Wednesday, June 02, 2004

We shall overcome

Today's Wednesday, so I won't be going to The All-New Ghetto Kroger. I learned a good while back that shopping at Kroger on Wednesdays isn't good for my blood pressure.

It is on Wednesdays, you see, that Kroger knocks 5% off of your entire bill if you happen to be old. And I've come uncomfortably close in the past to demanding my 5% discount from the cashier (and potentially getting in a shouting match / going to jail) on the basis of Kroger illegally discriminating against customers based on age. So for the sake of my sanity - and to prevent the wife from having to bail me out of Atlanta City Jail - I just avoid Kroger on Wednesdays.

[editor's note: Cap'n Ken has, on one occasion, tapped the "YES" button on the U-Scan when asked "Do you qualify for a senior citizen's discount?" while Wednesday shopping. The machine did not challenge the Cap'n on his right to the discount.]

I see no difference between Kroger saying groceries cost 5% less on Wednesdays if you're old than saying they cost 5% more on Thursdays if you're black. It's discrimination based upon age, and that's supposed to be a no-no here in America.

And now the New Jersey civil rights' czar has issued a ruling that backs up my position. He found that "ladies' night" discounts illegally discriminate against men.

For the record, I have no problem at all with ladies' nights. I especially endorse the kind of ladies' night where they bring in male strippers to get the girls both liquored up and horny before letting the guys in. If that's not worth a $10 cover charge, I don't know what is.

Moreover, my personal opinion is that private-sector discrimination of all types should be legal. If Joe Bob doesn't like black folks and doesn't want to serve them at his BBQ joint, he should have that right.

I think the free market and private activism would drive most of those kinds of places out of business, anyway. Take the case of Denny's, for instance. The agent of change that led Denny's to stop putting the black man down wasn't the threat of fines by the government, it was the public-relations nightmare caused by the publicity.

I believe businesses and individuals should be free to discriminate as they see fit. But if the U.S. is set on creating an environment where discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, etc. is illegal, then I'm all for rulings like the ladies' night case.

No free drinks for gals ... and I want my damn 5% off!


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