A Funny Little Health Remedy that Actually Works – For Me
INTERESTING STUFF – 27 January 2018

Senior Discounts: A Rite of Passage Redux

EDITORIAL NOTE: This week got so busy I couldn't find time for today's story so I have resurrected a post from the second year of TGB, 11 November 2005, about senior discounts.

In the penultimate paragraph, I mention that I was then working on becoming as comfortable with being an elder as I was for so many decades as an adult. Now, 13 years later, I have no doubts. I am an old person and that knowledge has come to rest easily on my shoulders.

* * *

Earlier this week, Colleen of Loose Leaf left a comment about having recently received a ten dollar senior discount.

As serendipity in timing would have it, last Sunday I got my first senior discount too – at a movie theater. I had never asked for one before – hadn’t even thought about it - so I don’t know what possessed me to say at the ticket window, “one adult and one senior, please.” (ASIDE: I wish I’d said “elder.”)

It turns out that discount is no small change in New York City where movie tickets go for $11 a pop. The “elder” ticket cost only seven dollars, a savings which almost covered a grossly overpriced small bag of popcorn.

Colleen, who is about ten years younger than I, admitted to being a bit shaken by her first discount for age. I, on the other hand, sailed right through it without a quiver and have been wondering since then what other discounts I’m missing.

These two little rites of passage remind me that we don’t become old – or seniors or elders – in our minds overnight or on a certain birthday. Our perception of time is flexible, moving along at different rates of speed depending on circumstances, and minds can be hard things to change. We back into new definitions of ourselves slowly, I think, becoming accustomed to them gradually as other people and traditional markers outside ourselves – like photographs and senior discounts - reflect to us our passing years.

In the 20 months I’ve been writing Time Goes By, I’ve accepted my status – at least on paper – as a person of age, as an advocate for ending ageism and age discrimination, and for exploring what getting older is really like.

But what I had not done is feel that status of elderhood viscerally. I have yet to make it my own, so a part of my being that I don’t need to discuss it anymore - what Jill Fallon of Legacy Matters says Buddhists call “the ever-present awareness” of our inner selves.

I sense now, however, that I’m beginning to close in on it. Asking for the senior discount without a hiccup and taking pleasure in Elisa Camahort’s redefinition of me as “ElderBlogger Ronni Bennett” seem to be indications that acceptance in the wings. It took a long time in my youth to get past the feeling I was play-acting at being a grownup. The goal now is to become as certain an elder as I became an adult for so many decades.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll look into what other senior discounts are available. Saving a little money is a powerful incentive to attitude adjustment.


Comments

I remember when I went to the YWCA to sign up and was told - upon their just looking at me - that I could have a senior discount. That was years ago. In the meantime - and I am three years older than you, Ronni - I have adjusted to the label and am fine with it. "Elder," to me, is an honorific, or it feels that way; "elderly," on the other hand, is one I am having trouble adjusting to. This hit home when I was reading an article a friend had sent me concerning a condition with which I have now been diagnosed, and the case study, a woman who is 78, my age -- was described as "elderly." Don't know why I reacted with such force to it, but I guess I haven't reached the point yet where I can use that word comfortably. And I am not sure why this is so.

Taking advantage of senior discounts, on the other hand, is a fine thing. I happily partake.

I'm 62 and at most golf courses, that qualifies for the senior discount. I proudly ask for it by name. Sometimes the men at the counter will make a little joke about me not being old enough, and it's all sort of silly, but I don't are. Just give me the discount.

My best senior discount came unexpectedly when I was entering Rocky Mountain National Park one day. I'd stopped to pay the entry fee and the lady looked at me and asked if I was 65. I was, and she told me that for a mere $10 or $15 I could buy a lifetime pass for free admission to all the national parks and monuments!

I don't go to movies very often, but with prices the way they are now, I certainly welcome the senior discounts there.

In another instance, at an optician, I asked about discounts and was surprised to find that my AAA membership got me a larger discount than AARP (I later quit AARP for political reasons).

Some years ago, when I was, I think, in my 50's, a young thing asked me, as I was paying for a water aerobics class, if I was an adult. A bit flummoxed, I responded, well, I am not a child! It was only later that I realized what she meant. It has taken time for me to admit I am old, but now, at almost 78, I am ok--not ecstatic--but ok with it.

At 81 there's no question that I'm eligible for just about every senior discount there is--no questions asked--and I take them. Even so, whether or not I accept being an elder viscerally, not so much.

I'm considering whether or not to renew my AARP membership. I've been a member for 30+ years, but the organization has changed a lot. I think it's much more commercial and geared towards selling to Baby Boomers now, and many of their publications feature articles about second careers, athletic feats and "reinventing yourself" that aren't relevant to me.

Then there's the political aspect. Still, historically AARP has been a powerful lobby for Social Security and Medicare, and ordinary people 50+ need all the help we can get whenever the Repubs are in power.

I was 49 years old, one day shy of 50 when I attended the Medieval Fair in California. When I paid the fee I told the girl that I should have waited until tomorrow to attend because then I would be eligible for the "Senior" discount. She laughed and gave it to me.

