Friday, May 29, 2015

You talkin' to me?!

OK.  I’m thinking some sensitivity training is in order.

You know what I mean – that sort of interminable, eye-rolling in-service whereby here-to-fore know-it-alls learn that they don’t know so much after all.  What used to be OK, is now taboo.  What was once funny ain’t funny no more.

I’m talking about all you non-boomers.  Yeah, you.  All you “yes ma’am”-ers and “can I help you to the car?” people who think you’re immune to the calendar and not subject to the clock. 

What?  Do I sound defensive?  Well too, too bad!  Too bad I say!

It appears you must listen to me, not only because, yes, I am OLDER than you are, but also because you are outnumbered by me and my geriatric friends.  And…we have all the money!  Ha!

Turns out, according to the Wall Street Journal, in an article titled, “How to Market to an Aging Boomer: Flattery, Subterfuge and Euphemism,” some forward-thinking mercenary types have already begun the process of age-ifying themselves and their businesses.  And they’ve done it on the down low.

That’s right.  “Companies are making typefaces larger, lowering store shelves to make them more accessible and avoiding yellows and blues in packaging—two colors that don’t appear as sharply distinct to older eyes

And here’s the kicker:  They’re doing so surreptitiously!

Hahahaha!  I love it!  They’re afraid of offending us!  We’ve got ‘em on the run.

The visual of this phenomenon is classic:  An army of “older adults,” led by Madge, or Clint Eastwood, or Statler & Waldorf (those crabby old-men Muppets who hate everything), or wait!  I know!  Led by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards!  Oh!  My God!

Keith with his corpse-like countenance, cigarette dangling and Mick, gyrating in leather pants and a sequined jacket with no shirt underneath.  Coming at ya, singing “I can’t get no satisfaction!”  No!  “Please allow me to introduce myself; I’m a man of wealth and fame!”  That would run the fear of the wrath of the moldering up the backs of those smart-alecky “younger adults.”

Here we come, a horde of “golden agers” with bulging wallets sweeping down onto the plains occupied by smug and unsuspecting adolescent types who are so flippin’ sure of everything.

The good news is, of course, that everybody likes larger typeface.  Guess what?  It’s pleasant to read without squinting. 

And how lovely that Sherwin-Williams and other retailers have quietly adapted to aging customers, even if they just did it for the money.  

CVS Caremark Corp. retrofitted its stores with carpeting to reduce slipping.  They lowered shelves from 72 inches to 60 inches and opted for more natural light in stores to improve visibility.  They eliminated curbs from store entrances and painted existing curbs yellow to heighten awareness.

Get this:  Some stores positioned magnifying glasses in aisles that carry products that use lots of fine print, like household cleaners, hair color and cold medicine.  Reading glasses are getting snazzier, too, now that the chain updates styles more frequently.

They snuck all that stuff right by us unsuspecting geezers!  It’s a good thing too, because we are a touchy bunch.  Don’t be reminding us that we’re getting on!

I say go ahead and flatter me.  Neither one of us is fooled.  I’m getting older and so are you.  But I appreciate the niceties of your telling me that 60 isn’t 60 and wrinkly is not really wrinkly at all.  These creases are not “age lines,” or “maturity tracks.”  They are “expression lines.”  Nice!

That’s right.  Bring on the euphemisms!  Tell me I’m healthy and active and full of life.  I know I am, and if you’re pretending, that’s OK.

Go ahead ADT; market your medical-alert system to us codgers as “Companion Services.”  Sweet.

Kimberly-Clark Corp.’s Depends, the “adult diapers” of the past, have had a makeover in new TV ads with smiling 50 year old actors: “Looks and fits like underwear.  Protects like nothing else.”  So much to look forward to!.

Don’t forget – 76 million boomers account for about half of total U.S. consumer spending.  With longer life expectancy than previous seniors, we are projected to spend an additional $50 billion by the end of the decade.

So talk nice to us.

It’s worth it, right?  For both of us.