#1 Edited by tobygw (580 posts) -

So here in Canada, (not sure about the U.S) there is a promotion going on for the next week or so where you can get a free small coffee whenever you go to a McDonald's, you don't even have to buy anything. I'm a high school student, and I went and got one a couple of days ago with some friends and it wasn't too bad and everything was normal. But today, me and some friends went back there to eat and to get another free coffee. However, now they were saying that they would not serve any high school students and they were even asking for some people to show ID. FOR FUCKING COFFEE!  
 I think that the reason they were doing it is because there are two high schools that are fairly close by, and it would cause them to have to make a lot more coffee and do a lot more work. There were big lines today (mostly made up of students) and there were a lot more people there then were when I successfully went last time.  Even though this may be daunting, they should still have to serve everyone equally without ageism. 

Now I was just wondering if any of you guys know if this is illegal, because I am 99% certain that it is. 

I'm pretty pissed off about this, because the kids from the schools that they are now alienating, are in fact the people who are normally giving them the most profit.  
 
So what are your guys' thoughts on this? 

#2 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -
@tobygw:  
 
Don't you know that coffee will stunt your growth?  
 
Damn kids these days . . . *grumble, grumble, grumble*
#3 Posted by PerryVandell (2103 posts) -

I wouldn't know if it's legal or not without looking through the fine print for that specific deal (whenever I see something that says free an asterisk usually follows). They might have something in there saying (must be 18 years or older) and didn't bother following that until more people under 18 took advantage of the deal. Just my thoughts.

#4 Posted by Aetheldod (3594 posts) -

Well isnt it more of cultural thing , minors not  having coffee? IDK.... all I do know is that I dont drink it

#5 Edited by tobygw (580 posts) -
@Fullmetal216: Yeah, I wondered this too so I looked at the fine print and the only thing it says is, "Small size only. Not valid with any McCafe beverage, EVM, or Value Picks offer. Limit one per customer, per visit. At participating McDonald's restaurants in Canada."
#6 Edited by Civraz (392 posts) -

i'm a high school student in Canada, and so far haven't had any problems. also any size is free...

#7 Posted by Suicidal_SNiper (949 posts) -

They have the right to deny sale to any person they want. Even though there's no money involved it's still considered a sale.

#8 Edited by Bennyishere (1685 posts) -

Big lines might be the reason. Sure, the corporate people love big lines, but maybe the staff themselves have a problem with a huge line of high schoolers coming in. Maybe they also suspect some of them are stealing. I remember some stores near schools having "2 pupils max" on them and such, without any mention of legality.

#9 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8699 posts) -

I'd go for the coffee and nothing else, exactly why they're acting like this I suspect tho.
 
No worries, I got free coffee at work anyway!

#10 Posted by tobygw (580 posts) -
@Suicidal_SNiper: Really? So let's just say for example the CEO of McDonald's is a huge racist and doesn't want to let any black people be allowed to buy anything in any of his stores across North America. You are saying he is legally allowed to do this?
#11 Edited by MattyFTM (14394 posts) -

High amounts of caffeine can be dangerous, especially to children, so many shops are diligent and restrict the sale of caffeinated drinks to under 18's. It's probably not law to only sell it to over 18's, but I'm sure it's not illegal for them to do that.

Moderator
#12 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Sounds like discrimination to me. Why don't they just require some type of purchase?

#13 Posted by tobygw (580 posts) -

Also, it's not about the fact that it's coffee, as they were only not allowing high schoolers to get the small coffee. Any other size is okay.

#14 Posted by Renahzor (991 posts) -

I, Personally, would take them to court to get my 1 free shitty cup of coffee.
 
More to the point, no, they probably can't age discriminate legally, but your damages amount to maybe 14 dollars over the course of a couple weeks.  The store owner probably saw all of several hundred HS kids getting free coffee and not buying anything else, making longer lines and having more complaining actual paying customers.  Mind you the cups cost more than the coffee, but lost productivity making coffee for several hundred students could be significant.  You could argue the point and ruin it for everyone I suppose, afterall, they could just as easily become a non-participating location.  If you think your (collectively the 2 highschools) students are their source for their profits, then start a small boycott because of the age discrimination.  Again if I were the franchise owner I'd just end the deal and stop being a participating location for giving handouts.
 
@Video_Game_King:
The individual franchises usually don't set the rules, those are handed down by corporate.  They can choose if they want to participate though. 

#15 Posted by GlenTennis (3145 posts) -

I'm no laywer, so

#17 Posted by JustinSane311 (335 posts) -

I would give a call to McDonalds HQ and file a complaint against the store.  Let them know whats going on and then they'll usually send you some free stuff for your troubles.

