Toys"R"Us: You Are Too Young For A Grandparent's Discount

Sorry 49-year-olds, you aren’t valid grandparents according to Toys”R”Us. The toy retailer and validator of family roles told 49-year-old Linda Peters that she wasn’t old enough to use a 20% off coupon for grandkid-spoiling grandparents.

“It’s discriminatory,” Peters said. “How do you put an age on a grandparent or a mother or a father, for that matter?”

Toys R Us tells 3 On Your side they always have to set guidelines when they have promotions and for this one, they say establishing an age requirement was appropriate.

But Peters disagrees and says Toys R Us may claim to love grandparents, but what they really mean is that they love “old” grandparents.

“To assume that someone over 50 is a grandparent and that someone under 50 is not a grandparent, it’s not fair,” Peters said.

We’re old fashioned—to us, anyone with a grandkid is a grandparent. What do you think?

Young grandmother feels shortchanged by toy store []
(Photo: ThatBeeGirl) (Thanks to Greg!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. TPK says:

    Oh I can’t wait to watch the backpedaling on this one.

    I bet it will become “a training opportunity…”

  2. domesticdork says:

    Is it really that hard to imagine that a 49 year old would be a grandparent? I mean…if you had your kid at 24 and they had a kid at 24 (so we’re not even talking teen parents here) you’d be a grandparent. I’m having a baby in December, my mom (45) isn’t going to be a REAL grandparent I guess.

  3. DigitalMariner says:

    So my mom has been a grandmother for almost 6 months, but apparently she won’t ‘officially’ be one until the big bad R says it’s ok in 3 more months.

    I wish there was another option in my area besides the Toys/Babies R Us monopoly cluster-eff. Just another reason to the (long) list of reasons to yearn for some competition here (here being the 3rd biggest metro area in PA).

  4. jhurley03 says:

    I smell a lawsuit.

  5. Altdotweb says:

    Since they extended the promotion to her despite her not being within the age range, they should stop running this type of promotion in the future.

    Sorry Toys”я”us. The times be changin’

  6. I’m 37 and I’m a grandparent. My wife’s kids got married young and she’s 47.

  7. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    t’s nt dscrmntry. t’s wy fr thm t lmt rmpnt cpn s. Whnng bt t s pthtc.

  8. calldrdave says:

    Hmmm, I wonder if Palin will chime in on this. She’s going to be a grandparent at 44.

  9. mbz32190 says:

    They should just call it a “Senior Discount” then there wouldn’t really be an issue.

  10. NFlames says:

    Hmmmm, time to go try and use my grandparent coupon. I’m 38 and my 20 year old has a baby. I love blowing people’s minds with that one.

  11. snoop-blog says:

    Why didn’t they just give her the damn discount? I sure hope she didn’t still buy anything from there.

  12. parad0x360 says:

    My mother and father are going to be really pissed when they too learn they are no longer grandparents. Can i still be a father? I know I know im only 26 but…I think I earned the title a few years ago now.

  13. Gort23 says:

    My brother-in-law’s mother was a great-grandparent at 49… Not that anyone should emulate *that*.

  14. snoop-blog says:

    I miss the toy section at Hills. Way better than a toys r us, which is extremely overpriced.

  15. dragonfire81 says:

    My wife has a two year old nephew whose mother is 22 and whose grandmother is…49.

    I will advise grandma to avoid shopping at toys r us.

    Anyone who thinks a Grandma should be over 50 is ridiculous, the times aren’t like that anymore.

    • mugsywwiii says:

      @dragonfire81: Don’t read too much into it. They’re not implying that a grandmother must be over 50, there just wasn’t any effective way to properly limit the promotion to those whom it was intended for.

    • TWinter says:

      @dragonfire81: Anyone who thinks a Grandma should be over 50 is ridiculous, the times aren’t like that anymore.

      The thing is times were NEVER like that anywhere but on TV and in the movies.

      My grandmother got married and started having kids when she was 16 and that was perfectly normal back then. And in a society in which getting married at 16 is normal it’s also perfectly normal to become a grandparent by your late 30s.

  16. Seems that the logical flip-side to this is: How do they know that every person 50+ is even actually a grandparent? Are they checking the toddler photos in the wallets? Are they requiring authentication of any kind? Or are they letting any 50 year-old have the discount? Do 50+ non-grandparents still get the discount, even though they are clearly buying that collector’s edition game of Monopoly for themselves?

    I wanna know about the cashier with the cajones to ask for ID in this situation in the first place.

