The new federal budget came down today and it includes raising the retirement age to 67. I don’t really care since I have no expectation of ever seeing the Old Age pension; it’s already “clawed back” on your tax return if you make anything more than poverty level. And in fact, raising the age makes me feel younger, with almost 10 years to go before being officially “old”.

On the other hand, it did get me thinking about how marketers must adapt to the aging population. This coincided with a visit to our local large-chain grocery store. There was a 95 year old lady checking out her groceries at 5:30 PM – peak rush hour for working stiffs trying to get some last minute fixings for dinner. Her granddaughter (around 50) was helping her (and not shy about telling us that her “Gran” was 95), but it still took forever.

There was another couple in line ahead of me with a full cart, and I had bought some sorbet, which was rapidly melting while I waited. The man ahead of me smiled and nodded with a wink. We smirked a little, not maliciously, but rather realizing that this was a spiritual exercise in patience and that we should all be so lucky to get to that age in good health.

It did get me thinking though, that retailers should consider having an 80+ line just like they have one for items less than 12. Staffed by well-trained, kindly people, it would serve a number of excellent purposes:

1. It would provide a wonderful social outlet for the elderly where they could talk to their hearts’ content, show pictures of the grand-kids, take their time making change, etc. Perhaps even have a cup of tea. This I’m sure would have great psychological and health benefits. And the others waiting in line wouldn’t mind; they have loads of time on their hands!

2. It would take the stress off harried workers trying to juggle lives filled with responsibilities: Kids to feed, homework to supervise, etc. It might even prevent some heart attacks.

3. There would be less unrecoverable melted sorbet in peoples’ freezers.

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