I may be one of the first to receive a discount just for living long enough.

To stretch our limited income, as well as to recycle, limit the footprint we are leaving on this badly exploited planet, and support some social services sustained by these establishments, my husband and I have shopped almost exclusively at thrift stores for the past several years, when we shop at all We were thrilled when we learned that most of these offer a senior discount, and some now also have rewards points where you can earn a further discount based on how much you spend! It is only through these sources that we have managed to continue to indulge our love of books, video and and music, which provides our entertainment and offsets the world-weariness from too much daily news.

Another interesting thing about resale and thrift stores is how busy they are these days, with parking lots often looking more like a large retail establishment, especially around holidays and the end of summer as back-to-school time finds families challenged to dress and supply their children with what they need.

Oh yes, we all need to take advantage of seniorhood and the attendant discounts. It is a perk that we have attained. I too, though, recoil at the word " elder " which I heard today on an NPR newscast ( of all places!) about an elder lady at 66 who was mentally ill and able to slip through security and hitch rides on planes. Who knew? Again, I was more upset by the term elderly ( I am 66, too!) than the breach of security. My definition of elder is frail. At 66 I am by no means frail and working hard to prevent that state. Grrrr...age better take heed.

Wishing all of us the best as we go forth and delight in seniorhood.

Karin

Hi Ronni! wow - senior/elder discounts (I don't care what they call 'em, I just want 'em!! You can get them for travel on Trimet buses and MAX, Fred Meyer (only certain items, not product for instance) once a month, EVERY Wed all day long at New Seasons. I shop for groceries now only on Wed at New Seasons.

When I was in NYC last year or the year before, the lady at the Penn Station ticket window for a NJTransit bus asked me "how old are you?" -- at first I was taken aback and joked with her "you're not supposed to ask a woman that!" (she was probably close to 60 herself), but then she told me I could save LOTS on a bus ticket if you're 60 or older (I think that was it, maybe 63).

It always pays (no, it saves! ha ha) to ask if they have discounts for elders -- I am totally into getting those discounts! I remember my dad was too much in denial about his age - he didn't ask for a discounted Metrocard for the subway in NYC until I told him how much he could save (hell, he was in his late 70s by then!).

To paraphrase a Temptations' song: Ain't too proud to... ask for my discount!

hugs and love

I recall years ago being carded when I asked for a restaurant senior discount when I first reached the qualifying age. I laughed and enjoyed every minute of the inquisition as I presented my drivers license. No one questions me now, so guess my appearance reveals more age giveaway features.

Recently I’ve noticed with carryout I’m being told I must order a beverage, too, with an entree for which I’m paying full price (no coupon discount) in order to receive a senior discount. Given the markup on beverages, sounds to me like they’re wiggling out of a meaningful discount.

We're on board for every discount possible. And there are ways to give yourself a discount in places that don't offer one. For example: The dining room at the golf course where we live has a good selection of excellent Friday night dinner specials priced at $12 to $14, including a soup and salad bar. At 82 (me) and 76 (beautiful wife) neither of us can possibly consume the generous dinner portions. So we order one complete dinner and one separate salad bar ($8). We then split the dinner and each visit the salad bar as we wish. We're thus getting a great dinner meal for two for $20 to $22 plus tip. Oh, and we pay the bill with a credit card we pay off every month, and that gets us another 1 percent bonus at all times, and 5 percent during part of the year.

In addition to saving lots of bucks, we have made somewhat of a game of figuring out how to take advantage of money saving situations at places where we like to shop or visit for entertainment. Our "homemade discounts" add to our entertainment.

Haha!

I was in China and when I got on the subway in Beijing, people would stand up and give me their seat, without prompting or asking for it!

It makes me so uncomfortable, even though I grew up in NYC and rode the subway every day back then, and standing was the normal way of getting anywhere.

I guess my hair is now the right color (ie, gray).

Our local park district has a 50% off discount for classes for persons age 60+. I take 7 classes with them. My drugstore has a link with AARP for discounts. 2 theater chains offer senior discounts but they vary according to discount and showtimes. I get a modest travel discount using AARP via AARP Expedia. I got the lifetime National Parks pass for seniors for $20, which included a $10 processing fee, before the price was jacked up to $80.

I like saving money!

I'm 63 and it's funny the assumptions people make based on my aged appearance.

Lots of savings to be made in Spain: a golden card for huge rail travel discounts; an over 60s card for discounts for so many things - cinema, art galleries, specs and some restaurants - and there are clubs for "jubilados" (as pensioners are called) that have heavily-reduced holidays and day trips, restaurant, tea dances, hairdressers and keep fit. It's a country that takes care of older people and I, as a foreigner, am allowed access to the benefits. Yippee.

My First Senior Discount (and a confession): I went to the movies with a sweet nun from Ireland, she age 50+ and I in my late 50's. We were studying theology together as a teacher and a chaplain. At the ticket window, she said, "two seniors, please." We were both "poor" graduate students, but I felt scandalized. Yet, the low price was a sweet deal. Since then, I've alway asked for senior discount. I'm 76 now and feel only a little guilty.

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