is: what would be another simple design to depict a person of an age at which people often suffer from physical ailments that make movement and standing more difficult (I’m trying to be very delicate with this description!)? It needs to be just as simple as the ones we’ve already seen. A verbal description isn’t enough, as that leaves out the illiterate and those who might not be able to see the words for some reason.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

              I think they should just take the “senior” part off. There are many seniors that are many physically able to stand on a bus and there are many who can’t. My dad is very fit at 76 while my mom isn’t as stable on her feet. My parents complain of how seniors are treated. They get fed up with medical people calling them “deary” and talking to them like children. I find this perplexing and terrible as well. Hell, I don’t talk to children that way!

              • BJ
                Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

                But there are many seniors with physical ailments who really do need to sit, and it’s good to have a sign. I think one can usually tell the difference between someone like Jerry and someone like those to whom the signs refer.

                Now, one might ask why a sign is needed to tell people they should give their seat to someone who clearly needs it more than they do, but signs like that do have an effect. People tend to feel like they have more of an obligation if there’s a sign that everyone knows they all can see.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

                But why say the word “senior”. Why give up your seat to a person simply because they look older if they are completely able to stand? That’s the ageist part. Unless it’s a courtesy just to be nicer to seniors….perhaps that’s what the sign is saying but I don’t think it is. It is assuming that if you are of a certain age you are feeble. Really for practical purposes, the sign should simply reference those that cannot stand as they are the ones who need the seats most.

              • BJ
                Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

                Well, I wasn’t arguing about the choice of words. But I do think our society does have an idea that people past, say, 70 years old should receive of certain deference from others, and we know the word “senior” usually means someone aged 65 or older. The use of the word isn’t arbitrary and, since the sign makes a distinction between seniors and the disabled, it implies reference to all seniors, rather than just the physically ailing ones

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

                That is a different approach. It values respect and need equally. It depends on what the intent is. If one should simply give a seat to an older person because of respect for an elder or not. Personally I value need over that simply because someone like my dad who is fit and 76 is often mistaken for someone in his 50s. I also have some problems with my Achilles that makes standing hard but I could have to stand while someon more fit sits. To me this isn’t fair but as I said, it’s a value judgment and my values may differ from others.

          • Liz
            Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

            The reason they might be bent over is because of the scholiosis. It runs in my family. My great-grandmother, grandmother, my grandmother’s cousin (the worst- still alive and almost folded over at 93-), my older sister, and I all have it. They said we don’t have it badly enough to wear a brace but that when we are 70 or 80 we might have a slight visible hump.

            • Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

              The UK traffic sign for the elderly is unloved, showing a couple bent over and using sticks. See here for some suggested improvements.

              • Merilee
                Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

                Love the shaking-the-stick one!

              • barn owl
                Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

                The pills one … LOL!

                Also, in the current traffic sign, what is the elderly woman doing to the elderly man? o_0

              • Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

                There’s a slow echo in here …


  9. Heather Hastie
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    I’m not old, but I do need a seat on public transport etc. I would never ask for one if one wasn’t available. I have a cane, but I don’t use it because it’s more trouble than it’s worth. It takes up a hand, and can make it harder to balance. It’s easier to limp along slowly. And I don’t have grey hair either (though if I stopped dying my hair, there’d be some there!). So, most of the time, I don’t look like a need any help.

    Oftentimes I’ve parked in a disabled park and had people harangue and abuse me because they don’t believe my disabled card belongs to me because I look “normal”.

    If I think a place might be really busy, I’ll take a cane just so people know there’s something “wrong” with me. I’ve left it in the car sometimes and wished I hadn’t because I’ve ended up getting pushed around, or had to stand around in agony.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I think really the courtesy should be if someone looks like they need a seat more than you do, be nice and let them have it. It doesn’t matter how old they are or if they seem to have a disability. When I was getting radiation, I couldn’t lift my arms to hold those damn railings (which I’m sort of short for anyway though you wouldn’t think I was infirm by looking at me). I guess no one would see me as needing a seat and I wouldn’t ask for them so I just wouldn’t get in the shuttle bus at work if it was too packed.

