Monday, March 29, 2010

Is Anyone In Your Party Over 60?

If 60 is the new 40, put me down for being about 39. I’m a baby boomer, class of 1949, so the big six-oh has come and gone. But as much as 60 scared me when I was 30, this is nuthin’. Sure, I’ve slowed down a step or two; but I’m not ready for pasture just yet. In fact, there are a few small perks associated with my advancing age.

My kids and I have always loved the movies. When they were in middle school, the four of us would go as a family to a movie about every other Saturday night. As they matured, the movie-going was far less frequent, and now, it’s actually pretty rare. My son, by virtue of his work and UW schedule, still accompanies me to a Friday afternoon matinee about once a month. When there’s a film like “Hurt Locker”, you can count on us being some of the first customers.

A few Fridays ago, a rare confluence of events allowed both my son and daughter to accompany me to the opening of “Green Zone.” My son and I had planned it for months; but when my daughter suddenly had a day off, I was delighted when her car pulled up the driveway that she’d decided to spend a few hours of her day off with “the old man.”

We headed off to Marcus Point Cinema so we could see Matt Damon in all his glory on the Ultra-Screen.

As we joined the line at the ticket counter and our turn came, the three of us stepped forward. My son is 26; my daughter is 25. I said “three for Green Zone”. She looked at the three of us, then at me, and said “is anyone in your party 60 or over?”

I was impressed!

She did NOT say “are you 60 or over” – which would probably be how most young people would express it. Her question didn’t accuse me of being old (from her perspective). She just nicely asked if “anyone in our party” might qualify for a discount. They knock a couple bucks off the matinee ticket price for us old farts.

I admitted I was 60 or over, got my discount, and we proceeded down the hallway to enjoy the movie. I wanted to compliment the young lady on her approach to asking me about the 60-plus status, but I’ve learned – in my advancing age – that this sort of thing often embarrasses the kids.

For all I know, the wording of the question was formulated by some Marcus corporate flunky in Milwaukee. But the young lady delivered it flawlessly and with a friendly smile. That’s worth some points – and will keep me coming back.

Note to business owners: your front-line people, the ones who actually have direct contact with your customers, are a lot more important to you than you may think.

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