The Google

An internet storefront

Illustration by Dan Heywood /

My 89-year-old mother could hardly contain herself when she called to tell me that she had found a place where she could get all kinds of senior discounts. When I asked where, she said, “The Google,” as if it were a storefront located between Macy’s and Publix.

It was time to settle into the recliner, because I knew I would not be getting off this call any time soon.

My mom is a fierce shopper. Put a parachute on sale, and Mom’s all over it because it’s not about need, it’s about price. She’d buy a show pony to get a free harness. I’ve come to believe it’s a recessive gene, and I may have gotten it.

If I hear the phrase “as seen on TV,” I know I’m in trouble. I don’t need the Pocket Garden Hose that shrinks into a fanny pack, but I really want one. Who wouldn’t want the Bacon Bowl — wolf down some mac and cheese and clog an artery all at the same meal.

The Olde Brooklyn Lantern (which gave off as much light as white teeth) and the Chillow (guaranteed to put you to sleep by freezing your head) were just two of my really smart purchases.

Back to Google. My dad is in the background using his electric razor. I know that because I am on a speakerphone and it sounds like a B-52 is landing in their bedroom. The call went something like this:


Mom: I found this place on The Google.

Me: What place?

Mom: A place where I can find senior discounts on everything like Kohl’s and even Wendy’s.

Dad: (Yelling from the background) Like Kohl’s.

Mom: I said that, Lenny.

Me: That’s great, Mom.

Mom: Oh yeah, Belk (where she has purchased every Christmas present since 1983), the bagel place and everywhere.

Dad: (Yelling from the background) AND Kohl’s!

Mom: He can’t hear with that razor buzzing.

Me: What else, Mom?

Mom: Anything you can think of —food, places we eat and everywhere.

Dad: Even Wendy’s.

Mom: I said Wendy’s.

Dad: And Kohl’s.

Mom: I mean, we are going to save a fortune.

Me: That’s great, what’s the name of the site?

Mom: Jim Hene … Hami … something like that.

Me: Did you bookmark the site so you can find it again?


What follows is 10 seconds of silence. I hear the razor shut off, and I can just imagine the two of them looking at each other like two squirrels who just dropped a nut, confronting the harsh reality that the site may be lost forever.

When I was a kid, my brother fell out of the family car going about one mile per hour in a parking lot. I calmly told my parents that Greg had fallen out of the car. It didn’t register for a moment, but when it did, the look on my parents’ faces was unforgettable. That was the look that I imagined they were displaying as they pondered losing something slightly more important than Greg. After all, if you can’t get a discount bagel, is there really a reason to go on?

Not to worry, this is just the kind of challenge my parents live for.

“Find the car keys, Lenny. We’re going back to The Google.”   

Categories: Opinion