Senior Discount

“OK, sir, and with your senior discount, that comes to $11.20.” Senior discount? I didn’t ask for a senior discount. When did I start to get the senior discount without asking for it? Fact is, except for movie tickets, I tend not to ask for a senior discount. I have always found making the request somewhat demeaning, as if there is something perverse about it somehow. What about the aging process somehow entitles me to a discount? . If it is to save me money, I would rather have had such a discount in my 20s and 30s when we were just starting out.

“OK, sir, and with your junior discount, that comes to $11.20.” Stretching the money from paycheck to paycheck often was a challenge and such a statement would have been welcome. There was rarely a surplus of funds and, should finances have allowed us to set aside a few dollars, we could be certain to hear one of the children cough. Not surprisingly, the cost of the doctor’s visit usually equaled or just exceeded the amount of the surplus.

Of course, the age problem still applies for there would come a time when the junior discount would no longer be offered. Feeling young and chipper, you would approach the cashier, only to be told you were too old for the discount. “Too old?!” you would protest, but I am only 40. “Precisely sir,” would come the reply.

Such a state of affairs might prompt a resurgence in health spas as 40-somethings worked to get off those extra, aging, pounds. Others might resort to Botox or even, more radically, plastic surgery, just to capture a year or two and retain that junior discount. Security companies would thrive as they offered retina scanners which tied into a national database. As you approached the cashier, the scanner would automatically post your age for the cashier to see. No need to protest, computers do not lie. The ones really desperate for the discount, not to save money of course, but to preserve the illusion of youth, would begin to haunt back streets and dark alleys. “Psst, hey mister, wanna buy some 25 year old eyes?” Money would change hands and you would be passed a plastic case of neatly packaged eyes that you could conceal somehow in your purchases and surreptitiously point towards the scanner, your retina-masking glasses assuring the deception.

An outrageous proposition, of course. And I have yet to see anyone ?aging? themselves to get a senior discount. ?Say, shoppers! Want to look older and get the same senior citizen discount as old man Schwartz down the street. Then try Wrinkle On. It is guaranteed to age you 10 years in 10 minutes. Satisfaction guaranteed or the next senior discount is on us.?

At least this country does allow the relative dignity of the title senior citizen. In the UK, the term is old age pensioner; OAP for short. But then, the nicety of the American term gets lost because some individuals insist on wearing demeaning hats or T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase ?Old Fart.? Yet, these same individuals would be highly insulted should some young clerk tell them ?OK sir, and with your Old Fart?s discount, that comes to $11.20.

In the meantime, back at the check-out counter, you hope the senior discount remark is not heard by the rest of the people in the line. “Senior discount in aisle 5.” A big yellow arrow lights up pointedly in your direction. “No, no,” you protest, “I’m only 64.” “Precisely sir,” would come the reply.