  17. strathmeyer says:

    Well, these discounts actually exists for the cash-strapped senior. It is the fault of the marketing department/higher ups that they have offered a promotion confusing the loose association between age and parentage.

    • ghstomahawks says:

      @strathmeyer: With it being Toys R Us I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t for the cash-strapped senior quite so much as a way to get more people shopping per kid.

      However, even if it was intended for the “cash-strapped senior” … why does 50 qualify? If you’re not still pulling a paycheck at 50 (or your spouse), very likely either cash-strapped doesn’t describe you or you couldn’t afford to shop there with or without coupons.

  18. kerry says:

    So does this mean my 60-year-old parents who do not have grandchildren could waltz in there and get the discount? My cousin’s daughters have birthdays coming up, I’m sure my mom would be happy to get their gifts at a discount.

  19. jaya9581 says:

    I thought this coupon was pretty discriminatory myself when it came to my house. My mother is 46, my oldest niece is 4. So not only has my mother NOT been a grandmother for these last 4 years, she won’t be one for another 4 yet. My niece is gonna be pretty upset when she gets told her beloved Nana is not really her Nana after all.

    I can see where TRU is coming from with this promotion, but if what they really want to have is a senior citizen discount, they need to call it that, or they need to rethink their age limitations. As a former employee for this corporation, I’m embarassed, and I’m glad I no longer work there so I don’t have to explain this to all these non-grandparents. Although I personally would be handing out the discount left and right to grandparents regardless of age, to be honest.

  20. BeeBoo says:

    The elderly are the wealthiest age bracket, not the most cash-strapped, even with so many living on Social Security.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Nope, she didn’t read the coupon’s stipulations. That’s her fault. But not knowing because it’s your fault doesn’t mean you can demand to get the discount.

      @UNC_Samurai: I don’t know who shops at Toys R’Us either. They have poor selection and are overpriced.

  21. randalotto says:

    The terms from the coupon:

    “This offer is for grandparents who are at least 50 years of age. Limit one savings card per guest. Savings card expires 9/13/08. Limited quantities available. Sorry, no rain checks. “

    Since they’re likely not going to attempt to verify the existence of your grandchildren, it is in fact just a senior discount. Is this really such a big story that a store enforced its coupon’s terms?

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @randalotto: ACK I should have refreshed before posting.

      If those terms truly were on the coupon, then I don’t see a problem here. They clearly laid out the terms. It didn’t say it was for ALL grandparents, just ones over 50.

      It’s essentially a “senior discount,” and arguing it is like arguing with a store for not giving you a senior discount if you’re one year below your policy.

  22. carpediemcls says:

    Wow. You’d think in the name of good customer service they’d avoid all the trouble and just give the 20% discount which can’t be that much money anyways. But then again we’re talking a corporate chain which has erased any form of common courtesy, and desire to keep long term customers. And of course, if they had just done the decent thing, and honored the discount us consumerist readers would have nothing to entertain us on a Saturday afternoon…

  23. The_IT_Crone says:

    I think it’s kind of a flawed promotion by Toys R Us anyway. How does one prove that one is a grandparent? So they tried to go the “age” way, but that’s obviously ridiculous since- as comments have already proved- that people have kids before age 25.

    So they had this promotion, and no way to limit it other than to insult their customers. Toys R Us needs to hire a new ad agency.

  24. pgh9fan says:

    In a few months defeated vice-presidential candidate Sara Palin will become the most famous 44-year-old grandmother in the world. Think the Wasilla Toys R US will let her use the coupon or not?

  25. azntg says:

    Fun. My dad would be considered a grandfather due to his age, though he’s still technically a father (no kids from us yet)

  26. nicemarmot617 says:

    Yeah, by the terms of the actual coupon, it’s a senior citizen discount, but they bill it as a “grandparents” discount. It would be nice if companies didn’t attempt to spin their own coupons. It’s not discriminatory, just stupid.

    • nicemarmot617 says:

      @nicemarmot617: Actually, let me rephrase that: It IS discriminatory, but all age-related discounts are. Not all senior citizens are poor. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that the majority of them don’t need senior discounts. But they sure do line up to take them.

  27. oldheathen says:

    I had my first experience with being a presumed grandmother the other day. I was 34 when our son was born, which in this neck of the woods = “grandma”.

  28. sashazur says:

    So the coupon said “Grandparents Save 20%” in big letters, and “must be 50 or over” in small print. How is this different from “Save 20%” in big letters and “Expires on (date)” in small print? The large print always giveth, and the small print always taketh away. I don’t think there’s a lawsuit here but Toys R Us should throw her a nice gift card and rescind this promotion.

