Senior Discount Trauma

All of a sudden I felt ancient.

Believe it or not, I remember the exact day I got my first senior discount. I remember it because it was a total bummer. I wasn’t a senior yet. 

I suck at math, but when the young man at the register in Michael’s gave me my change I knew something wasn’t right. I had bought items totaling around $35.00 dollars, and gave him $40.00, and got over $10.00 back.

“I shouldn’t be getting this much money back,” I told him, confused. He looked at me blankly. I studied the receipt. 

“What’s this?” I asked him, showing him a credit.

“That’s your senior discount,” he mumbled.

I went into shock. I was fifty-two. In my prime. I hadn’t yet even remotely thought of myself as being old.

“Senior discount?!” I croaked ungracefully. “I’m not fifty-five! Why are you giving me a senior discount!?”

He just stared at me. He was tongue-tied. Then I realized he was scared, and I calmed down and smiled at him. “Well, never mind, young man. I can use the extra money. Thank you, dear.” I forgave him. He didn’t do it on purpose. 

When I got home I felt better after realizing that surely my white hair had caused him to misjudge my age. It must have been that, because certainly everything else about me was youthful. My smooth skin, clear eyes, athletic body…I could go on but don’t worry, I won’t. But the thing is I’m a towhead, of Scandinavian descent, born with white hair. Just like Tiger Woods’s former wife, Elin. And Greta Garbo, au naturel.

Funny how the years change us. Now, 20 years later, I LOVE my senior discounts. I get upset when they don’t give them to me. Bring ‘em on!

Here’s one upside to being senior.

When I turned fifty-five I wasn’t altogether happy about it. But I did feel happy about getting senior discounts. They sweetened my outlook on joining the ranks of the senior demographic. A few years later it got even better.  Denny’s rolled out their “55+ menu,” at the back of the main menu. It had fixed discounted prices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It was a huge improvement over its long-time practice of taking ten percent off regular menu items.  Especially since the ten percent only applied to dinner; breakfast and lunch were full price, no matter how ancient you were. And to get the discount we old-timers had to eat at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon! That is just too darned early to eat dinner, in my book. I always got hungry again later and had to eat another dinner. Eating two dinners is not good for the waistline, or the wallet. It nullified the ten percent discount.

Now, with their cool new 55+ menu that’s valid anytime, I don’t turn into a pumpkin at 5:00 anymore. I can eat dinner, or lunch or breakfast for that matter, whenever I darn well please, at midnight or three in the morning if I like. And I still get that tasty reduced price. And since I don’t have to eat dinner twice, I can save up the money I used to spend on my second meal for something fun—like Zumba shoes or kayaking lessons. I may be a senior but I’m not ready for the rocking chair yet.