#18 Posted by quirkwood (184 posts) -
 This is almost certainly sounds like discrimination, although it probably wouldn't be worth trying to prove it in the courts unless you can convince people in your school to launch a class action against that particular store, I am no lawyer however so this is just my opinion and not meant to be taken as any kind of legal advice. 
 
Also:
 
@JustinSane311 said:
" I would give a call to McDonalds HQ and file a complaint against the store.  Let them know whats going on and then they'll usually send you some free stuff for your troubles. "
 
What he said. 
#19 Posted by Mrskidders (1330 posts) -

I would imagine that loads of kids have been going in and being ridiculous and ordering coffee after coffee and just ruining it for everyone else.  Normally what happens when deals like that arise.  Just go somewhere else and get coffee, no great loss. 

#20 Posted by DetectiveSpecial (466 posts) -

Nope. For something to be illegal, a law or right has to be violated. 
There is no law providing you with access to coffee, and you have no right to free coffee.

#21 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

Chances are the manager did this. 
 
Just call the district manager. 

#22 Posted by DragonBloodthirsty (470 posts) -
@Suicidal_SNiper said:
" They have the right to deny sale to any person they want. Even though there's no money involved it's still considered a sale. "

That's not actually true, at least in the United States.  That's the reason that businesses can't be segregated or "White Only".  It had something to do with interstate commerce and laws governing that.

As for your situation, I think that the business is guilty of age discrimination, but I'm not familiar with Canadian law.

What I can say is that you shouldn't do anything illegal to the business or its employees in relation for the unfair treatment that you're being given.  Maybe you can file a complaint with the regional manager, and tell him your situation?

#23 Posted by mzuckerm (351 posts) -
@DragonBloodthirsty: Businesses can't be segregated in the United States because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was challenged as being outside the bounds of the Federal Government's power.  Supporters defended it based on the interstate commerce clause of the US Constitution (which basically gives the Federal Government the right to regulate commerce between the states, but not when it occurs entirely within the state), and we all know who won that argument.  So your reference to interstate commerce is accurate but I just wanted to flesh it out a bit. 
 
The thing about age discrimination is that it is based on statute, and because I have very little knowledge of Canadian laws, I have no idea if they have antidiscrimination laws of this type.  But I should note that age discrimination laws don't always protect against ANY discrimination based on age.  I think it's very possible that a Canadian age discrimination law may only protect older individuals from discrimination.  Many societies don't grant minors full societal benefits (for instance, we restrict their ability to drive, vote and drink).  So I guess what I'm trying to say is, this may feel like an injustice, but that doesn't mean it violates the law.
#24 Posted by Arbie (1449 posts) -
@Bennyishere:  Apart from straws I don't really know what you could steal from a Mcdonalds. And saying that the straws are free anyway.
 
I think it's BS they are turning you away. But like has been said they can unfortunately refuse anyone they want. =[
#25 Posted by DragonBloodthirsty (470 posts) -
@mzuckerm said:
" @DragonBloodthirsty: Businesses can't be segregated in the United States because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was challenged as being outside the bounds of the Federal Government's power.  Supporters defended it based on the interstate commerce clause of the US Constitution (which basically gives the Federal Government the right to regulate commerce between the states, but not when it occurs entirely within the state), and we all know who won that argument.  So your reference to interstate commerce is accurate but I just wanted to flesh it out a bit.  The thing about age discrimination is that it is based on statute, and because I have very little knowledge of Canadian laws, I have no idea if they have antidiscrimination laws of this type.  But I should note that age discrimination laws don't always protect against ANY discrimination based on age.  I think it's very possible that a Canadian age discrimination law may only protect older individuals from discrimination.  Many societies don't grant minors full societal benefits (for instance, we restrict their ability to drive, vote and drink).  So I guess what I'm trying to say is, this may feel like an injustice, but that doesn't mean it violates the law. "

Thanks;  that sounds like exactly what I was thinking about.

I do recall that Poke'mon tournaments used to be open only to people under a particular age (I recall it was either 14 or 18), but in court that practice was ruled age discrimination and the tournaments were required to open up to people of all ages.  Of course, since the people being offended were both older, knew their rights, and had the money and power to back it up, they won.

#26 Posted by damnboyadvance (4060 posts) -

It would make more sense if they required a purchase with it.

#27 Posted by Suicidal_SNiper (949 posts) -
@tobygw: Within the confines of the law. So no, he wouldn't be allowed to pick out races.
#28 Posted by kelbear (496 posts) -
@tobygw:  
 
Such advertisements typically have in small print: "at participating locations". 
 
