Why are supermarket parking bays allocated to the disabled and to often perfectly able-bodied mothers with children, but not to pensioners?
The question highlights a peculiar dilemma facing older shoppers. In the era of enfranchisement for all sorts of minority groups, the over-60s seem to have been overlooked.
As advertising agencies produce ever more youth-focused campaigns seemingly only targeting older customers with products promising to make them look younger, the supermarkets appear to be guilty of a similar age-related myopia.
Car parking is just one bugbear for older shoppers, according to a survey of 1,400 over-50s carried out for The Grocer by Millennium, an advertising and communications group for the mature market. More than one in three respondents feel that supermarket and brand advertising is aimed specifically at younger people and only 2% feel that it is aimed directly at them.
They also criticise complicated and illogical store layouts and the lack of seating. Then there is the perennial irritation of user-unfriendly packaging and difficult-to-read typefaces.
Yet these age groups - and let's not forget this isn't one amorphous group, but several different generations - are among the most affluent shoppers.
Almost one in three spend more than £60 a week on grocery shopping and 7% spend more than £100, according to the survey.
They're adventurous: 88% say they would be prepared to buy a product that they did not normally buy if they sampled it in-store and liked it.
And they're just as likely as anyone else to be interested in a good deal, with 88% saying that they actively look out for buy-one-get-one-free offers on their shopping trips. So why aren't their needs being fully met?
It's not entirely the fault of the multiples or the brands. Just as the media have become obsessed with youth, so has the general public.
The youngest group in the mature market were teenagers in the 1960s and many would cheerfully admit that they are clinging on to middle-age youth. They certainly don't want to have attention drawn to their age with services or products aimed overtly at them. It is not surprising that the classless supermarket pioneered by Tesco is evolving into an ageless one.
Unfortunately, trying to be sensitive to older shoppers' feelings by perpetuating the myth of an ageless society has its pitfalls - and not just for the shopper.
Multiples and manufacturers are neither meeting older shoppers' needs nor grasping the opportunities that older shoppers represent, believes Millennium director Kevin Lavery.
"There were two things that stood out for me in this research," he says. "One is the claptrap that advertising executives like to perpetuate: that if you target your marketing to over-35s it won't work. It's complete bunkum. Empirical evidence suggests the opposite.
"The other issue is that sampling really works for this generation."
He argues that older shoppers are more than willing to try new products and are strongly influenced by TV ad campaigns and in-store promotions, but can feel alienated by many campaigns.
"Thirty years ago, it was right to be youth-focused. That is no longer the case. However, it has to be done sensitively," he says, pointing to the success of Marks & Spencer's TV ad campaign featuring Twiggy and other top models of the past 40 years. "The point is that it is inclusive."
Another issue the survey highlights is that 52% of older shoppers would like to be able to buy smaller pack sizes. Store layout and ranging could also be improved fairly easily, suggests Lavery.
In short, there is a massive - and growing - opportunity that has yet to be fully understood or tapped into by the major multiples.
Over-50s wield an annual £2.5bn of spending power, Lavery points out. There are 20 million over-50s in the UK, a figure that is expected to increase 30% within 15 years. Conversely, the number of under-50s is expected to decline.
A 'one age fits all' approach is clearly not going to work.
Liz Hamson reports
Three shoppers from the Bradford area - one in her 50s, another in his 60s and one in her 70s - give their views on the whole supermarket shopping experience
Shopping habits of the over-50s