Monthly Archives: May 2010

Is AARP Just Another Way To Siphon Money From Seniors?

By the time you reached the ‘golden years’ you have probably managed to alienate enough friends, family, and government employees to make the rest of your life really lonely. Who fills that empty place in your heart? The AARP (American Association of Retired People)

Somehow, they found out when you turn 50, the most emotionally vulnerable time of your life and open to any suggestion that somebody really wants and cares for you. Then begins a long train of continued membership letters until a year after you die, just to make sure you’re not faking it to avoid their marketing strategy. The amount of postage they’ve spent on me could have paid for a lifetime membership. Every month I get something.

They want $16 a year for a membership or two years for $39.95. With the membership comes a magazine and ‘membership privileges.’ The magazine is filled with all sorts of silver-headed people who had successful careers on Wall Street investing retirement funds of the previous generation or retired models doing their last photo shoot before dropping dead. They’re just a reminder of what we should look like if we hadn’t invested our money on Wall Street. I strongly suspicion they are all models in their 30’s and just had a rough life.

That magazine does not really scratch the surface of what real retirement is like. It’s kind of the Vogue and GQ of the geriatric set.

Membership Privileges – 10% discount, BIG WHOOP

In my life time I’ve belonged to enough organizations and clubs with 10% discounts for all members that if legitimate Holiday Inn would be paying me to stay their. By the time you have reached AARP age you can smell a scam before you step in it and have to scrap it from your shoe.

AAA (American Automobile Association) offers discounts also. This is how a typical conversation occurs when I check into a motel and I suspect it is not too much different with AARP:
 
To the desk clerk I say, “Oh, I almost forget, I have triple ‘A?'” You might as well say, ‘I had a triple by-pass.’ They usually reply, “Oh you have to inform us of discounts when you make a reservation.” That’s happened about a half dozen times. Now I tell them from the start I have triple ‘A.’ They reply, “Our rooms already come with a discount.”

You are not going to win. Just take everything in the room that’s not nailed down.

Come on folks, if you can’t wheedle a 10% discount out of someone, you’re not trying or you’re dead. Everybody gets a 10% discount for just breathing.

Look Out For Slick Sleazy Slimy Salesmen?

Every family has a story of an Aunt Millie or Uncle Henry. They purchased a burial plot on Baffin Island, Canada, an accidental life insurance policy that only pays for scuba accidents off the Barrier Reef on months ending in ‘h,’ insulated windows that will pay for themselves by the time the next ice age roles around, and a supplemental heath care plan for pill cups used during hospital stays lasting more than six months.

Is the AARP just another form of the sleazy supplemental health care plan salesman? Nearly everybody offers discounts to seniors anyway.

‘Senior discount’ is misleading when it comes to insurance. Insurance is based on numbers. Actuaries and administrators must figure a way to make a profit. It is a science of money in and money out and enough must stay with the insurance company to stay in business and pay the bills. It is predicated on the expected life expectancy of the people that age when the policy is purchased. You can’t go to the back of the store and buy last year’s model or a ‘scratch and dent’ policy. Normally a retired person can shop around and find better deals on insurance than offered by AARP.

My last blog stated everything ends up being political. Aha! Could that be it! AARP is nothing more than a powerful political lobbying machine dolling out nearly $28 million for lobbyists last year. That would buy a lot of Metamucil and Depends.

What Is AARP To A Denny’s Waitress?

They imply that somehow if you have an AARP card just flash like a badge and you will receive first class treatment.
 
Who the heck knows what AARP is anyway? Not a 19-year-old college freshman waitress at Denny’s.

The 19-year-old waitress hands you your check. You ask for the AARP discount.   “AARP? Oh you mean Aarp. I got their latest CD and have you seen their awesome video? My boyfriend, Spike, and me saw them last month in Teaneck. It’s their ‘Rusty Nail in the Brain Revival Final Comeback Tour.’ I got an Aarp tat on my booty. I’d show it but, the manager has been on me lately for smoking weed on breaks. Come on it’s my break. But anyway I dig Aarp. If you’re an Aarp fan I’ll turn the other way and you can just walk out.”

That’s what I call a real AARP discount.

AARP Board Of Directors Needs Some Dirt Under Their Fingernails.

The AARP Board of Directors looks like a well-meaning group. Their bios read like any board of directors of similar organizations. I’m certain they have rich and rewarding lives, but none of them look like any retired people I know and as far as I’m concerned they are over qualified.

