Nothing is as depressing as turning 50 and getting a letter from AARP in the mail wanting you to join their association. Yes, I said it, AARP. You know, the American Association of Retired People who focus on the elderly. They apparently have the list of everyone’s birthday and send out membership letters like clockwork within days of your 50th. The campaign must work because the association has about 37 million members. But when I got my letter, it depressed me like nothing else. I didn’t feel old and was kind of insulted I got the letter. A dagger to the heart. The first vestige that I will now be viewed in a different category. The stark reality that I was now at the upper end of the 25-54 advertising demographic. Soon, no one would care or think I was relevant from an advertising and marketing standpoint.
However, after a few promotional offers came in the mail, it was time I began really looking into what the membership offered. I joined. Joining AARP does have benefits to people over 50. Discounts on hotels, insurance and restaurants. However, the discounts aren’t really any better than if you get a AAA discount or a credit card discount on hotels and restaurants. The insurance is good. My mother has it and likes it. AARP also advocates for the elderly, which can be a good thing because they can be the collective voice for the elderly.
Well, after a couple of years, I let my membership lapse because it didn’t seem like the AARP discounts were any better than other discounts I already had. AARP keeps trying to get me back, though. I get monthly letters from them wanting me to rejoin. The frequency by which the letters come are really bothersome. If AARP would spend its money offering deeper discounts and better membership benefits rather spending it on postage for monthly mailers, I may be enticed to re-join. Until then, the offers just go into the shredder.