But I’m too young for senior discounts!

The first time a cashier gave me a senior discount, I gave it back. I’m not eligible.j0178844 The second time – different cashier, same week – it felt like a nearer-death experience. I tried to give it back, but the cashier refused. I went home with my chicken salad and pondered how much future there might be left.

So much for the anti-wrinkle serum, the freshened-up red hair and the fashionably hot neon-coral sweatshirt. They made me feel good, but would they give me the aura of youth only among people who’ve actually earned the senior discount?

I scurried for the mirror. Was I too fat? Too thin? Did I smile too little? Too much? Did I overdo the whitening toothpaste so that my teeth looked fake? Did I inadvertently drop a cultural reference to following OJ’s slow-speed chase on TV as it unfolded? Was it because of the empty space in my handbag where a smartphone ought to be?

The first time it happens, it’s shocking – like getting your first AARP solicitation at age 45 when it’s not a birthday joke. Then the mailbox starts sprouting catalogs for comfortable shoes and household tools intended to reach objects on high shelves without inducing back pain.

Looks are only part of it. There’s also morality. When a cashier rings up a senior discount for which you’re not old enough, what’s right to do – correct the young whippersnapper, who at 17 probably thinks 25 has one foot in Zombie Land, or take the money and run?

I chose. I also started taking mental notes on who gives senior discounts and what the eligibility age is. There’s no break at Disneyland for being old, for example, but there is one for 62 and older at Knott’s Berry Farm, and you could eat yourself silly with restaurant discounts that start kicking in at age 55. (There’s a good list of them here.)

Hey, Junior, read it and weep! In a few years, I’ll have money to spare for all the hip-hop downloads I want.

Oh, wait – you grab those off the Web for free, don’t you?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janelle
    Jun 19, 2014 @ 11:45:41

    I thought I was going to faint the first time it was offered to me, by some 17 year old at our local pizza place. At 48 I was YEARS away from earning the discount, because you have to be 62 at this establishment. I corrected her on 3 separate occasions and each time she wondered why. You are insulting my vanity, child, not piquing my sense of moral outrage at shorting your employer a few bucks with each weekly pizza purchase.


  2. Shelly
    Aug 05, 2014 @ 17:35:29

    I just got offered one at Farm Fresh, and I’m 43! It completely ruined my day. Maybe I look old for my age, but I don’t need to be reminded of that by some 18 year old clerk. When she asked “would you like a senior citizen discount?” I said “no, I do not qualify, and I would feel dishonest.”

    So I promptly called the store manager, who said “she was just trying to be helpful,” to which I responded that those who want and actually qualify for a discount can ask, and that by waiting for customers to ask he will save the store a few bucks. Only then did he say he would talk to the clerks.


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