Dear Adobe: Your Ageism Is Showing

One of the minor annoyances of modern life is the insistence of every restaurant, hotel, retail store, physician, and service company of pleading for one’s feedback via an online survey following even the most inconsequential dealings. I tend to ignore most of them, but every now and then one comes across my inbox that’s intriguing enough to cause me to respond.

I received one such request today from Adobe, the software giant, maker of heavyweights such as Photoshop, Acrobat, Illustrator, and many others. I use them pretty much every day, for a variety of creative and personal business reasons.

So, when I received the following email from Adobe, it piqued my curiosity and I clicked over to complete the survey.

The splash screen that came up required me to agree not to disclose, copy, publish, or share any proprietary information that would be contained in the following survey…which made me even more eager to participate. I clicked the “agree” button and the first question that popped up was this one: Please enter your age.

I typed in my actual age (there was room for numbers only; “older than dirt” wouldn’t fit the input box), and instead of the first actual survey question, I received this response:

Thank you for taking this survey. [Unspoken: Now, please take your walker and leave.]

In other words, Adobe thinks I’m too old to have any meaningful input or opinions about their products, and that my “creative needs and habits” couldn’t possibly be relevant or useful to anyone else.


The very least that Adobe could have done is put in their initial solicitation email is that they are seeking input from users aged XX or younger. I suppose that might raise red HR flags in and of itself; someone decided the passive/aggressive approach was better. At least this way, they can blame the third party survey contractor if anyone complains.

And complain, I did, albeit somewhat diplomatically (I think). Here was my emailed response to Adobe:

Not too subtle about your ageism, are you? Once I entered my age (69) you decided my opinions and input no longer matter, even though I’ve used Photoshop probably longer than you’ve been alive, and continue to use it daily for a wide variety of creative endeavors.

Oh well…your loss.

TBH, this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this phenomenon, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It is, however, the first time it occurred in conjunction with something I cared about.

At least I got some blog fodder out of this. And guess what? I used Adobe Photoshop to create an image of the email solicitation shown above. I’ll bet they didn’t believe I’d remember how to use that program.

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  1. Eric, Thank you for sharing your experience! Their loss! Your wisdom far exceeds their ability to use it. I love when people take time to share their experience! It’s worth more than gold!

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