There is not one person on the board that can really represent a retired carpenter, department store cashier, auto worker, mechanic, or waitress. They are people who have surrounded and enriched their lives in the world of academia. Their life experiences are based on theory, discussion, focus groups, social engineering, and community action – people who come up with great ideas, but are never in one place long enough to see them through and quantify the real results. Each experience in their lives is nothing more than something to add to a bio or resume.

The closest members of that board will come to experiencing what most retired people feel in their ‘golden years’ is when they have to sell their vacation condo in Florida to catch that good deal in Baja.

I have now managed not only to alianate friends, family, and government employees, but now the AARP. Little in life remains for me to do.

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“Why Doesn’t The Government Step In And Do Something!”

Why does everything eventually become a political issue? Everything! You cannot discuss a single topic that does not have some sort of supposed political or government solution. How often have you had an intense conversation on any given problem before someone says, “Why doesn’t the government step in and do something?”

That type of thinking comes from a human foible: We always want someone else (a high power or entity) to fix a problem. We personally don’t do anything or change unless forced to do so. We know it is unsafe to speed in a school zone, but few will slow down unless there is a sign, flashing lights, or a patrol car nearby. We expect government ‘to step in and do something.’

It’s good that they regulate measures and standards so that a gram of coke in Miami weighs the same as a gram of coke in LA. Just think how corrupt corruption would be without government corruption.

Must everything be regulated?

Does The Happy Meal Need Regulation?

The other day I bought my granddaughter a Happy Meal. She requested a Mermaid Barbie. That’s a mermaid with two floating devices. When she opened the package, her five-year-old squeaky voice informed me immediately that she already had that one. How was I to know there was more than one Mermaid Barbie?

Soon she may be going really ballistic when she finds out the ‘government has stepped in and done something.’

NBC’s news anchor, Brian Williams, reported an item with all the seriousness of a terrorist bombing in Baghdad. Perhaps to my granddaughter it will be that serious. Speculation is that if Happy Meals exceed a certain calorie and sodium content level toys will no longer be offered as a gift or an inducement to purchase. Now try to explain that one to a screeching five-year-old cutie.

I recall someone telling me that a few years back on Sesame Street a child ask one of the adults why they didn’t have more books in school. The adult said the President spent too much money on the military. What do you say to my little granddaughter? ‘The President decided you were too fat and will have high blood pressure at an early age. But grandpa I’m so skinny my pants keep falling to my ankles.’

How Big Business Looks At Health Care

On the other hand (there is always another hand), private enterprises have an interest in our health care also. The company I worked for sent its big shots to our local facility. They explained to us mere minions the fiscal problems the corporation faced and why it was necessary to hold cost down, especially health care.

The head of human resources spoke for 10 minutes (he was riveting). His topic was raising health care costs and the need to bring them under control. Then he said something quite astonishing, “The problem is that our retirees are living too long.” I was sitting next to our CEO. I looked at him in disbelief. He looked at me the same way. I leaned over and whispered, “We got to figure out a way to shorten their lives. Let’s kill ’em.”

It becomes obvious when one is close to retirement the companies that they have worked for all their lives, has little interest in keeping them going.

Who Is Sitting On Your Death Panel?

Now with the government vested in health care, it has a vital interest in keeping young people healthy and older people dead.

Everybody over the age of fifty already has enough stored up toxins, preservatives, and all around bad stuff that there is very little help for you. You had your day of Cheetos, Twinkies, HoHos, Big Macs, Blummin’ Onions, Moon Pies, Camels, Mountain Dew, greasy burgers, monster shakes, Krispy Kreme donuts, deep fried potatoes, pickles and cheese sticks, and rode the high cholesterol gravy train all the way to the clogged artery hall of fame. You are beyond redeeming, but the children can be saved (How compassionate and forward thinking). If dug up 250 years from now we will be either perfectly preserved or a two hundred pound blob of congealed fryer oil.

The time may come when only customers over the age of fifty can order a Happy Meal. We’ll have to sneak them out to the car for our grandchildren. They’ll be served at nursing homes to speed up the inevitable. Instead of a toy there will be a package of Fixadent. Every ‘death panel’ will have a Ronald McDonald sitting on it.

Proof Of Government Conspiracy Against Geezers.

There is already plenty of proof that the government is in on a conspiracy to rid the world of geezers. Remember the school zones with the crossing guards, the reduced speed limit signs, the police car posted nearby, and the warning sign that you are entering a school zone. When is the last time you went into a retirement village, and seen a reduced speed limit sign, a police car, or a sign depicting two doddering old fools steadying themselves with canes silhouetted in black on a yellow background? Those places are so dangerous they don’t even allow kids.

Some day there will be the cry, “Old geezers are using up all the Social Security. Why doesn’t the government step in and do something?” For once, they’ll do nothing.

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