One of the many joys (yes: that’s /s/) of aging is the attitude of Americans toward the elderly. This ranges from the nasty to the predatory: overall, Americans regard their older compatriots as idiots, negligible fools, and nuisances. One aspect of this is said to be that merchandisers all across the board target the elderly (when they notice us at all) for scams and rip-offs.
It’s true: they can and do pull the wool over your eyes more often and more easily, because older people tend to be more trusting. And if experience serves…that opinion appears to be true. I do not remember vendors, back in the day of my Misspent Youth, trying to cheat me, people trying to feed me ridiculous and obvious lines of bull, salespeople trying to overcharge me as a routine matter…and on and on.
The business with the junk refrigerator is a case in point. Nothing more has been heard from AMEX about that fiasco — one of the several “fun” chores on the slate for today is to call American Express and rattle their cage about that. Meanwhile, I need to buy another refrigerator — one that doesn’t keep me awake all night rattling and roaring…which will set me back another $1400.
It useta be… that when I wanted something, I would do the research on-line and in consumer publications; then go into a store and say I want this and this and this, and I do NOT want that and that and that. The sales person would appear to understand plain English, and s/he would show me this and this and this and NOT show me that and that and that.
Now that I’m Old, though…EXACTLY the opposite happens. Sales people seem to assume that I’m naive, stupid, and just plug-incompetent.
When, O dear merchandiser, when you insist on hustling me to buy something that is not what I asked for, and when I can see that what I asked for is right there on the floor, then I perceive that you’re trying to rip me off. (Yes: upselling me when I know exactly what I want IS a form of rip-off, thankyouverymuch.) And, my friends…that perception happens more and more often with every passing month of age. How can I count the ways that I’m sick & tired of nitwits trying to rip me off when they decide that because I’m old, I must be stupid?
At this point…seriously: I would be willing to pay a fee to someone who would go to the vendors in town to do the shopping I need to have done — I would PAY YOU to order a refrigerator for me. I would PAY YOU to buy me a new microwave. I would PAY YOU to take my car to the dealership, get it serviced, and repel all offers of unnecessary work. I would PAY YOU to get the plumbing fixed. Because even if I paid you for those things, I would save money…and also escape a great deal of aggravation and frustration.
3 thoughts on “Wanted: Indiana Jones for Senior Consumers”
Some of those things a virtual assistant could do for you. Maybe all of them.
But how would you find one that you could trust and afford.
I think the fact that you made the mistake of being born female exacerbates the problem. ;o)
Seriously, maybe you could bring along your son or a male friend/acquaintance for “moral support” during these kinds of tasks? I think I’m going to have to do that when I am forced to buy another car. Don’t get me started on THAT subject!
Yeah…as usual, there’s somethin’ to that! To be “Old” is bad enough. But to be “Old Female”…holeee shee-ut!
Problem is, my son is busy. He doesn’t have time to hold his Mutther’s hand every time she buys this doodad or that appliance. Nor, quite frankly, does he have the patience: you and I will remember our frolics with our own parents to understand what THAT means.
There’s money to be made in this predicament. Seriously: I would cheerfully hire someone to front for me, in any number of situations: big-ticket purchases, real estate predicaments, automobile servicing and repair, on and on and endlessly on.
In the car purchasing department, you can hire people who hire out as “car brokers”: they do exactly what we’re talking about. They use their maleness and paleness to go out and find you a car of the type you need in the price range you need and with the accoutrements you need. Negotiate the purchase. Then call you and tell you “go over to [Fill-In-The-Blank Dealership) and pick up and pick up your new car.”
I’ve done this a couple of times, with great success.
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