57 cents almost ruined my year.
There I was standing in Koo Koo Roo, looking at the bill and realizing I was undercharged. I spent about twenty seconds deciding whether I should tell the teenager behind the counter and finally came to the conclusion that for 57 cents I could take the moral high ground.
However, when I informed him of his mistake he replied with a big, helpful, toothy grin that he had given me a senior discount. I don't know if he actually yelled this out but I felt that everybody in the place turned their heads simultaneously, even the guy in the men's room. The woman, who I was sure gave me a flirtatious look when I walked into the restaurant, was now snickering into her tomato salad.
The worst part was that I was afraid the grinning teenager may have been right. It's kind of nebulous as to when you're actually considered a senior and I didn't really know the cut-off. I thought I was under the wire, after all I am only fifty-two years old. Okay, I'm fifty-three, okay I'm fifty-four, but that's the last "okay" you'll get out of me. Okay, I'm fifty-five. But I don't feel like a senior or at least I didn't up till then.
Anyway, back to Koo Koo Roo (we old people tend to ramble), acting as casual as possible, I mumbled "thank you" and paid my bill. The cashier's grin defied all laws of nature and grew even wider. He reminded me of The Joker played by Jack Nicholson - evil, sadistic, malignant.
Maybe it was the fact that I said "thank you" but I couldn't get the whole thing out of my mind. Maybe it's also the fact that I'm a comedy writer and was told privately a month ago by the executive producer of a TV show that he couldn't offer me a job because people above him wanted someone younger. The sad part is that I said "thank you" to him, too. I thanked him for his honesty but really I was afraid to make waves.
Anyway, for whatever reason, I now went on this mad quest to get more info on senior discounts. I discovered there were no consistent guidelines. At Fantastic Sams one of the hair stylists told me you had to be sixty-two but they don't initiate the discount. That's because some of their patrons got very upset when they were offered it. That makes sense. You don't want to ask a man or a woman who just had their hair dyed if they want a senior discount.
I called Hamburger Hamlet and asked about senior discounts and the guy immediately started speaking louder to me. I guess he figured if I was a senior, I had to be hard of hearing. He sadly informed me there were no discounts.
The Daily Grill also doesn't have discounts but the manager proudly said, "People of the senior persuasion have learned to order one meal and split it. We don't charge for splitting." I guess he felt seniors eat less (he should go to lunch with my Aunt Gussy who considers blue cheese dressing a beverage).
I went to Carrow's in person and the cashier said they had a special senior's menu. She didn't know exactly how old you had to be to get the discount but she was sure I would qualify. She was being very nice but I had this urge to shove her into the salad bar. I was pretty sure I could squeeze her under the sneeze guard.
The Panda Express didn't give discounts. At the Subway and Century Theatres you have to be sixty-five while the Sizzler said you qualify at fifty-five.
A strange thing started to happen as I did this research on senior discounts (no, I didn't start looking like Andy Rooney). I was getting annoyed at the places that didn't give them. We seniors need a break.
That's right, I'm a senior (at least according to The Sizzler) and I'm proud. I was so proud that I called up that executive producer who didn't give me a job because I was too old and told him to go to hell. I didn't identify myself but I still consider it a victory.
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