Military Discounts- guilty or not guilty?

Categories: Finance, Military, Opinion, Public Service Announcement

There are two types of Veterans:

  1. Those who ask for military discounts
  2. Those who would rather shave their eyebrows

Depending on the circumstance, I have been both. This can stem from embarrassment or guilt, and I know I am not the only one to feel this way. Let us explore a little of what my thought process behind this is.

Guilt

No matter how much you do in your career, sometimes it can make you feel inadequate. For me, this is always highlighted when I spot a Veteran-only parking spot at Wally-world. Immediately, I have a mental conflict. It goes something like ….

Fuck, I don’t want to have to park all the way in the back, although I could use the exercise. This was meant for me, but what if some old Korean War Vet sees me and calls me a bitch?! Or some dude who got his d**k blown off shows up after me?  Do I really deserve this spot?

Despite the truth of the matter being it’s just a parking spot, I’m driving to the back of the parking lot uttering profanity and doubting my worth. A little crazy sounding, but anxiety is a mother fucker.

More than just a thank you

I’d much rather have people thanking me for my service and offering military discounts over getting harrassed, like many Vets experienced after Vietnam. I want to utilize what’s being offered because I know it’s genuinely being given in gratitude. I don’t want to disrespect that generosity and I want them to know their customers are in fact, Veterans. If I don’t use what’s available, they will assume it is a wasted program.

People seem so eager to say thank you and shake my hand when they hear I’m a Veteran. Immediate recollections of a friend or uncle they had who served usually comes to light. Tying us together (unlike so much these days that tears our country apart).

I remember as a child thinking the WW2 through Vietnam Vets deserved anything the community gave them. Now that time has passed on, I find myself approaching the age those men where when I saw them as giants. I don’t feel like I belong in the same category though. This must be some mistake, right? Surely no one sees me like I saw those returning from Desert Storm…

I have to remember people don’t see the individual person compared to what we represent as a Veteran. We represent the best of the generation, and as representatives of a community, our lives and actions have more meaning. We have to temper this with humility, while acknowledging we felt called to serve our country.

Discounts

“Are you military?” The girl at the movies asks inquisitively. Feeling the beard on my face and the extra 20lbs I’ve picked up since getting my DD-214. I reply “Well… I was” with a laugh. “That still counts” she quips and discounts my ticket. I don’t want to argue, but still…I feel bad, like I’m taking a handout.

It doesn’t stop there either. If I’m buying a fuse at the car part store, I’m not going to ask for a discount on a $4 dollar transaction. I feel it would make me look cheap and the time it would take to call over the manager and punch in his code, I would have spent more than $0.40 of my life’s value waiting.  Not to mention making those standing behind me grow impatient and resent “freeloading” Veterans.

However, if I’m buying a $200 replacement part I would certainly ask, because why not after all? They are making enough money on this and I could use the $20 to buy lunch for my friend who is 51 years old and doesn’t leave his house much. So it’s hit or miss for me, but I know people who will ask for a military discount anywhere, for anything.

In conclusion

I can’t tell you how to feel about military discounts or how to act in the future. I hope that by sharing my inner dialogue I can act as the beginning to a conversation with friends, or even with just yourself. Do you always ask for a military discount? Let us know in the comment section.

Know what we're sayin fam?

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11 thoughts on “Military Discounts- guilty or not guilty?

  1. I hate to say it, I ask about 50% of the time for the discount. I usually know who offers it and who does not. I do the job because I believe in the cause and enjoy the job. It is what i do and who I am, I never did the job for the discount.

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  2. Right now I am building my own home…doing all the work myself. So..yes I use my Veteran’s discount at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot and I appreciate the fact that they offer it to Veterans.

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  3. First off, thank you fir your service. As far a military discounts go, I’m much like you, pass on the nickel and dime stuff, but on higher dollar transactions, I will take it. I even find myself shopping more at retailers that offer the discount, as a thank you to them for thinking of us. I also am the same way with the veteran parking stalls at my local Lowe’s. I’ve used it many times if I’m driving by and see that one is available. I also get judgy when I see some 20 something snag one of those spots. Did they really serve?
    You are right though, it is the constant mental game. My Grandfather served in WWII, and my dad served in Vietnam. I served during the Persian Gulf conflict. How do I compare with them. I guess the way to look at it is this. When we swore the oath. We took on the burden of knowing that we could find ourselves in the worst situations imaginable, up to and including death, and we did it willingly.

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  4. I’m that old Korea veteran you mention and after WWII and then Korea I don’t recall any Veteran’s discounts and being young and working 55 hrs. a week I didn’t see myself as anything special. Service was behind me and very few people or friends even knew I was a vet.and probably didn’t care. There wasn’t much flag waving during or after Korea we came home and went about our lives.
    So far as I recall the nations pride in its military didn’t surface until Desert Storm and grew after that to what it is today. The little perks for veterans such as you mention are a reflection of that pride and are offered I think to show that these businesses share that pride. And don’t overlook the simple fact that many of these businesses are owned or operated by veterans.
    So yea I accept veterans discounts, parking, etc.
    when available though I seldom ask if there is no
    notice of such when I check out. And you mention parking in a reserved for vets space, well when I walk by one I take pride in knowing it was available to them and look for a window sticker telling of their service. So ya I take the discount and puff a little when I say “give me the veteran’s
    discount” and you should too! It’s not a freebe you earned it! Your one of 3% that served!
    Semper Fi, Fox Co., 1st. Marines Korea 1951
    Ken Meier 🙏🇺🇸🇺🇸

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  5. I struggle with all of this as well. I also struggle with the thanks for your service quips. To me they feel false or empty.
    Often I get the feeling that it is said to make the speaker feel better not towards me. I often want to question the motives.
    Sometimes I tell people that they could work at a shelter or volunteer at the local VA hospital. That they could do something to help the homeless or veterans and they could feel better than just some hollow words.
    Another thing I can’t stand is how so many vets are back stabbing lying, thieves. They don’t understand they should continue to hold up the standards they were taught in the military. Honor is lacking for many.
    Semper Fi brother. Dan

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  6. This is on my mind all the time. What it comes down to is this. Although it’s important to be able to interact with civilians, it’s really just my brothers and sisters that I care how they see me. I don’t generally ask for a discount but if it’s offered I take it gratefully.

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  7. Deserving is not the conflict, freeloading is.
    I ask every time no matter the price, unless I forgot to ask. The value is inconsistent with the price paid as a soldier. So don’t feel bad or conflicted unless your a freeloading American who has never served, yet capable and able to provide service for the country and our it’s family. Quit feeling like a servant.

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  8. I always felt bad too but then I realized it’s an option and Why should I feel bad when I didn’t serve for any of this. I use it when I can to be a better steward of the money I have.

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  9. Except for “Welcome home”, I find it hard to take the “Thank you for your service”, Viet Nam hasn’t and never will leave me. I take the veteran discount at Home Depot and Lowes for big ticket stuff. I won’t go to the restaurants for free meals on Veterans Day, I don’t want to look like I’m being a grub. I don’t use the veteran parking spaces either, I’d rather leave it for a vet who needs it physically. Stay strong, we’re part of an elite club.

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  10. I will typically ask for the veteran discount if the store is publicly owned (think Home Depot). If it is a small business, I never mention it even if they advertise it.

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