My eyes are drawn to the word “free” like peanut to butter. But this article is not about free. It’s about free’s distant cousin, discount. Well, it’s actually discount’s older brother, senior discount.
When I first became a geezer, I began noticing the words “senior discount.” Of course, I wasn’t interested. “I’m not really a senior, I’ll pay full price; it’s only fair,” I thought.
Then one evening I was standing in line at the movie theater and realized that the ticket prices were up five dollars since the last time I went to the movies. (OK, so I haven’t been to the movies in a while.) When I got to the cashier she looked at my bald head and grey hair and said, “Do you want the senior discount? $5 off.” “Hmmm,” I thought, that’s worth half a small popcorn. “I’ll take it,” I said.
Right there and then my attitude toward senior discounts became, “I’ve lived this long, now gimme my reward.” To tell the truth, I’m really not that greedy, but let’s face it, I’ve spent a lot of years paying taxes for Senatorial travel junkets, bailed out banks, and swine odor research – now it was time for a little payback.
I turned my senior discount attention to the grocery store. Clipping coupons and using my “Super Special Customer” card were the previously preferred methods of getting a discount on groceries. Now I noticed the small sign behind the customer service desk offering a Super Special Senior Discount card. One dollar back for every 20 dollars spent. A few minutes and Driver’s License with proof of age later, I had my own grocery senior discount card. I whistled my way though the aisles filling my shopping basket with goodies. I probably spent a few extra dollars – but I got my discount.
Next, I moved on to senior travel discounts. I’m retired. I can fly any time day or night – Airline senior discount. Hotel rooms empty? I can fill ’em for days at a time because I don’t have to be back at work – Hotel senior discount. Travel to less desirable, more dangerous destinations – I’m talking Costa Rica, Switzerland, Liechtenstein – international senior discount. And if I can get a pack of senior citizens to travel together? Tour bus sized senior travel discounts all around.
Onward and upward to the world of culture, I thought. The Natural History museum was my first stop. Dinosaurs have old bones and geezers have old bones, so discounted membership seemed quite appropriate. I felt myself getting a little cocky walking through the museum with my Senior Membership card. I looked around at the families with young children. “Been there, done that – and now I’ve got my reward,” I thought, puffing my chest out like a cave man in a diorama.
The restaurant senior discount was a little trickier. I couldn’t decide if I should take the 10% senior discount or use the discount on the coupon the restaurant puts in the glossy section of the Sunday newspaper. I assumed the coupon was put there for geezers in the first place since we’re the only ones who still read newspapers. To determine if the senior discount or coupon was worth more I simply went up to the cash register with my bill. The female cashier winked and gave me a double discount. Of course, she was a senior!
Now that I’ve gotten the senior discount fever, I want more.
How about a discount where it really counts – at the surgeon’s. After all, without the elderly, where would heart surgeons be? In empty operating rooms, that’s where. So they should be giving us a better a Medicare senior discount when we need our bypasses or a few new valves.
And speaking of the government, couldn’t we get stamps for a little less? After all, geezers are about the only ones still using snail mail. Shouldn’t the government reward us for our years of loyalty?
But remember, you’re not going to automatically get a discount because you have grey hair. You must learn to ask for it. So as soon as you hit 50, learn to say, “Is there a discount for seniors?” You may think you shouldn’t get it because of your youthful charm. Get over it and take the senior discount. It’s free.