This is because these big brand name chains typically just franchise out the name to the individuals who want to start up a business there. McDonalds doesn't really own the locations you go into. They just loan out the name to the small business owner who will run the operation and make a living out of it. It's often in their best interests to participate in the franchise-wide promotions because those promotions usually bring help the brand in the long-term(for example, free coffee now means you might like the taste and be willing to one day go back and pay money for one).  
 
However, in the near-term, that owner is probably going to lose money. Sometimes a lot of money. It's McDonald's fuckup for not organizing promotions in a way that won't damage the individual branches, but it happens. 
#29 Edited by tsolless (465 posts) -
@Suicidal_SNiper said:

" They have the right to deny sale to any person they want. Even though there's no money involved it's still considered a sale. "

Depending on the reason. Example, you can't refuse sales to someone because they are black, female, gay, etc. I have no idea if age is one of those things that is considered to be discriminatory. 
 
I guarantee that this was a manager at that location's decision though. Find out what the regional manager's number is and call to make a complaint if you feel like doing so, since I bet that, legal or illegal, it's not a decision the manager can make.

#30 Posted by Walker_after_dark (84 posts) -

Call all of your local media outlets (TV, radio, newspapers, local bloggers, etc) then stage a sit-in at the McD's in question. Get as many people with you as possible. Be aware that if the manager is a real hard-ass he/she may try to have you arrested (and will certainly threaten it) but if you're all underage it may not happen because of the very damaging publicity, especially if TV cameras are rolling at the time. If you actually do get arrested, don't resist but don't help either; force them to carry you out. Bring your own cameras and upload the videos to YouTube in real time, if you can. Before you start your protest, create a succinct list of demands and a description of the problem and designate someone as your spokesperson who can articulate those issues calmly and clearly to the manager, the police, and the press. Be prepared to be there for awhile. Yes, I'm serious. Legal action is all well and good and may work eventually but few things bring the quick results that civil disobedience does.

#31 Posted by RecSpec (3829 posts) -

It's a fucking cup of coffee.

#32 Posted by Suicidal_SNiper (949 posts) -
@tsolless said:
" @Suicidal_SNiper said:

" They have the right to deny sale to any person they want. Even though there's no money involved it's still considered a sale. "

Depending on the reason. Example, you can't refuse sales to someone because they are black, female, gay, etc. I have no idea if age is one of those things that is considered to be discriminatory.    I guarantee that this was a manager at that location's decision though. Find out what the regional manager's number is and call to make a complaint if you feel like doing so, since I bet that, legal or illegal, it's not a decision the manager can make. "
If you read a little earlier I said   @tobygw: Within the confines of the law. So no, he wouldn't be allowed to pick out races.
#33 Posted by mzuckerm (351 posts) -
@Walker_after_dark: That's a nice plan if you're protesting, say, segregated lunch counters.  If you're protesting that you don't get a free cup of coffee because you're a teenager, the publicity you get probably would be more negative than positive.  As @RecSpec said:
" It's a fucking cup of coffee. "
#34 Posted by mazik765 (2315 posts) -
@DetectiveSpecial said:
" Nope. For something to be illegal, a law or right has to be violated.  There is no law providing you with access to coffee, and you have no right to free coffee. "
In our charter of rights it does say that is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their age, which is what they're doing essentially. So unless it says right in the rules of the promotion that they do not sell coffee to minors then it is illegal, as it is against the charter of rights. However, there's really nothing you can do about it, because no court is going to take a case over a cup of coffee.
#35 Posted by LeetBalla (698 posts) -

A business reserves the right to refuse anyone service. No law has been violated by refusing you coffee.

#36 Posted by Walker_after_dark (84 posts) -
@mzuckerm said:
" @Walker_after_dark: That's a nice plan if you're protesting, say, segregated lunch counters.  If you're protesting that you don't get a free cup of coffee because you're a teenager, the publicity you get probably would be more negative than positive.  As @RecSpec said:
" It's a fucking cup of coffee. "
"
Discrimination is discrimination, regardless of which -ism you're talking about. In this case, the OP is part of a specific group that is being targeted for a specifically reduced form of treatment by a corporate entity, That message is going to ring true with a lot of people, especially if the situation is couched in those sorts of terms. McDonalds is a global firm that doesn't like any sort of negative publicity and the mere thought of a bunch of kids being carried, bodily, out of one of their restaurants by the police is enough to give most PR people nightmares. The images count more than the text.   
#37 Posted by Depressing_Wizard (186 posts) -

When I was in High School last year, I went to the close-by McDonald's and got free coffee there everyday during the promotion. Still, I don't think it's illegal, it's their product they're giving away. If you're really upset, write to the company and you could be compensated. 

