According to economists, older workers make-up more than 23 percent of the U.S. workforce and that number grows every year. It was only 13 percent in the year 2000.
We followed a worker who’s 80-years-old and happy as can be.
Richard Seaman, a The Compleat Kitchen employee greets a customer: “Good morning, can I help you with anything today?
Customer: “No I’m just looking.”
Richard Seaman: “Okay if you need some help please let us know.”
Customer: “What is this?”
Richard Seaman: “That is a travel kit.”
Richard Seaman moves at a quick clip through the gadget-filled aisles of The Compleat Kitchen in Kahala Mall.
Seaman said the “most popular item is probably can openers, everybody needs a can opener.”
He’s worked for The Compleat Kitchen for more than 15 years, after retiring as a manager for Fleming Foods then consulting. With unemployment so low, he works four or five days a week, five hours at a time.
Kathy Muneno asked: “Do you choose to work or do you have to work?”
Seaman said: “It’s both, with insurance rates for elderly and with Medicare now I do work to help pay for the insurance but I do enjoy it because I couldn’t stand staying at home.”
Muneno: “What do you enjoy about it?
Seaman: “Meeting people. Being out in the business world still keeps you young.”
His energy is in his genes he says, his grandmother lived to 101. She used to use “these.”
He showed another gadget – round pieces of glass and explained “these are watch spots, you put them in a pot and when the water boils they rattle they rattle louder than a timer.”
Richard Farrell, Store Manager said of Seaman that “he increases the morale for the store because he’s just friendly and outgoing and it shows in his work ethic that he enjoys working with customers and also the employees that are here.”
Seaman said: “I especially like Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Seaman explained: “Tuesday’s our senior day, we have ladies that come from Hawaii Kai and Star of the Sea, and they come in every Tuesday, they buy one little thing but they shop and they just enjoy being out too and Thursday is Kama’aina Thursday so we get a lot of the local people. So it’s fun.”
Farrell added: “And he knows his product knowledge so when people come into the mall, the store, looking for specific items, he knows where to find them and also how they work.”
Seaman started picking up item after item: “interesting item, looks like one thing but when you turn it over it’s a drinking fountain, that you attach.”
Then another: “self-cleaning garlic cleaner, peeler and crusher.”
And another: “and then we have cookie cutters, we have cookie cutters from bathing suits to palm trees, to pineapples.”
Richard bakes a lot, for his grandchildren and great grandchildren, and he cooks a lot, so he knows a lot to pass on to customers.
Then Seaman said: “and then if you don’t know the answer you can always go to siri.”
Muneno: “Even you go to siri?”
Seaman: “Yes I do. I learned how to do that. That’s about the only thing I know how to do on the telephone besides answer it.”