A hand-written sign in the plate glass window at the entrance of Jimmy's luncheonette announced: Senior Citizen discount - 10%! I made a mental note to tell my husband. (I’m not being fresh, he boldly lists to anyone who will listen all the places he gets his senior discount. He looks about 15 years younger than he is, owing in part to a full head of black hair. So of course he tells people how old he is, because they always say, “No way!”)
Anyway, once I tucked that bit of information into my brain, I promptly forgot about it. I was having lunch with my writer’s group, Trudy, and we had Important Matters to discuss. And we had to eat lunch, the kind of lunch that you treat yourself to when you’re having a Meeting therefore you get the grilled cheese and the French fries. Yum.
The Important Matters that Trudy and I talked about were the typical writer’s group topics: our kids, her grueling committee work, my grueling committee work, doctors, traveling and wine. Oh . . . and writing. After an hour or so, the waitress brought us our bill and we gabbed a few minutes more before reaching for our wallets. It was a little less than we had figured in our heads. Ten percent less.
Please understand, I am a fan of aging. (“It beats the alternative” ba-dum bum). I am also a fan of discounts, especially for grilled cheese and French fries, so no problem there. However, don’t you think it was a little presumptuous on our waitress’s part to assume that Trudy and I were eligible for the Senior Discount? I am certain that it was not a malicious assumption and we didn’t take our initial umbrage out in her tip. But, I think it’s one of those things where it would have been nice to be asked.
“Excuse me, Miss, we have a Senior discount on Tuesdays. Obviously, you’re too young to take advantage, but we like to tell all of our customers, just in case.”
This particular waitress was a 20-something and probably everyone over 40 looks old enough to get the discount to her. The regular waitresses we usually get are a couple of ladies who certainly appear to be over 40 (well look who’s making age judgments now!) and definitely have some experience behind them. It’s just in their manner.
If I had been asked, then I could lie and take the discount or politely decline (I’m not eligible, okay?) but it would be my choice to declare my age and financial status. Having seniority thrust upon me is, well, oddly, uncomfortable. Why? Well, I suppose I’ll add that to the list of things I have to look at more closely. Or maybe Trudy and I can discuss it at our next writer’s meeting.