Forget your five-finger discount

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By Julianna Cummins

Upcoming Ryerson grads may be stressing about finding a job in a crumbling economy, but students who have time left in post-secondary bliss can continue to take advantage of discounts and deals aimed at giving students a break.

As a general rule of survival, businesses will always try to target a certain segment of the population – and for those retailers located near Ryerson, that means students.

However, many businesses – even those that have been hit by economic downturn – are still eager for the business students can bring in, providing those in pursuit of a degree with some extra economic relief.

Tough economic times have even convinced some businesses that bringing in more students can help them push up their bottom line.

Casey’s Bar and Grill on Dundas and Jarvis streets was looking for a way to attract Ryerson students for quite some time, according to owner Jude Francis.

When the Casey’s location experienced a loss in revenue, Francis decided that giving students a discount might help calm his financial worries.

“We’re trying to get more students in here to try and build business up,” said Francis. The 15 per cent discount now available to Ryerson students is redeemable when interested customers show their OneCard.

Rainbow Cinemas at Market Square is known to many Ryerson students as being a cheap movie-viewing alternative to the mega-theatres that clutter the downtown core and suburbs.

Ryerson students can see a movie at any time for $6, a full $2.50 less than general admission. Brenda Bragg, manager of the Rainbow Cinemas at Market Square, said that the Ryerson discount won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

“It’s one of those things that has always been around,” said Bragg.

Unlike many other industries, box offices across North America have seen an annual increase of about 11 per cent this year. This increase in box office revenue, according to Bragg, may come from more people looking for an affordable, easy escape from the day-to-day grind.

Rainbow Cinemas at Market Square also has Two-Toonies Tuesdays, where anyone can see a movie for a mere $4. The deal draws crowds two to three times bigger than usual nights, said Bragg. She also said the cheap night out actually brings money into the theatre because the majority of the profit for the cinema is made from the concession stand.

Amy Taylor is the manager of Coupe Bizzare, a salon located on Queen West that’s offered student deals for 15 years. Unfortunately, Taylor’s establishment is not immune to the economic downturn.

“Maybe people are now stretching out their hair cuts a little more – but hair grows, and people still need to get it cut,” said Taylor.

Coupe Bizzare offers students $5 off a regular cut and wash, and Taylor said that student business helps the salon to maintain an image of being fashionable and current.

“It’s important to get young people in here,” said Taylor. She added that the discount will stay, even though the Salon does lose some money from it.

Offering discounts, however, can sometimes be a tricky territory for businesses. Sergio Meza, a professor at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto, said that there are laws in Canada that prohibit discriminatory pricing. This means that a business cannot offer different prices for customers based on certain criteria, such as gender or race.

“In general, it’s a good idea to provide a discount – but you have to be careful about how you present the discount,” said Meza.

Taylor noted that she has heard that salons have run into troubles offering discounts on male or female haircuts citing discrimination, but she has never run into any problems giving students a deal.

“We offer discounts to all students, regardless of age.”

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