Search for dis­counts get­ting old

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - HELAINE WILLIAMS

Any­one else in the 50- an­dover crowd feel that ev­ery time they turn a mile­stone age, all the “good” se­nior dis­counts are for the peo­ple five years older and up?

I no­ticed, when I turned 50, that all the good “se­nior” dis­counts came to those 55 and older. On Feb. 17, I turned 55. And from what I could see, many of the dis­counts were for those 60 and older.

In a Face­book post, I jok­ingly (sorta) asked where the dis­counts were for those my age.

“Oh, haven’t you heard?” re­sponded a child­hood friend of my older sib­lings. “They raised the age to 60 as soon as I turned 55!” I told her I’d gone to a se­nior-dis­count web­site and no­ticed that I ap­peared to still be a “young thang” when it came to many of the dis­counts out there.

Sev­eral peo­ple sug­gested join­ing AARP — an or­ga­ni­za­tion that not only gladly ac­cepts peo­ple at age 50 but which, in fact, sends out come-hith­ers to peo­ple be­fore they’re even think­ing of this par­tic­u­lar mile­stone birth­day. I had an AARP mem­ber­ship a few years ago by virtue of my hus­band sign­ing up. He let that lapse.

The dis­counts aren’t all out of reach. For­tu­nately, a de­cent num­ber of well-known chain es­tab­lish­ments will bless 55-ers with dis­counts of usu­ally 10 per­cent, or free small drinks. Some of­fer dis­counts at cer­tain times of the month, or cer­tain days (for what­ever rea­son, Tues­day seems to be Se­nior Dis­count Day).

The one big down­side to se­nior dis­counts in gen­eral is that it ap­pears they aren’t of­fered or doled out au­to­mat­i­cally. We must in­quire about them. I won­der whether the se­nior-dis­count ben­e­fi­ciary ranks are thinned due to those who don’t want to ad­mit they’re a cer­tain age … and pos­si­bly be treated like we were in the days of the old-school store checkout clerks who bel­lowed out those em­bar­rass­ing price-check re­quests: “Got a se­nior dis­count on panties here!”

As for find­ing that the dis­counts I’m el­i­gi­ble for are fewer than I thought there’d be, I also won­der if some mer­chants pan­icked at the num­ber of baby boomers start­ing to hit them up, and de­cided to raise the age-eli­gi­bil­ity num­bers.

Or, whether they sar­cas­ti­cally de­cided to take ad­van­tage of those “50-is-the-new-30, 60-is-the­new-40” view­points. As a mat­ter of fact, the head­line of an April 2015 story at The Daily Mir­ror web­site, mir­ror.co.uk, pro­claims that “60 is the new 40: Healthy liv­ing means we now hit mid­dle age later” and ref­er­ences “sci­en­tists who say longer, health­ier lives mean peo­ple now hit mid­dle-age

later.”

The story quotes Sergei Scher­bov, who led a study on ag­ing. “What we think of as old has changed over time, and it will need to con­tinue chang­ing in the fu­ture as peo­ple live longer, health­ier lives. Some­one who is 60 years old to­day, I would ar­gue, is mid­dle-

aged — but 200 years ago, a 60- year- old would be a very old per­son.” A Septem­ber story at the Ger­many- based Deutsche Welle’s web­site, dw. com, re­veals that “av­er­age life­spans are creep­ing up, and that’s af­fect­ing views on ag­ing. So­ci­ol­o­gist Fran­cois Hopflinger … dis­cov­ered that most el­derly peo­ple to­day feel much younger than they did 50 years ago.” So some mer­chants might have

con­cluded that those of the “55- is- the- new- 35” crowd should pay what they feel.

At any rate, I wouldn’t be sur­prised to see dis­count of­fers stated thusly: “Ten per­cent off pur­chases for those age 55 and older. If, how­ever, you’re still work­ing a 9-to-5, still wear­ing heels more than 2 inches high, rock­ing an above-the-knee dress, driv­ing a ‘midlife cri­sis’ sports car, swim­ming in men’s briefs or two-piece num­bers

that show more flesh than the tra­di­tional ‘tank­ini’ and are dat­ing some­one your child or grand­child’s age, we fig­ure you can af­ford to pay full price.”

Which, ac­tu­ally, might make for a good laugh. Fol­lowed by a need to seek a se­nior dis­count on some in­con­ti­nence prod­ucts.

hwilliams@arkansason­line.com

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