  29. pandroid says:

    I have a family member who is 47 and has six grandkids. As most of these comments indicate, it’s not unheard of. There’s nothing wrong with an age limited discount, but there’s definitely something wrong with the misleading “grandparent” title.

  30. TPK says:

    If you want to talk discriminatory discounts… I would suggest that there is no more “discriminated against” demographic than singles. It seems that nearly every food (restaurant) related coupon I ever see is of the nature “buy one, get one free”. Nearly useless to a single person unless they want to take the trouble to get one copy to go and then actually go straight home to properly store for “leftovers”.

    I would rather have 40% off ONE entree than buy one, get one free.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      To dig its way out of this looming PR disaster, Toys “R” Us should simply rename it the Prune-faced, Saggy-butted People With Dentures Who Didn’t Read Birth Control Directions Carefully Enough Discount.
      What could go wrong? What could go wrong?

    • LightLeigh says:

      @TPK: It seems that nearly every food (restaurant) related coupon I ever see is of the nature “buy one, get one free”.

      Call the restaurant and ask the manager if they would go 50% off a single dinner for a solo diner. Some offer that right on the coupon. It never hurts to ask, and you might be surprised how many restaurants will want your business enough to say yes. After all, single people eat out pretty often.

  31. Trai_Dep says:

    In the Palin household, 47 practically qualifies for being a great-grandparent. Yeesh!
    And along these lines, are they sure they want to write off the entire Deep South region?

  32. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    If they prefer the grandparent to be a senior citizen then they should state the in coupon but the big print necessary would crate a conundrum.

  33. UNC_Samurai says:

    Who still shops at Toys R Us? They closed two of the three stores in this area because no one was shopping there. Of course, that’s also because their toy selection has been terrible for years.

  34. johnnya2 says:

    Th cpn CLRLY stts th trms. Srry f y cn nt rd thm t 49, bt gt cl. Thr r snr dscnts fr ld ppl t rstrnts, nd kds dscnts fr brts t mvs. Th ltmt gsm s 21 yr ld drnkng g. t s clrly llwd nd ccptd n ths scty.

  35. KSPRAYDAD says:

    She doesn’t meet the conditions of the coupon. Case closed no?

  36. morganlh85 says:

    So theoretically a 50 year old parent of a small child could walk in and get the grandparent’s discount solely based on their age, even if they actually have no grandkids. With the “miracles” of science this can’t be all that uncommon.

    Why not simply rename the discount a “senior citizen discount” and leave it at that???

  37. Mr_Mantastic says:

    Why even shop at Overpriced Toys R Us? You can go pretty much anywhere else to get stuff for cheaper.

  38. I am old enough to be a grandfather, but I am not a grandfather, so when I buy for my neices and nephews do I get the discount?

    Ding, ding, ding, discrimination bell is going off.

    I absolutely HATE age based pricing. Why should I pay MORE or LESS than you because I am older or younger than you?

    What if this discount was based upon the color of my skin, my religion or my gender?

    Discrimination in the smallest form is still discrimination.

    IF ToysRnuts can afford to give me a discount they can damn well afford to give everybody a discount.

  39. Britt says:

    Aw, my grandparents are so old they’re dead, and I’m only 20. My mother is almost 57. I’ll probably be old myself if I ever have kids, so what about those of us who will never take advantage at all?

  40. misokitty says:

    Both my grandparents were under 50 when I was born. I remember going to one of my grandmother’s 50th birthday when I was about 7. She would find it ridiculous that it was only 7 years after my birth that she was officially a grandmother. What was she doing before then, just trying the title to see if it fit her lifestyle?

  41. magnoliasouth says:

    Wow. This is bad.

    If they want to be age picky, then they should call it a senior discount (where they can choose the aqe) rather than a grandparent discount.

    You know, under their rule even Sarah Palin wouldn’t be able to buy something for her grandbaby when it comes. They better watch out! You don’t want to mess with Palin. ;) She’ll rip them new ones. lol!

  42. bobpence says:

    Stupid. If you’re going to set a standard like this, be a little more socially open-minded. Better yet don’t set a standard like this.

    I knew a kid at school, he was 12 or 13 and his grandmother 39 — meaning she and her firstborn both became mothers about age 13! OTOH 39 is not so young for someone with an infant or toddler grandchild.

  43. synergy says:

    I’ve known 35 year old grandparents. Not that I think it’s a good idea, but obviously young grandparents exist.

