« Friends Today | Main | Loss of Maidenhood Part 1 »

Monday, 13 September 2010

Ya Gotta Know When to Play 'Em

By Richard J. Klade of Gabby Geezer

In an entertaining post, blogger Joared of Along the Way told of a twinge of embarrassment when she played the age card to get her air conditioner fixed promptly during a southern California heat wave. I used to be reluctant about asking for senior and other favors. Not any more.

Some 20 years ago, I snorted in disbelief when told a dear friend had joined the oldsters at the downtown Senior Center in Ogden, Utah, the day after she turned 50. Our friend’s husband was a retired Marine Corps colonel who was collecting a hefty stipend every month courtesy of Uncle Sam.

In addition, he had collected an even heftier sum a few years earlier as the sole beneficiary of his wealthy mother’s will.

Our pal was resolute. She said she saw no reason not to take advantage of free lunches (a $2.00 donation was suggested, but not required) and numerous other perks available at or through the Senior Center. “After all,” she said, “I’m now officially a senior, and I deserve what I can get.”

Our friend was right. We have learned not to hold back when playing the age card will produce a winner. Discounts and freebies are all around us, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of them.

Although chains often aren’t the finest eateries, we many years ago became fond of several menu items and the atmosphere in Applebee’s restaurants. Last year, I was amazed to hear an elderly lady at an adjacent table ask for the senior discount.The waitress said, “Sure,” and knocked 10 percent off the tab.

Applebee’s had provided a 10 percent senior discount for all the years we’d eaten there, but they never advertised it. You had to ask for it. Now that we’re in the know, I ask every time.

Lowe’s offers a 10 percent discount every day across the board to all veterans. Embarrassed by the competitor’s policy, Home Depot last year decided to match the perk. But, again, vets must request the discount and may have to show some evidence of their service.

We’re remodeling our home and improving the landscaping. We’ve saved hundreds of dollars with those discounts.

If a little junk food is in order, Wendy’s is one place to get it. You can go there and pay the regular prices, which most do or, at least here in Michigan, you can first visit a web site and get coupons that will cut your burger tab in half. And, if you’re a senior and ask for it, you can get a drink for pennies and get a free refill as often as you go back.

“Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and ye shall find.” Good biblical advice. And on a more secular note, when you’re dealt a handful of aces — play them!

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


My son's mother-in-law played the age card with such finesse I was embarrassed to be seen with her. Like the woman in your illustration, she had a large retirement income in addition to a pension from her husband and S.S. Yet she made a study of finding the best freebie and only ate where she got a senior discount. I suppose that's why she had money and I don't. I guess I just don't even know I have all the aces

Richard - This was a timely piece!

I read it just after returning from playing golf with my brother-in-law this morning. (When I turned 70 a couple of years ago, I howled in horror, took up yoga, golf, and learning Italian.)

The golf course was crowded, so a 30 or so year old was assigned to play with us. His first words to me were, "You know, you can drive from the 'orange' tee. (For men over 60 I think.) I counted to three while I debated whomping him with my driver or just keeping my mouth shut. I chose the latter, and promptly hit a fairly good drive, which rolled five feet past his.

It infuriates me when some young store clerk, without asking, gives me a senior discount. I feel great pride and victorious when they don't ask and I pay full price. However, I have never even considered sending my Social Security check back! - Sandy

Pride, reluctance and stubborn refusal is keeping many of us seniors in the back seat, in the back of the line and shelling out more than we have to for our purchases.
You are absolutely right. It's time to start cashing in. If we can't always get the respect we've earned, we can at least get ten per cent off.

Helen, I loved your response. I don't know, Sandy....I can never be sure just how much you are kidding, but my thrills and pride are in being recognized and honored for what I've accomplished in 77 years (including 5 great-grands)and for still being on my feet and breathing (most of the time)!
Richard, a fun post, and a good conversation starter.

I think I'm getting ready to swallow my pride and ask for anything I can get.

In India women over a certain age get 50% off their rail tickets and it helps me to go first-class and I feel wonderfully old on those trips.


That is a great phrase--"feel wonderfully old." Hope you don't mind if I put that one in my bag of words.

other commentators

Sometimes a little humor helps if you need to overcome a personal barrier to asking for a discount. My favorite tactic is:

"I know it's hard to believe I'm a serior, but I am. Do you have a discount?"

That almost always gets a smile, and sometimes gets a discount I didn't expect.

Oops. Senior. Must have been a hidden impulse in response to a hope that vendors will start calling them "elder discounts."

By the way, Sandy, I shot a one-under 35 on the front nine of my home course at age 68. It was the only time in 45 years of trying I ever broke par. None of the youngsters in my group that day even came close. "Yes we can, elders."

Thanks...all good stuff to know. At the famous galleries in Florence Italy, there was a Senior Discount for Europeans but not for Americans. I suppose that that was the case wherever you were in Europe. Can't win them all but you have to go for the ones that you can. By the way...If you ask at Dunkin Donuts, some locations will give a discount and some will not.

Note to self, use this: "I know it's hard to believe I'm a senior, but I am. Do you have a discount?"

If not, I might add, "...How about a beauty discount? You got one of those?"

Thanks Gabby Geezer and thanks for the tips on discounts!

The comments to this entry are closed.