Unmarried Equality members have probably noticed lots of ways in which single people are not treated fairly by businesses and other groups and organizations. Let’s do more than just rolling our eyes or venting among ourselves. Let’s call them out.

Toward that end, I just created a new Facebook group, “Fairness for Single People.” It is a place where anyone who has a relevant example can post about it and provide information for contacting the company or organization.

Let’s also use the page as a place for praising groups leading the way with singles-friendly practices. (See below for some examples of unfair and fair practices.)

As of April 2018, this is brand new, so it will probably evolve over time, but for starters, here is how I envision it working:

Every time you notice an instance of an unfair practice, or a singles-friendly practice, take some or all of the following steps —

  1. Go to the “Fairness for Single People” page and describe the unfair practice.
  2. Tell the business or organization about your opinion and let them know that you wrote about it on the “Fairness for Single People” page.
  3. Include a link to the business’s webpage and/or Facebook page and/or Twitter name. That way, other people can also contact the business or organization to make their opinion known.
  4. If you have a relevant picture, post that.
  5. On social media, use the hashtag #fairnessforsinglepoeple

I understand that businesses sometimes have their reasons for their practices that are not very friendly to single people or to people on their own, regardless of their relationship status (such as people dining alone or traveling solo). For example, cruises might charge a single supplement when one person stays in a cabin because they could have made more money if two people stayed in the cabin and then spent lots of money on other things. Still, for single people, it is an unfriendly business practice. It could make a difference if many single people flock to the businesses that are friendly towards them.

Below, I tried to distinguish between practices that are unfair vs. those that are unfriendly, but I don’t think the distinction is all that straightforward.

Examples of Practices that Are Unfair or Fair to Single People (or to individuals such as people traveling or dining solo, regardless of their relationship status)

Unfair

$20 per individual

$30 per couple

Fair

$15 per individual

$30 per couple

Not friendly to individuals

Airport shuttle: the more people in your party who are traveling, the less each person pays

Friendly to individuals

The more often you take the shuttle, the less you pay for each trip

 

Unfair

Because of space limitations, alumni attending a university event can only bring a spouse

Fair

Because of space limitations, alumni attending a university event can only bring one person

Not friendly to individuals

Buy one restaurant meal, get one free

Friendly to individuals

Buy one meal for half-price

 

Unfair

$100 per household

Fair

$50 per person

Not friendly to individuals

$10 off when you spend $100 on groceries (that can be a lot for a person living alone)

Friendly to individuals

$5 off when you spend $50 on groceries

 

Unfair

Married employees have access to benefits that single employees do not (e.g., adding a spouse to a health insurance plan, covering a spouse’s moving expenses)

Fair

Cafeteria style benefits: every employee gets the same dollar amount, and can use the dollars for whichever benefits they want

 

Unfair

$100 per couple for access to all events in a film festival

Fair

$100 for a 2-person subscription; the second person can be anyone and it can be a different person for different events

 

I’m hoping that the FAIRNESS FOR SINGLE PEOPLE group will mostly run smoothly with little administrative help, because (1) it is an open group (so no one needs to process requests for membership) [OOPS, I just discovered that it is not possible to let people add themselves to FB groups; I’ll just automatically approve of all who ask to join] and (2) the focus is on unfair and fair practices, so I hope that means there will be little infighting in the discussions. Nonetheless, if anyone would like to join me as an administrator of the site, just let me know – I’d love to have you.

 

[Notes: (1) This was originally written for Unmarried Equality and is cross-posted here with permission. (2) The opinions expressed here do not represent the official positions of Unmarried Equality. (3) For links to previous columns, click here.]

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