For two years now, I have been eligible for senior discounts at fine dining establishments.
And for two years now, I have yet to take advantage of a single one. I just can’t do it.
No doubt it’s silly … why not enjoy that sweet 10 percent discount that some places offer when you get the chance? I mean, living to age 55 should count for something, right?
And when you consider the fact that young people are now snacking on detergent pods, you realize fewer and fewer people will ever make it to that age.
Still, there’s something unsettling about a restaurant staff that throws you into the “senior” category. Because once workers find out you’re 55 or older, they start calling you “sweetheart” and “honey” and immediately tell you where the restrooms are located.
My date of birth is 1960, but I’m still counting on my expiration date being many, many years away. And while there might be a certain expectation of how 55-year olds are supposed to look, act and eat, I refuse to live down to them.
Yet there are seniors who happily take advantage of their discount. And many cheerfully order from a “senior menu.”
Next time you get a chance, take a peek at what’s available for us old folk.
It’s not nearly as good as the regular menu stuff, and it comes in small portions.
If it’s the day before you’re 55th birthday, you’re encouraged to go the whole meat-and-three route, plus dessert.
But then the next day – because you grew up in an ancient world – you order a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup because, apparently, that’s what 55-year olds are supposed to eat.
There is even one restaurant, which shall remain nameless, that actually offers discounts to those of us 50-years old and over.
You have to order from the children’s menu – I kid you not.
There’s nothing the wife and I enjoy more than going to a restaurant and eating processed chicken nuggets in the shape of clowns with a side of mac and cheese and a juice box.
Why not just put us in high chairs and throw a jar of Gerber at us?
Sure, the crayons and coloring book are a nice touch, but I still have a hearty appetite.
And that’s another thing about this smaller portion nonsense. When you go to bed at age 54 and wake up at age 55, does your stomach shrink overnight?
Do you tastes magically change?
No … they most certainly do not.
Look, I don’t mean to sound like an ass. It’s always good to save money and restaurants don’t have to offer discounts of any kind, so the fact that they do is a nice gesture.
They’re simply trying to throw a bone to the “Matlock” and “Murder She Wrote” crowd.
But sometimes niceness can be misplaced, and “senior menus” oftentimes perpetuate a stereotype.
I am acutely aware that there are 55-year olds who wear polyester pants up to their teats and long for the good old days when phones were plugged into walls and the coolest cat on television was Arthur Fonzarelli.
And if you are that person and you want to order the oatmeal with fruit and have the manager burp you when you’re done, great.
Enjoy your meal and be sure to leave a quarter for a tip.
There are many of us, however, who may be chronologically challenged but still want to look, act and eat like the cools kids.
So if you’re in the marketing business and work for a restaurant chain, keep this in mind. Perhaps at your next meeting you might consider making the senior menu less about age and more about tasty options.
Keep the coloring books, though.
I’m almost to the point where I can stay inside the lines.