The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

March 23, 2013

Looking Back: Shopping just isn't the same when you get older

The Daily Star

---- — Many older folks are just tired out from the old age syndromes of aches and pains along with the dreary winter dull-drums.

I can truthfully attest to that statement since when I was chatting with one of my medical attendants, “So what are we, older folks still able to enjoy but to —? and she humorously cut me off to interject,”— eat at restaurants!” (We both had a few giggles over that because both of us could lose a few pounds.)

Enjoying a quiet, peaceful atmosphere to relax in and just to be waited on with courtesy and delicious well-cooked fare — all that is truly a delight. But there are the “buts.”

Seniors with fixed incomes generally look for special places with the special prices. 

Large portions can be halved, doggie-bagged, and brought home for another meal or a person can often order from the “child’s menu.” All at a savings.

“A penny saved is a penny earned,” as my grandmother used to say. Today there has to be a lot of penny-pinching with the economy the way it is.

Another old time saying is, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” That is so true for there have been times that my husband and I had to just leave an establishment — walk in, turn around and leave. Sad.

Personally speaking, I appreciate a well-kept, clean restaurant and a thoughtful waitress who caters to your every need. In fact not too long ago while I was happily munching on some gooey hot wing,s our perceptive waitress observed my coming problem and made sure we had extra napkins. Nice.

My mom always emphasized Emily Post’s acceptable etiquette: No licking your fingers!

That was years ago when buffalo wings most likely were unheard of, or not as popular.

So I smiled a thank you to the waitress, coyly looked around (no one is looking) and I licked each delicious, tasty finger — then turned to the napkins. Yummy.

When it comes to shopping, most of us seniors find that rather tedious. I used to enjoy and look forward to finding new products and meal suggestions. But today it’s the penny-pinching again. There are so many unhappy faces as I glance at the shoppers selecting products from the shelves, reading labels and comparing prices. There are very few smiling faces, if any.

My husband doesn’t enjoy shopping, like we gals do. In fact when I was younger and I used to, as the expression goes, “shop til you drop.” Clearance racks were never missed and each shop in a mall was perused. That’s just another old-age disappointment, for energy is at a minimum and the “necessaries” come first — the supermarket.

My shopping list is divided between my hubby and myself. He goes in one direction and I in another. We meet at a designated spot at a given time, check shopping cart items and then head for the check out. We plan to save time, energy and also the expense of those extra items if we shop when we’re hungry.

Sounds like a good solution for the task but, sorry to say, things never seem to be so simple. I sometimes forget my list or we didn’t write down the items we should have.

There are many intriguing new displays to investigate, a visit to the restroom, and always bumping into friends you haven’t seen in a long time. A glance at my watch and I have to hurry to find my “better half.” Thank goodness for the thoughtful store manager who has placed several benches for us oldsters to collapse on — there he is.

An interesting Hebrew law was “not to muzzle a bull while he is threshing.” (Deuteronomy 25:4)

So, simply put, a worker deserves sustenance. So —

Many times there is a bright spot in our market where there are tasty food samples — either a special display with hostess or a slice of your selection in the deli. I remember the samples of mini cupcakes at the bakery not too long ago. Now that was really a very clever way to encourage sales, for it worked, and of course, we “workers” (shoppers) had a delicious sample of what we just had to buy. Thank you.

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 80-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.