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The Age of Discounts

     Ah those Senior Discounts! Another fun thing about getting old—unless you're in the early stages of getting old and the twelve-year-old clerk with no fuzz on his cheeks who's really twenty-five but doesn't look a day over twelve looks up at you and says, "I gave you the senior discount, ma'am" and this is the first time someone's told you you look old and you hurry out to your car with your extra two dollars from the discount in your pocket and look in the rearview mirror to see what part of you looks old. That is not fun.

     After a few years you get over it, but in consideration of our wish to be thought young forever, some corporations have recently put in place a policy that employees must never say "senior" to a paying customer. So if you want that discount badly enough, you're gonna have to ask for it. Out loud. And watch everyone in line turn to look at you to see how old you are.

     Later in the process of getting old you begin to appreciate those discounts—especially the 15 per centers. You know you're really getting old when you proudly haul out your old age card to prove you're not as young as you look, pocket your extra coins and hurry out to the car you're still allowed to drive. For now, anyway.

     A warning: a senior discount isn't always a discount and us old guys ‘n gals weren't born yesterday. Nope. We know when we're being bamboozled. After humbling myself and admitting my old-ness to the Discount Tires sales guy and being oh-so-proud of myself for remembering to ask for the AARP discount, I couldn't wait to hear how much money I was going to save on my new set of tires.

     "I'll give you the discount if you want, ma'am"—don't you love being called "ma'am" by a child of the younger generation?—"but you're getting the tires cheaper with this price than if I apply the AARP discount. If you still want the discount, I'll be happy to give it to you."
Of course I didn't want the discount. But how can that be? In this crazy world you never know what the corporations are gonna do. Well anyway, I let myself off the hook for the other two times I'd bought tires and forgotten to ask for it.

     Freebies—another fun thing about getting old. I guess when you look kind of old, they think you're about to go into the poorhouse. To put a more positive spin on it, maybe it's a way of saying thank you for your years of service in whatever it was you were doing during the first half of your life. Yeah, I think I like that better.

     If you're an aficionado of Taco Bell and getting old you qualify for a free Senior Drink. First I heard of that, I was amazed. Free! Not a measly ten percent off; free. It comes in a special cup so everyone in the place knows you're getting old and can't handle a regular size drink, but if you're really thirsty it's okay. Mountain Dew tastes the same in any cup. I don't know if they serve seconds...

     Whether you need the senior discounts or not, what th' heck—might as well enjoy getting old, with all its quirky perks.

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