By Mary Bach
Before I turned 55 years ago, a retail store cashier gave me their senior discount without my age. I took her assumption as an affront to my vanity. These days, I am miffed when I’m not offered a discount. Any active senior shopper should be aware of all the benefits available to them; they defray the real cost of inflation and globally rising prices.
AARP has been a leader in member discounts since its founding in 1958 but these discounts are now available for all seniors, affiliated or not, from ages 50 and older. Unlike most age-accrued benefits, seniors don’t get “carded” to prove they are qualified for a discount. Merchants do not generally require any ID except for those that offer discounts for being a member of a specific organization or group.
Senior discounts aren’t widely advertised except in demographically dense senior communities, yet many stores discount their purchases from five to 20 percent on a specific day of the week. Always ask the cashier when you check out. Discounts can be found across the board in all types of retail stores, automobile service locations, restaurants, hotels, pharmacies, movie theaters, museums, golf courses, supermarkets, transportation venues, in our national parks and more. Many merchants provide plastic membership cards; the savings will usually cover gratuity.
In my work as an independent consumer advocate, I generate lists of merchants who offer discounts. If you would like a copy of this comprehensive list, write to me at Mary Bach, Post Office Box 377, Murrysville, PA 15668. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. You can keep this handy list in your car or purse for easy reference when shopping or on a trip.
Remember that the pennies you save add up to dollars. At our age, we’ve earned a discount!
Mary Bach is chair of AARP’s Pennsylvania Consumer Issues Task Force. She can be reached at (724) 327-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org.