The first time I was offered a senior citizen discount, I was somewhat taken by surprise by the youngster behind the counter. I was only in my early 50s, but to that young man, I undoubtedly seemed much older. I didn’t qualify for a reduced rate on my fast food, and promptly made it abundantly clear to him that I was still required to pay the full price. And I did.
Several years ago, Linda and I were celebrating a wedding anniversary in San Antonio. There was to be a show there along the River Walk, and tickets were required. If I remember correctly, the single price admission was $10 per person. When I asked for two tickets, I was told that it would be $18. Obviously, I had a puzzled look on my face and the young man pointed to Linda and said, “one regular” and then and me and said, “one senior.”
Truth be told, Linda is actually older than I am, by about seven months. Neither of us was what I consider to be a senior. So I handed over a 20 dollar bill and very quickly stuffed the two dollars in change into my pocket. That was my first senior discount and I didn’t really appreciate it.
All that has now changed. I seek out and ask for the discount on every occasion possible. I don’t own the T-shirt, but I have seen one with these words boldly printed on the front: “I’m a Senior Citizen — Where’s my discount?”
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Last summer, in preparation for a fishing trip with my brother-in-law, I stopped by the sporting goods department of our local Walmart. I got actually carded when I asked for a fishing license. The gentleman behind the counter didn’t believe me when I told him that I wasn’t yet 65. He actually wanted to see positive ID! I had to prove to him that I had not attained the age of 65, the age at which you are no longer required to purchase a fishing license in the state of Missouri.
Now this year, I went to the same Walmart to acquire new fishing gear and this year’s fishing license. I informed the nice young man in the sporting department that he was going to have the opportunity to witness a once in a lifetime experience. That’s right, he had the privilege of selling me my very last Missouri fishing license. I’m thinking about framing it.
While I think it’s a big deal, I don’t think he saw the entire experience as being nearly as noteworthy as I did. But really, how often are you allowed to be a part of something as significant as this?
Call me an eternal optimist. I’m always looking for the bright side. There has to be advantages to getting older. I mean other advantages than gaining wisdom and patience and understanding. I’m really looking forward to the distinct monetary advantage to being older. And I’m still not as wise or patient or understanding as I should be.
Of course, some of the fun has diminished, as I am very seldom asked if I qualify for the discount. Sales clerks today are incredibly young appearing and immediately judge me to be many times older than they are. Once glance, and I get the discount.
Linda gets the discount only when she accompanies me. Otherwise, it isn’t automatically offered to her — she has to ask for. I look forward to a price break, she prefers to not bring attention and will pay full price. Go figure.
David Coffelt is a Harrisonville area resident and his email address is email@example.com.