Seniors deserve better treatment

Seniors deserve better treatment

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Seniors deserve better treatment

Despite all the expressed concern for senior citizens from the business community, the truth is they are not treated very well. Every time a business claims to give a benefit to a senior, it is often just a slick manipulation that actually costs more. From food to cruises, seniors are promised benefits that don’t materialize

By Ray Hanania

Now that I am a senior, I don’t like the way seniors are treated.

I guess I just took all of the signs promising senior care and discounts for granted when I wasn’t a senior, so how would I know how bad it really is, until I start wearing senior shoes?

The other day I walked into a restaurant and they offered me a “Senior Discount.” I won’t name them.

The price of the breakfast was about 30 percent cheaper than a regular breakfast I wanted to order, but they said I could get the discount. Great, I thought. I can get the same meal with a savings, because I am a senior.

AARP promo photo on seniors retiring. Courtesy of the AARP

AARP promo photo on seniors retiring. Courtesy of the AARP

Ah, but that’s not the reality. The reality is that they cut the price 30 percent but cut the food in half. I got 50 percent less food, for 20 percent more price. That’s not a discount. That’s being cheated.

Maybe they think that just because I am a senior, I can’t do the math or I can’t count any more?

Unfortunately, a lot of the “discounts” are really new math crafted to take advantage of seniors, and make them think they are getting a discount when they’re not getting a discount at all.

A lot of seniors I know hate the Internet. They are the last public constituency to join Facebook, which I think is really a great benefit for senior citizens. On Facebook, seniors can stay in touch with relatives who might live far away and are too busy to visit as often as one might want. You can communicate and view photos of your relatives and your friends.

The downside, of course, is that the crooks who try target seniors work extra hard on the Internet to steal your money.

So many seniors limit what they do on the Internet.

But that causes a problem.

For example, the bank where I have my home mortgage gives mortgage holders a significant percentage discount on their interest if they do their banking online and pay their mortgage payments using the Internet.

So if many seniors are not using the Internet, or afraid to use the Internet, that means seniors are being cheated out of that discount.

I don’t think that is fair.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle obviously doesn’t care too much about seniors, either.

She passed the repressive soda pop and sweetened drink tax, which is the tax equivalent of 1 cent per ounce of the drink. A 20 ounce drink, a standard size drink, would cost 20 cents more in taxes.


Seniors drink a lot of pop. Which means seniors are paying a lot more for their drinks these days, thanks to Toni Preckwinkle.

There was one place where I really got a good discount. We wen to the Grand Canyon last month and while entering the park, the U.S. Park Services officer said that because I was a senior, I could get a lifetime membership card to get in to every Federally run park for only $10.

And sure enough, when we went to Dinosaur Monument in Jensen, Utah, the pass got the family in for free, because I am a senior.

Sometimes, we unfairly criticize government, expecting too much, when seniors should be more careful about the experiences we have locally with restaurants, or retail outlets.

And then sometimes, we don’t criticize government enough, like when they hammer us with a stupid tax on soda pop and make the dumb claim that it’s to keep us healthy.

Yea, right!

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter, columnist and author. Email him at

Send me your experiences exposing scam offers to senior citizens, or places where seniors are treated with respect and promises made are kept so we can share them with the public at the bottom of this column.

Senior scams:

Carnival cruise line asks you when you book if you are a senior aged 55 or older. But, when you check off the age, or not, it turns out there are no benefits for seniors that are implied in the question. Why ask if you are 55 or older if the cost for the cruise is exactly the same. You can check it out. Go online and “book a cruise. Do it as a senior and then do it as a non-senior. The costs are exactly the same.

Seniors treated fairly:

In the own of Cicero, senior citizens receive huge benefits. Click this link to read about all the benefits senior citizens actually get in the west suburb of Chicago.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
Ray Hanania