  44. Altdotweb says:

    I’ve seen a version of the coupon that reportedly ran in a circular in Cleveland that says:

    We Love Grandparents
    Grandparents, bring this coupon to the guest services at any participating store to get a savings card good for 20% off any item.

    While it does say that exclusions do apply, it does not indicate the age 50 requirement on the voucher.

    It seems that you don’t find out about this tidbit until you actually get to the store.

    If that happened in this case, would it change the opinion of any of the victim blamers?

  45. Taed says:

    My wife’s sister was a grandparent at 31. Their mom was a GREAT-grandparent at the age of 50 (or pretty close to that).

    Luckily, my wife was a little more “reasonable” and didn’t become parents until we were both 35. Hopefully, we’ll be in our 50s before we’re grandparents (although hopefully not in our 70s). :-)

  46. The Stork says:

    Theatres often have student discounts that are no good after the age of twenty-five since the whole purpose s to drive youth to the cinema, not allow middle aged college students to get a deal. As others have alluded to, it doesn’t seem to me to be discriminatory as much as a case of a poorly-named promotion.

  47. Altdotweb says:

    The did honor the coupon.

    They currently feel that there is no need to remane the promo.

    The sub-50 grandparents need to EECB ToysRus to let them know that cannot ethically divide a generation strictly because they are not in touch with the changes in society.

    I’m curious as to what other company considers 50 to be a senior citizen in their promotions.

  48. ToysRUsSlave says:

    I have been working for Toys R Us for over 2 years and there are many things I am not proud to say that we do. This however is in no form a policy that was sent down by corporate.

    I work mostly service desk and we have never been told any age requirement and have been giving out the coupons to anyone that asked. It’s not really worth the fight of forcing people to prove it or making any qualifying conditions.

    Even with the teacher coupon that ran last week we had no requirements. This situation looks to be a decision that was made by that individual store’s manager.

    I’m disappointed to see a store go to that extreme when the coupons are put out to try and generate more people into the store and more sales. Oh and FYI these coupons will be continuing in upcoming ads with other different groups and hopefully any stores like the above can get it straightened out before then.

  49. Smashville says:

    I work with a woman who was a grandmother at 33…her mom was 49…which means her mom was a 49 year old great grandmother…(the new generation seems to be a little smarter about it…the granddaughter is now 18…and not pregnant…)

  50. hardtoremember says:

    My Mom was a Grandparent at 38. Not cool Toys R Us.

  51. Skipweasel says:

    38? Pah – there’s a family in my daughter’s school where gran picks up the kids – she’s only just turned 30 and is pushing a pram with a grandkid in it.

  52. MisterE says:

    I became a grandfather at 36. I’m now 39. I would do anything for my grandkids, however shopping at Toys R us is now off limits (at least until they clear this up.) The grandkids LOVE me taking them to the local library for reading time, plays, and ice cream afterwords. It’s nice handing them back to mom & dad after I’m done spoiling them! :)

  53. parnote says:

    LMAO! I’m 48 and my wife and I are working at having our first child! This whole TRU story is stupid! It’s almost as if they are trying to define who is or can be a grandparent. What morons!

  54. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I await the inevitable Consumerist post on this one (attached) …
    “We love heros! 20% off! Firefighters, Police Officers, Military Personnel…”


  55. CharlieInSeattle says:

    My parents were married 18/19 respectively, and had me when my mom was 19. I’m 38 now. So if I had decided to have my kid earlier, they could have been grandparents at my age.

  56. xwildebeestx says:

    Arizona is looking more and more like Arkansas every day.

  57. Ben Popken says:

    Palin is going to be mad when she goes there to stock up on Tonkas.

  58. rjflyn says:

    On the day I got married to my wife who is 10 years older than me my step daughters son became my grandson. I was 33.


  59. texasannie says:

    My grandmother was 35 when I was born. She married at 15 and had my mom at 16, then my mom got married at 18 and had me at 19.* No way should Toys-R-Us be discriminating like that. If they wanted the coupon to be for 55 and up or whatever, they should have printed that on the coupon.

    *I am nearly 32 and don’t have kids yet, because I have learned from their examples that it’s important to be an adult before you become a parent.

  60. Ain’t Sarah Palin 44? And a Granny to be? Or does it take 7 years to birth a baby in cold dark Alaska?

  61. S-the-K says:

    I agree, it is age discrimination! If you have a baby at 15 and your child has a baby at 15, you’re a grandparent by 30. Clearly you deserve a discount!