Monday, March 14, 2016

"On Receiving That First Senior Discount"

If you've already reached that magic milestone of 50, 55, 60, 62, or 65 - it varies depending on who is administering the program - then you have qualified for a senior discount. It might be a free beverage (coffee or soft drink), a percentage off your food bill, a discounted airline ticket or hotel stay, a discounted movie ticket or rental car, a lower priced haircut (generally with less hair to cut anyway), a special price on a theme park attraction, or special retail shopping days.

Remember back to your thirties or forties and you thought that maybe one day you could actually take advantage of such a program yourself - and now that day has arrived or is just ahead. 

The senior discount - whether you've reached that threshold in life to be able to qualify or it's on the horizon - is a nice reward for years of service. I think it initially was instituted by businesses as a way of accommodating seniors on fixed incomes and to get them to venture out and patronize their establishments. Now, with many Baby Boomers still working, the fixed income isn't such a part of the equation, but the reward just for attaining the qualifying age is a great bonus.

There are a couple of ways of looking at that day when you are qualified to receive your first senior discount - whether it's still ahead of you or already past. 

The first is to rejoice that you have finally qualified for one of life's little perks and to proudly proclaim that you'd like the senior discount when you are in an establishment that offers one - and then hope that you get a shocked look from the employee helping you (that you don't look old enough to qualify for this discount) and maybe even a request to see proof of age. That would make your day.

On the other hand, you might be offered the discount without even requesting it - even before that threshold birthday. You appreciate the discount but you aren't sure it you want it offered before you request it.

The second way to approach qualifying for a senior discount is to essentially ignore it and downplay it - maybe it will go away. If it's offered, you may or may not take it. Otherwise, you'd just as soon not admit that you are old enough to receive it. You'd rather the world just think of you as a pre-senior.

Nevertheless, whether it's something you really like getting or you would prefer that people not make a big deal of noticing that you have achieved "senior" status, it's a coming-of-age, of sorts, that signals a point in life when you qualify for something just a little bit extra from merchants around you that you have been patronizing for years.

Embrace the senior discount coming your way or refuse it. It doesn't change that we really are old enough (or soon will be) to receive it. There are many benchmarks in life this is yet another one.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.