Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

Time has been bought, answers have been delayed and responses have been hedged as “squirmers” have opted for the “Texas two-step” instead of crystal clear comebacks to probing inquiries.


Dr. Don Newbury

I’ve “rambled” a bit–again. Let’s shoot for “bullseye centeredness” to sharpen focus on this new year, one when we’re bound to grow weary of ads, speeches and even mere conversations referencing “2020 vision.”

Admission of this probability can rescue us from an ever-growing delay tactic mentioned in paragraph one. We can better use “2020 references” to replace a hackneyed expression used by many of us far too often: AT THE END OF THE DAY.

Politicians have worn this expression to the nub, but I’ll stick up for ‘em to this extent. Utterance of these six words buys for them a few more seconds to think of answers that will be “Ok” for a time, at least until the next news cycle, fake or real.

At a time in history when transparency is touted by commoners and royalty alike, we have the chance to think about potential usage during 2020’s sudden crossroads, dead ends and detours.

If we need a few seconds to process whatever is happening “rat now,” let us instead think, utter, sing or hum these words: AT THE START OF THE DAY. You can bet politicians will pounce on this probability, including, of course, their ownership of “2020 vision.”

Ditties may even include ATSOTD. Even though the letters fall woefully short of spelling a word, beginning letters of “at the start of the day” have a nice “ring,” deserving abbreviation status despite having no hope of achieving acronym status.

Please allow me to employ directness. Crystal clarity is the goal.

It may be that “2020 vision” will help, and this year can be a starting place for businesses across the land to answer. Their “hemming” may be exceeded only by their “hawing,” and “throat-clearing” may muffle their responses. Count on some, however, to trot out “at-the-start-of-the-day” time-buying before truly answering questions that harbor in the minds of tens of millions of older Americans: DO YOU OR DO YOU NOT OFFER SENIOR DISCOUNTS?

Many stores’ “front-liners” have historically been wishy-washy on such queries. “Front-liners” are the folks “in the trenches,” often servers in restaurants, or other retail places, who hear the “discount question” daily.

Frequently, employees are “new here, and need to ask the manager.”

Some of us are borderline embarrassed when in such situations.

What, really, do we want?

We want CLARITY. Firms offering such discounts should display signs proudly, on the wall, menu or front window.

Seniors (as well as military veterans) shouldn’t have to ask.

I realize that for some franchise businesses, such discounts are not corporate decisions. They are often left to the discretion of local franchises.

A couple of examples are McDonald’s and Chili’s.

Locally, our Chili’s offers senior discounts, but the courtesy is not mentioned on menus or elsewhere. Regrettably, one must ask, however awkward it may seem.

At the onset of a new year, one in which we’ll have “2020 vision” “at the start of the day,” here’s a corporate call to business giants, as well as “mom-and-pop” places across the land. Decide what your policy on senior (and/or veteran) discounts is going to be, then stick to it. Remember, in the hustle and bustle of things when taxes are due and Christmas bills arrive in the mail sooner than expected, we need some GOOD NEWS, expressed proudly and clearly.

Yep, life was simpler back when. At Lum and Abner’s “Jot’Em Down Store,” frankness reigned. Here’s the sign they posted: “If you need it, we got it; if we ain’t got it, you don’t need it.”

Recalling a favorite old hymn, I hope that during 2020, most will be well with your soul.

Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” round about. Comments or inquiries to: Ph.: 817-447-3872. Web: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury. 

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