#38 Edited by Mikemcn (6989 posts) -

DId you offer to pay for it??
 
And they can do what they want as a private business, if you were dieing of thirst, all they had was coffee and  they didn't give you any because your too young, then they would be breaking a law, but thats about the only way they could get in trouble for that.

#39 Posted by ShadowofIntent (288 posts) -

They aren't discriminating against you because of your age, its because your a high school student which is perfectly legal.

#40 Posted by mazik765 (2315 posts) -
@LeetBalla said:
" A business reserves the right to refuse anyone service. No law has been violated by refusing you coffee. "
This is true, but as soon as it the reason they cite for that refusal is discrimination then things change. Can you imagine if the OP had gone in and they had refused them coffee because they were black? Or Muslim?
 
But again, even if you were to be so strongly insulted as to open a court case, no judge would ever take it seriously because it's a cup of coffee and you're a kid. Write a letter to the company if it's bothering you that much.
#41 Posted by TheMustacheHero (6655 posts) -
@Erzs said:
" @Bennyishere:  Apart from straws I don't really know what you could steal from a Mcdonalds. And saying that the straws are free anyway.  I think it's BS they are turning you away. But like has been said they can unfortunately refuse anyone they want. =[ "
Napkins and ketchup too.
#42 Posted by LiquidPrince (15969 posts) -
@tobygw said:
" So here in Canada, (not sure about the U.S) there is a promotion going on for the next week or so where you can get a free small coffee whenever you go to a McDonald's, you don't even have to buy anything. I'm a high school student, and I went and got one a couple of days ago with some friends and it wasn't too bad and everything was normal. But today, me and some friends went back there to eat and to get another free coffee. However, now they were saying that they would not serve any high school students and they were even asking for some people to show ID. FOR FUCKING COFFEE!   I think that the reason they were doing it is because there are two high schools that are fairly close by, and it would cause them to have to make a lot more coffee and do a lot more work. There were big lines today (mostly made up of students) and there were a lot more people there then were when I successfully went last time.  Even though this may be daunting, they should still have to serve everyone equally without ageism. Now I was just wondering if any of you guys know if this is illegal, because I am 99% certain that it is. I'm pretty pissed off about this, because the kids from the schools that they are now alienating, are in fact the people who are normally giving them the most profit.   So what are your guys' thoughts on this?   (EDIT* Mods can move to off-topic. Accidentally posted here.) "
It's not illegal at all... They set up the promotion and they can choose to serve whomever they please. It is however a bit of a dick move. I haven't had any problems getting the free coffee. I even got some yesterday.
#43 Posted by mzuckerm (351 posts) -
@Walker_after_dark: Sorry, I don't buy that all discrimination is the same.  This simply doesn't come anywhere close to any number of historical injustices that have happened over the last 100 years.
#44 Posted by Walker_after_dark (84 posts) -
@mzuckerm: So you're saying that a problem only deserves attention if it's important enough? What level of injustice are we talking about here? And who gets to determine the importance? I would say that forcing a problem to meet some historical standard of injustice is a very bad game to play and is in it's own way just as demeaning to those that are being discriminated against. Comparisons of that kind are never fair which is why the courts don't do it and instead look at each case based on it's own merits. 
#45 Posted by mzuckerm (351 posts) -
@Walker_after_dark: Yes, you put it in a very pithy way, but that's more or less what I'm saying.  There are a million little things that are a bit unfair that go hand-in-hand with life.  If we staged sit-ins every time one of them happened, everyone would end up hating everyone else.  And if we involved the legal system in things like this, it would tie up the courts and slow down justice for the REAL problems that are out there.  It's a cup of coffee.  Deal with it.
#46 Posted by Yanngc33 (4496 posts) -

Look at the fineprint but usually they have to serve you. Even for happy meals they have to give it to you eventhough youre not 8. So yeah you should just read them the fine print and you should have your slightly mideocre mcdonalds cofee :p

#47 Posted by dudeglove (7907 posts) -

Just because it's free doesn't mean you get it.

#48 Posted by Arbie (1449 posts) -
@TheMustacheHero said:
" Napkins and ketchup too. "
Of course, how could I forget the teachings of Vork. =[
#49 Posted by RandomHero666 (3181 posts) -

I got asked for ID when buying Red Bull once, just tell them to shove it up their arse, make a scene. That worked for me