Blogging Employee Benefits

April 2, 2006

Diversion: Practice What Gets Preached

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fuguerre @ 6:23 pm

It's a good weekend to relax, so excuse me a diversion meant rather less than seriously. Just that I had to laugh when a colleague warned me to beware, that I had not so many more years before I stand to lose the monthly crossword puzzle I do in my AARP magazine.

Seems someone he knows recently discovered that not all AARP magazines are published equally. Along with geographic distinctions, AARP publishes a different magazine for members aged 70 and over than for its younger members. Differently focused articles make a certain degree of sense: readers who have not yet reached retirement seek content about planning ahead, while those over 70 are going to be more interested in content about the here and now. Even so, along with the significantly lower page count given to the superannuated, the AARP magazine drops the crossword puzzle once you reach 70, providing a word search puzzle as replacement.

My colleague passes along that when his source enquired, AARP apologized for appearances, but promised that age discrimination was not the intent. One would hardly expect otherwise from the public policy group at the vanguard of advocacy against age discrimination. Then again, did they flip a coin to determine which age group gets which level of leisure difficulty? Disclose detailed transcripts of the editorial meetings when the puzzle choice was actually made, and it would be rather surprising if the selection were entirely accidental, without some explicit conclusion reached as to declining puzzle-solving abilities upon advancing age.

Not to suggest that good intentions should be given credit in disputes such as we'll soon be seeing more of, by way of the Coopers v. IBM appeals court ruling anticipated soon, and later via the Erie County litigation, among numerous other cases drawing ADEA lines for benefits programs. Still, without reading more into this than is worth a Sunday's brief relaxation, one can see even in dealing with light leisure how dangerously easy it is to treat the elderly as a class less capable than their children.

AARP does permit members to select which magazine edition will be sent, although you have to take the rest of the age-specific content in a package deal if you choose against your age. Or one can always go on-line, where AARP offers puzzles of all type without checking your birth certificate. As for me, I love my paper crossword puzzles too much, so expect me to stick with the younger members' printed edition permanently.

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