Bass Mitchell: About that senior discount …
Someone once told me that you know you are getting old when you can sit in the rocking chair but can’t get it rocking. Or, when you hear snap, crackle, and pop in the morning and it’s not your cereal – it’s you! Well, I’ve got one more way to tell you are getting along in years – going to a restaurant.
I recently went to a restaurant for lunch. A young woman behind the counter greeted me with a bright smile and asked, “Senior discount?”
Her nametag read, “Keisha.”
Stunned, I just stood and stared at her for a moment. Chagrined, she hunched her shoulders and said, “Well, I had to ask.”
I suppose this had to happen some time, but I really wasn’t expecting it…so soon…
“The senior discount,” she went on to explain, trying to make amends, “begins at 55.”
That did not make amends, since I was only 49 (at the time), but apparently looked at least 55!
I thought about asking her how old she thought I was, but dared not risk the answer, especially the way things were going.
“Keisha, you have sunk me into depression,” I replied, only half kidding. “I think I’ve lost my appetite.”
“I’m sorry,” she replied most sincerely. “It’s just that I have to ask, you see, because people get upset if I don’t ask…”
“And now they get upset if you do,” I said for her. “Keisha, you have a very tough job.”
She nodded. There was a moment of silence and we burst out laughing.
Well, I ordered anyway, as nothing short of the world ending has ever really ruined my appetite. While I ate, regaining some dignity, I started to think about this senior discount thing…
Long have I stood in line and saw many persons, looking far better off in worldly goods than I, getting a discount simply for being, well, old. Maybe that senior discount is why they are better off! And not a few of them seemed rather pompous about it, as if they had earned it. Maybe they had.
“So what if they think I’m a senior citizen?” I thought to myself. “I get six extra discount years before I’m even supposed to! I can be better off! I can save some money! I can eat here twice a week rather than once.”
And an affluent joy overwhelmed me. It lasted until the cynical side of me said, “Yeah, but when you really get 55, they will probably do away with senior discounts.”
“So much better to enjoy them now,” I replied back to myself, looking around to see if anyone was watching me talk to myself.
I recently went back to that restaurant. Keisha was nowhere in sight. The lady behind the counter took my order. Since she did not ask me the dreaded question, I thought things were back to normal. But later, as I looked at my receipt, I saw that she had given me the senior discount without even asking! Oh dear. Apparently I am aging even faster than I thought. But the lady looked at me and grinned. Keisha was standing beside her grinning as well!
Hey, let them laugh at this rapidly aging fellow. I can still rock that rocking chair. So far I only hear “snap” in the mornings (but the day is young). And I just saved a dollar. I am well on my way to being better off, flaunting my senior-ness, and envied by the impoverished youth-lings in every waiting line. I can live with that just fine.
Huh…wonder where can I get my senior discount for lunch today?
Bass Mitchell is a writer and minister living in New Market. He has a list of all the restaurants in the valley that give senior discounts. He’ll gladly provide it, if you take him out to lunch.