Deadham, Massachusetts — Bob O’Connor, 77, has a smartphone, but he doesn’t want to use it when shopping. The idea of using the internet to get his coupons digitally is unlikely, as he avoids entering personal information on his mobile phone.
“With digital coupons, we don’t buy the product,” says O’Connor. “I think it’s discrimination against the elderly because they rarely use smartphones.”
The digital divide is leaving older shoppers behind. A 2021 Pew Research survey found that he 39% of people over the age of 65 do not own a smartphone. Surveys show that 25% do not use the Internet.
Consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky is concerned that older shoppers are unfairly excluded from digital savings when grocery chains only offer online sales.
“They are excluded from this because supermarkets mostly don’t offer non-digital alternatives,” Dworsky said.
Dworsky wrote about the issue last month on his website, Consumer World. For years, shoppers could get great deals simply by flashing their loyalty cards. Now, Dworsky says millions of seniors are forced to pay more simply because they can’t or don’t know how to access his coupons digitally through his website or app in stores. said that
“If you’re denying these special prices to people who aren’t digitally connected, that’s a problem, especially with the current supermarket price inflation,” said Dworsky.
Dworsky said more stores should offer offline alternatives for seniors. He recommends asking the cashier or customer service if they respect digital sales without taking online steps.
Stop & Shop said it does not offer an alternative to digital coupons.
“We offer great value in weekly circulars that don’t require these additional coupons. The best way for Stop & Shop customers to save is to enroll in the GO Rewards Loyalty Program. to earn points that can be used for future savings on gas and groceries, and use our mobile app to access even more savings through digital coupons,” a spokesperson told Boston 25 in an email. says so.
Big Y, Market Basket, Star Market, Wegmans and Whole Foods did not respond to requests for comment. Roche Bros. and Trader Joe’s do not offer online discounts, according to company representatives.
Susan Basu, 68, said she uses Instacart for grocery shopping. She’s used her coupons digitally for years, but stores need to offer older, less tech-savvy shoppers another option, she said.
“I think there should be a printed alternative for people who don’t have internet access or technical skills like that,” Basu said.
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