Friday, October 29, 2010

Don't Rush Me!

I use Quicken, a computerized personal bookkeeping program for anyone who doesn't know, to keep track of the family finances. And the other day as I was entering in a receipt from the grocery store, where my wife and I had bought all of two candy bars, I noticed something I had not been aware of when we made the purchase.

A discount. It was there, as a separate line item, right on the receipt. For a moment I couldn't figure it out, and then it dawned on me. It had been a Tuesday. And on Tuesday the store gives a Senior Discount.

A Senior Discount. Do you hear what I'm saying? I said a Senior Discount! A discount for seniors. That means, in this particular store, people who have reached the age of 55. That's not me.

So, okay, I'm getting close, but I'm not there yet.

What's funny is that I might not have gotten the discount had I not been there with my wife. Karen is a little younger than I am, but she looks a lot younger, and I think it makes me look older by comparison. Not that I'm complaining.

And of course, it depends on the age of the cashier as well. If the cashier is a contemporary, he or she is less likely to make me out to be older than I am. But the youngsters, teen to twenty-something, nearly always peg my age above the speed limit. And I don't even have that much gray hair yet.

I'm also less likely to get the discount if my kids are with me. Maybe it's because although I am technically old enough to be a grandfather to either of my youngest boys, it's quite obvious that I'm not Grandpa. I'm definitely Dad. And so I lose the discount. Not that I'm complaining.

I am complaining, however, about being sent mail by AARP. That's the American Association of Retired Persons. Retired persons. I'm not thinking about retiring, I'm trying to start a new career!

So what do I do about this? If asked about the discount I'll say no. If given the discount without being asked, I'll say nothing. And the AARP mailers?

Ripped up and thrown in the trash before I even leave the post office.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Scam Spam. Damn!

Anybody who is out there on the Web for any length of time gets a lot of junk email. But lately, perhaps because of the faltering economy (to put it mildly) I've noticed a lot of messages in my email box that are obvious con games. Not very good ones, and certainly nothing on the scale of what the big financial companies have been doing to us.

But if they did manage to hook me they would make a pretty good chunk of change. Most of them are of the "you have unclaimed money" variety. A cashier's check, or lottery winnings, or some other riches await you if you'll just contact the sender and, oh, put up a little "good faith" cash, or "shipping and handling charges."

Hey, what's a few hundred weighed against a couple million? Where's my checkbook?

After all, most of these people say they are from some kind of bank or another. And we all trust bankers.

Don't we?