      • BJ
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        Definitely. When I lived in a big city, I would always give my seat to anyone with kids (they’re surely working harder than I am!), the elderly, pregnant women, and anyone with walking assistance. I didn’t notice many other people doing the same, though…

        • barn owl
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          When I lived in London, I was on the Tube once with a friend and at one stop we propmptly gave our seats to some elderly women who were headed to a Remembrance Day event (they had been WRNS or WAAF or something similar). One of them said, “And well you should – we won the war for you!” I’m a USAian, and I started to open my mouth to protest, but my Scottish friend elbowed me really hard in the ribs to shut me up. Let no good deed go unpunished! ;-D

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

            Haha you should have said “ you won the war for me and now I’m not mouthing you off for your rudeness. You’re welcome”.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        “…the courtesy should be if someone looks like they need a seat more than you do, be nice and let them have it. It doesn’t matter how old they are or if they seem to have a disability.”

        That should be the universal rule.

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          I agree! It is sad we even need signs to tell people how to behave. No matter how poorly done the signs may be, they are an attempt to address and help give guidance to those who lack common sense.

      • denise
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:33 am | Permalink

        I don’t think I appear to need a seat at all and I’m still surprised when anyone offers me theirs. It has to be simply because of my age since I have no apparent problem standing, but in fact my balance has gotten really bad and I think it’s really a good idea for me to be sitting down in a moving vehicle. So ageist or not, I’m grateful.

    • BJ
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      That really sucks. I would never approach someone who had a handicapped sign for parking in a handicapped space. Hell, I wouldn’t approach someone even if they didn’t, even though I’ve seen it many times.

      But, there was one time when I did get extremely angry with and chewed out someone for parking in a handicapped spot illegitimately. In college, I was friends with a student from Nigeria who had her left leg blown off by a landmine, and she walked with a cane due to her severe limp and crude prosthetic leg (she had to swing the entire leg around with every step). We were going to the campus bookstore and used her car. The bookstore had five handicapped spaces in front of it, and all other parking was in the regular lot which was about a quarter of a mile away. Every spot had been taken by a student with no handicapped license plate or pass, and this was a regular occurrence, as entitled students just can’t be bothered to walk a bit farther. My friend took the situation in stride (likely because she was used to this and had a generally positive disposition regardless), but I was absolutely fuming, and when one of those people came out and went to their car, I just lost it. I could see how embarrassed and ashamed they were and, I have to admit, it made me feel unbridled joy to see them so completely deflated and on the verge of tears. It’s pretty difficult to make me angry, and I can’t remember a time since then that I treated somebody anywhere close to this way.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

        Thank you on behalf of all of us!

        A lot of people get upset that we get closer parks. I say to them, would you like our disabilities too?

        Even when there are plenty of spots, they still take the disabled one, so they don’t have to walk one car space further. They think it’s the same for the disabled person, but it’s not. For some, that one space can make all the difference. Also, if they have a wheelchair, the parks are wider and have pavement access which they may not be able to get to if they’re not in the correct park.

        One day, a car cut in front of me (I had right of way) going around a corner, and parked in the only disabled spot in front of the bank. The driver jumped out of his car, and ran into the bank. I had to park much further up the street. By the time I got to the bank, he was running out again and leaving. Many people think that if they’re not long, it’s okay. Others think that if they leave someone sitting in the car, it’s okay, as if a disabled person can somehow get them to leave if they come along. I was really pissed off because I’d had a really bad day, so I went down to the police station to complain. The woman behind the counter (a civilian) looked at me with obvious disgust and went into a tirade about the police having more important things to do. So much for friendly Kiwis!

      • nicky
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

        Using a ‘disabled’ parking is an absolute nono.
        At least the students were ashamed of their behaviour, I guess they are not very likely to do it again.

        • nicky
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

          I did use the ‘Mom-with-kids’ parking though when I had small -not yet walking- kids, although I’m not a mom, but a dad.

          • Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

            Me too, and I’m a grandfather! we need a “person with kids” parking space.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

              I think those spots are generic in Canada – adult with young children or something. I find it aggravating after a while as there are a bunch of spots like this then more spots for “expectant mothers” which always makes me laugh because my mom could park there and just say she’s expecting something. I know life isn’t easy when you have a bunch of kids in tow but I almost think they should just have a bunch of close spots in addition to the disabled ones that just say “if you aren’t in need of a close spot don’t take this and don’t be lazy if you can walk because not walking will kill you and then you’ll need this spot from being ill before you die but then some jerk like you will be taking it up”. Don’t know how you can make a symbol for that. Haha

