Real Life

Not just the ticket.

Why should those over 60 get a discount at the movies?

Pensioners and film. Photo/Getty Images

I am a young, married woman in my thirties. The other night at the movies I noticed that a group of people of my parents’ generation were getting their admittance at a special rate because they were “seniors over 60”. They were laughing about “getting the pension early”. Clearly they didn’t need it, as most of them looked employed and quite well-off. Why is it an “over 60” discount, when the pension doesn’t kick in until 65? I reckon unpaid mums like myself deserve a reduction more.

Despite the fact that at 64 I take advantage of the “senior” rate, I agree with you. There is no reason why someone over 60, but still in a job, should get a cut-price ticket to the movies. In fact, there’s no reason someone who is 75 and working should get one either. I think reductions for the “unwaged” are much fairer. That can include pensioners, beneficiaries, the unemployed and young parents at home like you, doing the important job of raising little ones.

I just suppose the difficulty would be proof for someone like you, but the cinemas that offer reductions could run a trial period. I think generally when you offer trust to someone, you get it back. Raise the matter with your local cinema. If it’s a neighbourhood theatre, they may accommodate you. I just hope that my special rate isn’t

now cut off!

Disturbing debt

I would like to sue someone for a debt of nearly $30,000 but can’t afford to pay a barrister. I am reasonably certain that I would win, but there is always the chance I may not. What can I do about this? It wouldn’t be fair if I simply had to give it away.

Your first call should be to your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau to try and get some free legal advice. You need a lawyer to assess your chances of success in court. Included in

that should be an assessment of how difficult it will be to extract your money from the other party, even if you are successful. If the case is black and white, you might find a barrister who would charge you less than the $30,000 you are suing for, but I’d be surprised. And it is highly unlikely you would qualify for any legal aid in a civil action. There are some barristers who offer to take cases on the basis that you pay nothing if you don’t win. But your $30,000 may not be enough to interest them. Even if the court was to award you some costs, they would not include your legal representation. Yours is a depressingly common situation. You are above the limits of the much cheaper Disputes Tribunal, but the amount is not enough to make hiring a lawyer worthwhile. It’s a real shortcoming in the legal system. Have you considered using the media to embarrass the person who owes you money? There are the local papers or, if you are lucky, current affairs TV programmes such as Fair Go and Campbell Live. However, your case would have to be pretty interesting for them to get involved.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [email protected],

or post to Weekly Consumer,

PO Box 90119, Victoria St

West, Auckland 1142

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