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?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kristine Harley
    Aug 27, 2014 @ 11:24:29

    Give your discounts to me; I’m 49 years old. (The photo accompanying my post is me at 42.) Can you imagine we walking into a store at 55 and asking for my senior discount? I’ll have the same problem that my mother and my sisters did at that age! I think I’ll contact a local TV station and have them shadow me with hidden cameras as I get rejected. Perhaps you should do the same; then we can both stick it into society’s eye about people’s assumptions regarding women.

    Seriously, though, forcing a senior discount on you is just plain rude. It’s like giving a customer a diet soda instead of the non-diet one that s/he asked for.


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