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      People who harangue you aren’t thinking very clearly. Next time you’re in a crowded parking lot ask them if they’d prefer you not use your card and park in their spot.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      I’ve heard stories from people with crippling intractable migraines who have disabled spots and are harangued by others. People don’t understand that you can look completely normal on the outside and be suffering horribly on the inside. The people with the migraines basically suffer so much that walking in the sun can make it worse. I have bad migraines, but that is really horrid. I don’t know how they can drive at all but they somehow manage to cope and then some jerk yells at them. And you know the person yelling at them is just pissed off that they can’t park closer. I never care where I park, I am capable of walking even if sometimes I’m sore in the feet and joints. My dad has a friend who is really bashed up and looks the part. He walked with canes and is now in a wheelchair. He also looks rough, like he’s in a motorcycle gang. A cop pulled him over and yelled at him and told him to get out of his car (based on his appearance). The cop was mortified when he saw him struggle to get his canes out and open the door to get out.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        There’s too much judging by appearance that goes on. It’s hard to avoid of course, but we all need to be careful.

        Migraines is a bad one. Another is things like COPD, and also when a younger person has a serious heart condition. Disabled = grey hair or wheelchair for many. My mother’s in the grey hair brigade, but is fitter than most half her age. Once when we were out together, someone offered her their seat, which she promptly snaffled for me! She explained. The whole episode was a bit embarrassing, but I was too grateful for the seat to say anything.

  10. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink


    Not cane.

    Or like that awesome cane sword in … Marathon Man?

    Yep. That’s what it’s is.

    Not a gun – that’s concealed.

    So to recap : it’s a beautiful golden cane.


    It’s a female and male. Forgot to mention that. At the same time.

    We clear?

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      I don’ much care for the cane, but I’ll take it as a symbol over a walker. In a similar vein, I don’t much care for the euphemism “senior” either, but I’ll take it over “elderly” — at least until I reach my 80s, should I live so long. I sometimes read and hear some clueless whippersnapper refer to people in their 50s — especially women who’ve been victims of crime — as elderly. I’m appalled.

  11. jhs
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    People in wheel chair don’t need an extra seat, do they?

    My cousin once agonized about whether to give up his subway seat for a woman. He was not sure whether the woman was pregnant or just heavy. He did give up his non-priority seat, and the woman took it. So we assume she was indeed prganant.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      There are folding seats facing towards the aisle near the front of Birmingham [UK] buses. Able bodied people are expected to move off those seats if the space is needed for wheelchairs or pushchairs or the walking infirm.

      • jhs
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink


  12. Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the implication is that if you’re a senior but don’t need a cane, you don’t need the priority seating! 😉


  13. Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    The UK road sign for “elderly people crossing” is similarly ageist.

    Which lead to a competition for less patronising alternatives a few years ago.


    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      I think that person behind is engaging in sexual assault or pick pocketing.

      • Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink


      • Merilee
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:16 pm | Permalink


      • Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink



      • BJ
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        I hope she’s picking his pocket because the only other option is that, uh, her hand is way up there…

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

          That’s what I thought too – waaaaay up there!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      In New Zealand the sign used to say, IIRC, “Senior Citizens”. Then someone decided that was too long or too explicit or something and they changed it to “Aged Persons”. Bloody hell! You might be old but you know you’re really circling the drain and ready for the scrapheap when you’re “Aged”!


      • Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Don’t the Japanese use the term “honored citizens” or something like that for what we call “seniors”?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          There is also the concept of respecting elders that is part of many NA indigenous cultures. My parents are always delighted to get into powwow for free. 🙂

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:59 am | Permalink

      Some clever designs, there. 🙂

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 3:11 am | Permalink

      At least one UK location had this unpunctuated caption to the above sign:

      Slow Old People Crossing

      until someone pointed out how patronising that was.

      I am reminded by this thread of the old gag (which I am increasingly coming to appreciate):

      “Growing old is inevitable; growing up is optional”.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Insects mating

  14. Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Why bother with the pictorial representation and just say ‘thank you’ for observing an act of kindness and consideration.
    If you can’t read it your not going to understand the signage anyway.

  15. Debbie Coplan
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Instead of the figure with a cane to indicate a senior, maybe they could put an age number with a plus sign next to it, meaning that age or older. Of course I don’t know what age someone is considered a senior. It varies in so many places I go.
    I think of myself as a senior (especially in the morning), but don’t need priority seating. So maybe they are thinking seniors that have a walking issue, but that doesn’t need to be addressed in terms of a drawing if an age is posted.

    • vtvita
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      65+ is old.

    • Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      This runs into the problem I have with the OC Transpo policy for “Ride Free Wednesday”. The service is free on Wednesdays for “seniors” but they are normally expected to carry a special ID to show their age (same as if they had a discounted pay-as-you go pass).

      This doesn’t work well, especially for people (like my parents) from out of town. Fortunately my mother uses a walking stick and both are greying, so they do “pass” and nobody has bothered them when they use the lower cash fares. (They are both well over the age limit, but …)

  16. BJ
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Also note that the figures are white figures. So this is ageist and racist! What, crude silhouettes depicting the disabled and seniors can’t be black just because that would be poor graphic design and make them harder to see on the blue background normally used for these symbols?

    I’m literally shaking right now.

  17. Keith
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Why do high school 12th graders need priority seating?

  18. Frank Bath
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I am a senior, sound in wind and limb, and I try not to be noticed by burying my face in a book in case someone offers me their seat.

    • Keith
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Your senior status will definitely be noticed if you’re burying your face in an actual book instead of a smartphone!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      When I was still catching public transport to work, I was occasionally disconcerted by the bus driver waving me past (oldies over 65 get free travel on city buses here) before I showed my oldies ID card. Do I look that decrepit?

      Even more disconcerting was when I found a satisfying spot to stand in the train and a young person would offer me their seat. Politeness demanded that I had to accept and not spurn their kind gesture. I did notice – and this is the exact opposite of stereotypes of modern yoof – that it was invariably a late-teens young person (and quite often female) who offered me a seat. Never younger kids and never adults.


  19. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    How about a symbol showing a person in a hospital bed?

    Or lugging around an oxygen tank

    Or that rolling IV apparatus

    That’d be….

    Oh I got it – playing bingo! What’s wrong with bingo?!

    Yes – just a bingo card. That’s all – no human form at all!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      OMG BINGO! Or angrily shaking their fist in a “get off my lawn” sort of way. That way I too can have a seat on the bus! 😀

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        And a beard – a very bushy beard. On the bingo card. And spectacles. And those white highly cushioned sneakers.

  20. Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    I second the one with “Get off my lawn!”

  21. Mark R.
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    I like the ‘get off my lawn’ meme. So instead of the icon being someone hunched over a cane, how about the icon had two raised hands as if screaming in defiance; one hand outstretched, the other also outstretched but brandishing a cane. It’s in my brain, but can’t draw here.

    • Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      +1 on the brandished cane.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Ha ha. I made the same remark, not having read these comments here.

  22. Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    After age 65 I began asking for the senior’s discount.

    The weirdest response was, “This is not for you. It’s for old people.”

    So I had to show my ID to get the discount.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 3:08 am | Permalink

      Seniors get carded! Who knew?


      • Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        It’s better than being offered senior prices – or charged without asking – when you’re not entitled! That happened several times to my wife and me in Arizona a few years ago when we were both in our early fifties.


        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

          In many parts of the US, senior discounts begin at 55. At least that is the impression I got when I used to work in a park and patrons travelling from the US would be annoyed that they didn’t get a senior discount when they were 55.

          • Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            Aha. That’s not *quite* so bad then.

            But we’ve been sold seniors/pensioners tickets at a cinema in the UK, too.


        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          Oh and I just googled it and some senior discounts in the US happen when you are as young as 50!

          In Canada, we give senior discounts at 65 and there aren’t that many anyway. We are stingy that way and don’t want your business. 😀

          Well, I know what I’m doing on my birthday in a couple years – going to the States & getting my damn discounts!

          • Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            Well, we’ve now resolved to take a lower price whenever we’re offered it and hang the implied insult.


            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

              Oh yes, I do have my price. Apparently it’s a small discount.

          • Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            I think one of my older friends said that Shopper’s Drug Mart starts their program at 55.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 19, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

              Sweet! I already have a boat load of Optimum Points (now PC Points).

    • nicky
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Nice compliment though.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink


      Like a scene from any witty BBC programme… or maybe The Office

      I see Martin Freeman as the actor

  23. Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    My parents are both in their 70’s and both quite fit. My mum, in particular, would be quite insulted by the implication that she is too feeble to stand up. My dad would say “hey look that rube just gave me his seat for no reason”.

    Why should I give up my seat to somebody just because they are older than me? If they are a bit frail, then fine, but, by the same token, if they are younger than me and a bit frail, I should be giving up my seat.

