The Discount-That-Must-Not-Be-Named

I-Like-Disounts   BUT NOT THIS ONE …

Not long ago, the local Acme Super Market began providing discounts on Tuesdays to a particular class of shoppers. You know who I mean.

It is that class of shoppers commonly referred to by a particular word that I strongly dislike and in fact eschew. But considering the nature of the discount, if the eschew fits, I decided to wear it. So I screwed up my courage, swallowed my pride, decided not to come up with a third sexually based metaphor, and went food shopping.

That is, food shopping on Tuesday at Acme, to avail myself of The Discount-That-Must-Not-Be-Named!

When I arrived,  the Acme was already awash in polyester, plaid, and a profusion of gray and blue hair as if a massive ballpoint pen had exploded in the skies over London. Everywhere I looked were members of the Greatest and slightly post-Greatest Generation.

So naturally, I began humming “Sugar Magnolia” by the Grateful Dead. You see, there’s nothing like humming 40-year-old rock music to prove conclusively to one and all in an Acme that:  I AM YOUNG, GODAMMIT, I AM NOT LIKE YOU!”

I steered my cart carefully through the Acme aisles, checking prices, picking out the products I needed, and gradually shifting over into the Rolling Stones. In Aisle 8, I paused to ask a youngish store employee some directions.

“Mustard? That’s Aisle 14, sir,” he said.

“Thank you very much,” I replied.

“And it’s on sale too,” he added. “That plus the extra discount for sen . . .”

OMG, shut up! I hustled myself and rickety cart out of hearing range fast as I could. Did he not hear what I was humming?  Maybe I needed not to hum, but to actually sing the lyrics?

. . . but if you try some time, you just might find, you just might find. . .”

Well, what I just might find was myself in Aisle 14, looking for the mustard. But coming down the aisle in the opposite direction was a leathery-looking gent whose posture was such it practically bade you stick a saddle on him and ride him to the nearest glue factory.

I looked away. I sang louder. It didn’t matter.

“Hello, friend,” he greeted me cheerily. “Didja know folks like us get an extra five percent off here at Acme?”

Oh no! Did he view me as a new recruit? Did he intend to take me under his wing?

“You see,” he went on, “you take this coupon and you hand it in when you check out your groceries. See, it says right here. ‘Discount for sen. . . .'”

OMG, not again!  I did some wheelies and ran to the checkout counter fast as my wobbly cart would take me. Now I segued back into the Dead, giving forth almost as if I were in concert:

“Drivin’ that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones…”

The checkout guy, about 25, eyed me suspiciously as he began to total up my items.

“That’s $87.58, sir,” he said.

“Did you give me The. . .umm . . .Discount-That-Must-Not-Be-Named?”

“Oh, sure, don’t worry, sir. I put the senior citizen discount right in.”

He had said it!  Damn, he had said it!

It hurt bad.

“Don’t you want to ask me something?” I said to him. “Verify something? Assure yourself of something?”

“No, you’re good, sir.”

“But shouldn’t you card me? Make sure I’m the right age to get TheDiscount-That-Must-Not-Be-Named?”

“That’s hardly necessary, sir.”

“Card me, you fool! Please card me!”

But it was too late. Now I was no longer singing “Casey Jones.” Nor was I singing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Sugar Magnolia,” or anything by the Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, or any other rock group of the Boomer era at all.

I was singing “Strangers in the night, exchanging glances, wondering in the night…”

The Discount-That-Must-Not-Be-Named had won.

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7 thoughts on “The Discount-That-Must-Not-Be-Named”

  1. Oh, you poor guy! As a fellow Boomer, I understand only too well.

    For years I successfully resisted joining one of the local sen… er places for people of maturity to meet, take classes, get a cheap lunch, etc. I have my literary career to blame for the fact that I have now joined one of those places as a member.

    My age has nothing to do with it (she says). I am scheduled to do a reading/book signing there later this month, and while I was over there discussing that I noticed all the interesting looking freebies the place offered and decided I was stupid not to take advantage.

    I do bridle, though, at that (gulp) word that we both hate. The word “Boomer” has a much nicer sound. It sounds like people who can make a lot of noise and explode things and who still have a lot of life in them.

    1. I think we are two to three years away from most people in the culture, including advertising and PR folk, getting it that each generation should be called by their generational name. Boomers are Boomers at 20 and at 70. So are Gen Xers and millennials. The generational name tells you what the age is without smashing you in the face with it.

      Before the generational names were so prevalent, “senior” was a good term to replace “old,” “aged,” “decrepit,” “disgusting,” “people no one will have sex with,” etc. But it has outlived its usefulness and most Boomers hate it. (I do know a few who embrace it and think we are assholes for fighting it.)

      I think it’s best to bridle like you do. Also you might want to try bristling as well.

      1. The word “senior” brings to mind a white-haired, bent person who walks painfully with a cane or a walker, sits in a rocking chair, watches TV or gossips about the neighbors and waits to die. This person complains about everything, including anyone younger than he is.

        The word “Boomer” brings to mind the youngsters who kicked major ass back in the 60s and 70s. We’d still be kicking ass if we hadn’t mellowed so much over the years. Rocking chairs are not for us, though, and we aren’t just waiting to die.

        We can’t complain about younger generations, because we did some pretty outlandish things ourselves back when. It would be the pot calling the kettle black. 😉

  2. This is very funny. I especially like “if the eschew fits” and the decision against “a third sexually based metaphor.” Next time try singing, “Old man, take a look at your life.” Maybe that will help.

    1. Thanks, Bill. I always though Neil Young wrote that song for me, but after seeing him on television a couple of weeks ago, maybe he wrote it for himself. Remember, it’s a Boomer Discount from now on, never senior!

  3. I’ve been getting mail from AARP for three years. That is, the mail’s been coming to my house–it was clearly meant for someone else.

    1. Yeah, it was probably meant for me. Actually AARP is a much hipper organization that it was years ago; they always try to highlight celebrities who are still pretty cool who are over 50. However that’s harder and harder to appreciate when you’re over 60!

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