The "Greatest Generation" in America have survived World War II. They have seen the assassination of a President, and their children in Vietnam. The Greatest Generation have seen the depression and our current recession. From men on the moon, women on the Supreme Court, a Black President and now instant connection via the internet--this older generation is now unfortunately, (in the eyes of marketers and stores), obsolete.
The Greatest Generation in America, no longer have a place to shop.
The Greatest Generation in America is facing a new hidden and disturbing discrimination trend in the retail and shopping business.
With exception to the Haband (TM) catalogue, the shopping world has shut them out completely. And the worst thing is, they may not even know it.
Online shopping has taken over most of the former catalogue shopping areas and the advertisers don't bother with print-ads anymore. Everything is online or at your fingertips with mobile apps.
But what of the 80-year-olds and 90-year-olds who don't know how to use the internet or mobile phones with their strange 'apps' and Wi-Fi connections? Too bad for them.
According to the Pew Research Center, 10,000 Baby Boomers (the sons and daughters of the Greatest Generation in America), are reaching retirement age. They are the new target market for businesses and retail stores.
For the oldest generation in America, they will see some major competition for products and services. They will be left in the dark while their offspring receive all the deals and offers--no more mail coupons, or catalogues--the oldest generation is forgotten.
Age is something America has feared. We put our older relatives in the care of strangers at assisted living 'care-homes'. We separate ourselves from any hint of age (anti-aging beauty products are a billion-dollar-a-year industry). Even baby-boomers are reluctant to call themselves, 'old'.
"The typical Boomer believes that old age does not begin until age 72, according to a 2009 Pew Research survey." --Pew Research Center
Try to find an older person in any magazine or fashion catalogue that's not AARP--you can hardly find any person over the age of forty!
Truth be told, our oldest generation have nowhere to shop and nothing to wear...
Unless you try to shop for sweat-pants and sweat-shirts, there's not a whole lot of options available for our aging parents/grandparents.
Forget shopping online, older people want to see what they're wearing before they buy it. They want to know where it's made ("Is it made in China or Mexico?"), what the material is ("I don't want polyester--I want cotton!"), and what size it is ("Is this supposed to be a large? It's too small!"). Even Haband (TM) doesn't quite fit the bill when it comes to shopping because you have to return the items back.
The whole shop-and-click fad is totally foreign to them, "How can you know what you're buying?", they ask. Well, you don't but that doesn't matter, it's getting what you want when you want it. The new younger generation doesn't really care--they just want it now.
Young people hired at department stores such as JCPenney, Kohl's, Target and Kmart, have no clue what older people want. Nor do they know how to handle old people who are looking for a product. Young people have no patience for these 'old farts' who don't have GPS or online-mobile-coupon -deals-pre-ordering sales. They are abrupt and even rude to our older generation who simply can't understand what is going on.
"Why are they playing that loud music?" They can't stand the noise. "Where is the underwear?" They wander aimlessly in their wheel-chair carts, bumping into the bins placed carelessly in the aisles that aren't meant for the wheel-chair carts.
Once in the store, they can never find their styles. Colorful large shirts with low crew-necks and scoop-neck styles are shown in polyester or strange synthetic blends that are barely pronounceable, made in countries most have never heard of. The cut is too low, made in sexy styles for younger people--not for 80-90-year-olds who don't want to show their negligé.
JCPenney, Kohl's, Target and many other department stores no longer offer the styles that are more senior-friendly. Kmart had a few items online (in cotton and polo style shirts) but most are geared for the thirty-year-old set, with blazing designs and colors that are simply too gauche for the older generation.
So now older people are stuck with sweat-pants and sweat-shirts. Raggedy clothing with food stains down the front and ill-fitting pants. How can they be taken seriously when they dress like this? They have no choice, since they can't find anything better.
Although they have survived our most trying times, our greatest generation have nothing to show for it.
Left alone and forgotten in an old folks home, there is no reason for them to get out and shop. They simply don't care what they wear and it's too much trouble to go out and try to find something decent.
Their image suffers as a result and when their image goes, so does the rest. Without the respect they deserve, it's no use facing a world that doesn't have room for them.
Unless stores can offer a senior-friendly environment for our older shoppers, there will be no reason for older shoppers to enter their stores. The stores will lose more than revenue and customers. They will lose the Greatest Generation in America--and quite possibly the respect of future generations to come.