    I think the picture of a person with a walking stick conveys what should be the qualification perfectly, as long as you aren’t hypersensitive about the literal description.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Yes, we think of ageism as only toward people who are old but it is given toward young people as well. When I was youngish, in my 30s and suffering with pain, people would dismiss it because I was young. I even heard “oh well you’re pretty”. I see this often and I try not to do it myself, having had those experiences. Young people suffer and feel pain too.

      • Posted March 18, 2018 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        Yep…I think of people like my mom (who had fibromyalgia from when she was in her late 20s). She was younger but at times fragile then.

  24. Andy
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of a story from the local conservative radio station here, that went something like this:
    The speaker was going to church, with their Grandma, and running late. He had a car without handicap plates and so was rather annoyed that he had to park some distance away, forcing the old lady to walk slowly and painfully.
    As he got to the front, of course, a young, athletic looking man in a flashy convertible pulls up carelessly and takes the closest spot and just sits there in the car.
    He decides to have a few words with the newcomer. He marches over to the car and leans over. As the driver looks up, “yes?” – he realizes that the driver does not have any legs.
    Thinking quickly, he says, “Can I help you Sir?”

  25. jay
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I can’t see what’s so bad about this sign or policy (though I get a bit miffed about adding -ism to something to make it evil). For centuries in many cultures, old people were given a special place in society, a restaurant seating preference is not extreme. Respect or deference for older citizens should not depend on their being disabled.

    These are graphic symbols–how would you define a stick figure as old, except to add some things associated with age. Grey hair (or no hair) hardly works any better.

    I’m pushing 70 and don’t have any obvious problems. My wife, 10 years younger however has COPD and a painful bone condition in her foot. She has disabled auto plates because mobility is an issue for her even though it’s not obvious on first glance. Fortunately I am allowed to sit with her even though I don’t have a disability.

    BTW did you read about Gal Gadot being attacked as ‘ableist’ (another stupid ‘ism) for saying “Rest in peace Dr. Hawking. Now you’re free of any physical constraints. Your brilliance and wisdom will be cherished forever.”
    Freaking nutzo world….

  26. David Harper
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    The figure with a cane appears to be an ISO standard symbol indicating that elderly people are to be given priority:

  27. Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I’m ok with the “man with cane” logo in this situation. A senior with no problems getting into a regular seat should not really take a special accessible seat. How about, “Please reserve these seats for someone those who are more in need of them than you!”

  28. Gabrielle
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    A friend of mine takes the Wash. DC metro every day to work. She walks slowly due to arthritis in her spine and knee, she has silver hair, and is over 65, though she doesn’t use a cane.
    The priority seats for seniors and people with disabilities are always taken at rush hour, and almost always by younger people. She says everyday she has to ask one of these individuals if they would give up their seat for her. They always do, but mostly they are so buried in their smartphones/notepads/books/laptops that they don’t notice that she is even standing right in front of them.
    I walk with a cane sometimes due to a balance problem, and it is an instant magnet for people bumping into me, or for brushing by me so quickly that they knock me off my balance, which I don’t need. As much as I can, I avoid busy sidewalks or building lobbies, due to all the difficulties with other people.
    Once when I was at a police station, I saw a person without a handicap license/placard park in a handicap space. I went into the station and told one of the officers, who did take down the information. He certainly didn’t yell at me for wasting his time.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      “… they are so buried in their smartphones/notepads/books/laptops“

      A glaring omission: newspapers

  29. Gabrielle
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I want to add that ageism for people over 50 years old who are looking for a job is way way worse than a sign that shows a senior walking with a cane. I’ll take the sign any day.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Wait until you are in your 70s and just going for a regular check-up. You’ll get talked down to and they will immediately assume you have dementia. If you don’t have younger advocates, god help you!

  30. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    The sign should end at “disabilities”. On those rare occasions that I use a skytrain/subway these days, I stand because I can and because I’m retired, so don’t have to work for 8 hours most days and so am rarely tired. Also, the dance required to stay upright as the carriage bobs around on the track is good exercise.

  31. slandermonkey
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Ageism? It’s a simple icon that gets it message across in a way most people can understand. I do not see any reason to take offense at either the icon or the reminder of courtesy.

    Lets not be so fragile.

    It isn’t always obvious when someone needs a seat. I get people declining politely, accepting very happily, and taking offensive.

  32. Posted March 18, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    How about, “Priority seating is for people with disabilities.” That would solve the ageism issue.

  33. Posted March 23, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    At least, the connection between advanced age and cane has a long tradition. The riddle of Sphinx: “Walks… on 3 legs in the evening.”

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