Who’s fooling who?


A few days ago, I had lunch at a food court of a mall restaurant with someone who had a senior citizen card. It was supposed to be a relaxing lunch, a break from the usual tasks. When he ordered his food, he asked the cashier for the price for an order of Tinolang Manok. Instead of replying, the cashier asked him if he had a senior citizen card. He gave it to her and she immediately punched in our orders. When the receipt came out, he was shocked at the price of a small, one-piece serving of Tinolang Manok – P180. Surprised, he said it was almost the price of a kilo of chicken. “Did you apply the senior’s discount?” he asked. “Yes, that’s already discounted,” the cashier/crew retorted. The total cost for our simple meal had come up to P270.

He was a bit disturbed about how the crew came up with the Mathematics. Confused, he wasn’t able to enjoy his pricey food. Most likely, he thought, they had probably jacked up the price so that when the senior citizen discount was deducted, the regular price charged to everyone still applied. In that particular instance, it was priced even exorbitantly high for how in heaven’s name could a small single serving of Chicken Tinola be priced at P180? The price per kilo of regular chicken is about P160 to P170. Even if the chicken that was served was native chicken with market price per kilo from P230 to P250, then price of P180 per serving after discount was still high. That means the regular price per serving is P225? They are lucky indeed – They can achieve break-even with just one or two orders!

Our lunch conversation eventually gravitated to how easy it is to actually circumvent the senior citizen’s discount card so it would appear that they were given a discount when in fact, the price was just jacked up before being discounted. Thus, if some restaurants are doing this, then this could also be the current practice in some other lines of business.

I would like to see these restaurants indicate food prices for customers to see and thus avoid surprises. The senior citizen discount was legislated with all good intentions – to help these people, some of whom have already retired. They have given the best years of their lives working either with the government or with privately-owned companies. Now that they have gotten old, they deserve the full benefits of the senior citizen card for their medicine, food/ grocery and others.

The main thing is to respect the spirit of the law and perform business practices with integrity.