older shoppers beware

I'm watching A Current Affair as I type this and they've just done a story on older shoppers being taken advantage of when shopping.

An older, grey haired actress was sent into various stores to inquire about buying particular items.
A television - the woman stated she lived in a unit, was on a pension, so didn't want anything huge, just a basic TV to watch dvds.
The salesman gave her a pretty hard sell, trying to get her to buy a $1700 package deal, including a top of the range blu-ray dvd player.

Same store, younger male customer, (actor) asking to buy a basic small TV to watch dvds on, was shown a TV costing just under $600. And nothing else.

Same older grey haired woman "buying" a vacuum cleaner. Again stating that she lived in a unit, yet the saleswoman gave a demonstration of a very expensive (over $700) vacuum cleaner, insisting that this was what she needed to "get a really good clean".

Younger male customer was shown a basic $269 vacuum cleaner and told that was all he really needed.

Back with the grey haired woman again, this time wanting a computer. At the checkout desk she was strongly urged to buy several add-ons; anti-virus software, extended warranty, a bag to carry it in if she wanted to take it out....(to dinner?),  if she wanted a mouse that was another extra cost.

The young male customer was shown a simple laptop and the salesman said for basic use that's all you need, it will work just fine without all the added extras.

One last example, the older woman wanted a basic mobile phone to make calls and texts, nothing more, yet was shown a phone that cost a lot and did everything but wash your dishes.

The younger male, asking for a phone for his grandma to make calls and texts, nothing more,  was shown something much cheaper and simpler.

So there you have it, older shoppers are thought to be unaware, not know what they want or need and taken advantage of. The final scene showed the older woman sitting on a chair in a place that sells cosmetics of some kind while a saleswoman (unheard), is clearly trying to convince her that she needs......well whatever is more expensive I suppose.
Beware of these tactics, if you are unsure of exactly what you need, have a younger family member do some research, then do your shopping knowing exactly what you need and how much you should be paying for it.

A different interviewee remarked on camera that just because you're older and have grey hair, that doen't mean you're stupid.
I agree.


  1. The white background on that paragraph is a mistake, please ignore it. Ta.

  2. I've experienced this attempt to over sell or "up" sell myself. I've also experienced the reverse where I know what features I want and I'm assumed to be too stupid to know how to use them. Very frustrating indeed.

  3. Delores; I've experienced being ignored entirely by staff because I looked like I couldn't afford to buy a single thing. Then at other times, I've asked about an item and was answered in fast technical geek speak with all kinds of features and applications the item had and what it could do, when all I wanted to know was would it work and would it last longer than 6 months.

  4. This is sad. I am frustrated by how often I need to say I don't want that, turn down the extended warranty, etc, etc. If I don't know what I want I get lots of info.

  5. I've experienced that recently. They tend to settle down once they realise you have done some research, but your visit to the shop should be like searching online, that is you get to know the cheap and the expensive and what you really need.

  6. That is awful. I tend to preface things with, "I want it basic and my budget is tight. Very tight."

    Dressing like a dag helps too!

  7. An extremely frustrating, and all too common, experience. Computer stores are right up there as being the worst.
    I want a mobile phone to make calls on. Perhaps the occasional text. With large buttons so my wobbly fingers connect. I have been shown everything but that. So I leave without purchasing a thing. Growl.

  8. It's a pretty sad scene when you realise that some unscrupulous folks would have the audacity to take advantage of someone older and who they assume is not aware enough to know any different.
    Then again, I stay well away from the 'reduced price' section in the local supermarket. If I dare try to grab something, the 'old rage' pensioners block me off :)
    Have a good weekend.

  9. It's really sad.

    I got something like this when I went to buy my iPhone
    I had decided on how much I could spend per month. Ie $50 and hence it was one with the smaller memory. The girl in the shop told me they had run out of that one snd tried very hard to UP sell me . When I stood my ground and was about to leave,she suddenly found one out the back!

  10. My Grandma when she was alive used to succumb to this all the time. My Dad made a few complaints to some local stores that had blatantly ripped her off to no avail. Boy they used to see her coming, honestly it was disgusting.

  11. You could probably do the same investigation and find that this happens whenever someone doesn't have the information they need to make a savvy purchase, or appears not to. PLUS there is the fact that we ladies don't like to offend, and guys? They'll just walk out if they don't like it and salespeople know that. Sell something cheap rather than nothing at all, is what they're doing.

  12. I agee with Happy Elf Mom, that it is a gender thing rather than a age thing. It should be a comparision between a grey old man and a young man or a grey old woman and a young woman. I think guys are prepared to walk out of the shop than listening to the sales pitch. I bet a young woman will get the same treatment as the old lady.

  13. peskyPixie - I share your experience too. My very elderly father paid a door-to-door salesman $2095- in cash for a LUX vacuum that he did not use at all, until I visited him and discovered it. The receipt was in the box and I said Gee Dad this vac cost 2 grand?
    "oh it's COMMERCIAL he replied.
    Why did you buy commercial standard for this tiny house?

    "oh that's just what he had".

    apparently LUX do this a lot and the ACCC is now hauling them to court Fri 6th July listed Melb Mag.; but they have been in court variously since 2004 and continue to do this.

  14. Joanne; I've found that saying I don't need this or that just has the salesperson floundering a bit with "but..but.."and then a spiel on how good the extras are and why I should buy them. it's what they're taught to say, but they should respect a firm "no", for a customer of any age.

    Andrew; If you've done your research, that helps, but there was one time when I stopped the salesperson and asked to speak to someone who would just sell me a basic model.

    Kath; the "pensioner actress" did say she was on a budget, in a small unit, but that was ignored. I found that dressing like a dag got me ignored completely when shopping for a TV, so I went across the road to a rival store and bought the same model I'd been looking at for a cheaper price, rival store had a sale going that I hadn't known about.

    EC; computer stores are bad, with models being superseded at the speed of light, it's hard to keep up with the newer features and salespeople will happily blather on in technical terms the we just don't understand. I'm not going anywhere near a mobile phone store until mine dies beyond repair and then I'm taking my daughter with me!

    Klahanie; I suspect more than a few of these stores have people working on commission, so the bigger the sale, the more they make. "My" supermarket no longer has a reduced section. No pensioner discounts either.

    peskypixies; I'll never buy a phone that has so many different features. All I need is calls and text. If I want to be on the internet, I'll go home and log on to my laptop. It's amazing how often what you want is suddenly found when you start leaving without buying.

    Fenstar deLuxe; it's a shame your dad didn't get more satisfaction and refunds too. Perhaps after the first time or two he should have gone with grandma to the shops in question.

    Happy Elf MOm; yes, having the information you need is important. I'm happy to walk out without buying if I'm not happy with what I'm being offered.

    drb; I agree there should have been more comparisons made with elderly men and younger women too. Gender bias should no longer exist, but sadly it does.

    Ann O'Dyne; I'm inclined to think a commercial (industrial strength) vacuum cleaner would do a better job, (much more powerful suction designed for factories perhaps, but in a small home with only one tenant it wouldn't be necessary.
    I wouldn't mind an industrial strength exhaust fan in my range hood, whatever is in there now is totally useless.

  15. Hi River,

    I'm not surprised to be honest that unscrupulous salesmen would try to pull a stunt like that with an older person - particularly when it involves technology of some kind.

    Not nice at all.



  16. I went to buy a camera and a young assistant showed me all the pink and red cameras as they were the best ones for me to buy. :-)


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