Of Awkward Senior Interactions

Betty White

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Everyday at work I sell senior citizens movie tickets. Most whine about prices (that’s not just a senior thing, literally 75% of our customers mention the crazy cost), some are friendly, other’s are not. I’ve come across just about every stereotype and met several awesome people who did not fall prey to the clichés. But it never ceases to be uncomfortable when I’m asked, “How’d you know I was a senior?”

Awkward. So incredibly awkward. How am I supposed to react to that? Do they honestly expect a straight forward answer? I knew you were a senior because you have snow-white hair, deep wrinkles along the creases of your face, your voice is raspy from 50 years of smoking, and you’re wearing a knit sweater with sailboats on the front and shoulder pads. Obviously I can’t say that. Do they expect me to sell them an adult ticket when they look like Betty White? I’d feel awful charging people extra money for their tickets just because I was trying to avoid an undesirable situation.

This question never comes up with new seniors. Those that are barely 60 are excited for their status of senior and generally ask if I need to see their id. “Nah,” I say as I smile, “I trust ya.” I much prefer these interactions. Plus, I don’t know what the birth year has to be for someone to qualify, so I’d be staring blankly at their id anyways.

Here’s my general rule when someone asks for a senior ticket – if they look older than 50 and they say they’re a senior, I trust them. My family ages slow, so I understand that you don’t have to be hunched over a cane and full of wrinkles to be a senior citizen.

I’ve learned to simply smile awkwardly when asked, “How’d you know I was a senior?” until the customer has walked into the lobby. If I say anything, literally anything at all, I’ll sound like a über bitch who hates the elderly. Which is not true, I promise you, I do not hate senior citizens. But I do not like it when they ask me questions about them looking their age. Not one little bit.

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