We’ve entered, or maybe have been in for a while, a unique space for military families, spouses specifically. It’s the land of discounts, freebies and entitlements.
Yup, it’s time for us to talk about all the stuff we get for free. But more than that, it’s long overdue that our community talks about just how much this system of “for free” has impacted us overall.
Don’t You Offer a Military Discount or Freebie?
Now, look, I’m the very last person you’ll hear complain about military discounts, included benefits or support programs. I’ve happily used TriCare insurance and military treatment facilities for over a decade. Saving those few dollars on shoes or Disney tickets is kind of sweet, too. Plus, it’s a boon to our community that there are support programs, like EFMP or MFLC, available to us.
Because, let’s face it, no service member is in this life to get rich – quick or otherwise. There are sacrifices to be made, and we all make them regularly and willingly.
I appreciate all of the amazing benefits, like those discounts and that healthcare and all the support organizations, because I use them regularly. I’m not, 100% not ever, suggesting that we get rid of them. They’re needed, deeply truly needed, by our community.
But we’re not entitled to them. We don’t just get them because of our affiliation with the DoD.
We Need to Check Our Entitlement to More
So, in case you’re unaware, part of military spouse life in this generation is being pretty active on social media. Yup, I’m talking about Facebook and Twitter.
Inside of those social spaces, various groups have sprung up over the years. Some are for the military community generally and others are just for military spouses. There are even some that are branch, rank or base-specific. Guess what? I’m in a fair few of them.
And sometimes, what I’m seeing from our community bugs me.
“They don’t offer a military discount or upgrade”
Again, let me say, I get that the budget is tight and every little bit counts. But come on, guys, it’s getting a bit extreme.
Did you know, the other week, I saw a rant, a full-on diatribe, about how suchandsuch an airline wasn’t extending no-fee baggage for active military to the non-serving spouse? Yeah, no, that’s a thing I saw. And it’s not even the first time. Try more like the thousandth time for that particular rant.
There are folks who get all up in arms about stores or tourist attractions who have certain rules about applying military discounts. I’ve even seen small business owners, members of the military spouse community, told that they ought to be giving away their products or services for free.
Why? Great question.
“Because you’re one of us and you need to support your own.”
Yeah. Okay. I don’t think giving away homemade soaps or hours of tutoring pays the bills, Brenda.
What’s grinding my gears is the notion, clearly not held by every military member or spouse, that discounts and freebies should be happening no matter what. That the non-serving spouse should get that free baggage for a pleasure trip to Las Vegas just the same as the AD service member on orders. Or that a military spouse who tutors should be providing free services to her neighbors just because “military discount.”
When did we get so entitled? Why are we expecting to get discounts and freebies from everyone and everything?
And why, oh why, are we getting mad about instances when those things aren’t happening?
Are We Insulated & Entitled?
Everyone walks their own roads, fights their own battles and gets through the day the best they can. Honestly, I get that.
But what else am I to think when I see people throwing virtual (and sometimes in real life) fits about not getting their “deserved” discount? What am I to think when I read (and sometimes have to listen to in real life) rants about suchandsuch business should be ashamed because of their lack of or minimal military discount?
Really, stop and think about it.
We are entitled to nothing from no one. Not one single business has to offer military troops or families a discount. Just like they don’t need to offer one to first responders or teachers or accountants or doctors or lawyers or the general public.
But our families generally get a discount.
We get cheaper tickets to Disney parks in the US. Sometimes our bags get checked free or we can board first. Some places, like SeaWorld, even offer completely free admission a few times a year.
We get discounts, big and small, at many retailers and tourist attractions around the country. No other group of people, on the basis of their association with an employer, gets this privilege. Not one other group on this scale.
So when I see a military community member go off on yet another rant about being “denied” a military discount, I just shake my head. It reads as entitled to grouch about that sort of stuff. Can you see that, too?
Instead of putting on our grownup pants and just getting on with our day, discount or not, you’re grumbling about this “denial.” Oh, poor you, not getting another thing for free or cheaper.
Listen, you’re not entitled to get cheaper goods or upgraded services because of who pays you or who you married. Sure, it’s a great perk and one I fully admit to enjoying as just that – a pleasant and unexpected bonus, the cherry on top of a sundae.
I’m not due anything for free or cheaper. And neither are you.
I always ask if a business offers a military discount. If they say do offer a discount, then I consider myself lucky and I’m thankful for the discount. If they do not, then I just thank them and say “it doesn’t hurt to ask”. I am always amazed at the number of businesses that do offer it.
Jan Grob says
Many retailers are ceasing to offer discounts. Too many women have a ID for a child from her baby’s daddy. They flash it everywhere. For all purchases even those that are personal for the Momma. These women are not military, or military spouses. These women become very aggressive if denied their discount.
MR PAUL S SMITH says
I always ask for a discount, (military or AARP) if I get it I am thankful and express my appreciation. If no discount is offered so be it.
It’s not only civilian vendors who don’t offer disc but DoD neglects veteran survivors spouse I take any discount avail senior, aarp
Lynn Snyder says
I always ask if a particular store/venue offers milirary discount. If so, that’s great. If not, no big deal.
Thank You!!! Omgoodness someone who feels exactly like I do! My husband is now retired (2 yrs) but when we were active duty it drove me absolutely nuts watching spouses complain. Are you kidding me? I say enjoy and appreciate the discounts/freebies you’re given and stop being a brat when you’re told no. I never allowed our family to take part in freebies because I always felt there was someone who needed it more than we did. It irked me to no end to watch my neighbor who home schooled her children go and get free backpacks full of supplies. Aside from being plain greedy, they may have denied another family the opportunity to get one. We live hard lives, sometimes lonely lives and post housing is catty enough it’s time to grow up. I think we should be grateful for what we have and the kindness we are shown. It makes all of us look ungrateful when others are constantly sticking their hand out exclaiming, “you owe me”!
Donald Van Buren says
I frequently ask about military discounts and other discounts especially including AARP, AAA, and senior citizen. No harm to ask and no hard feelings if a discount is not offered.
Narda Young says
I do not even ask for a military discount. I figure there are a lot of families out there that need it more than I do. My late husband was the one who served, not me. I do shop at the Exchange and Commissary and that’s enough for me. I am thankful to be able to do that.
Thank you for posting this. Those who feel they are entitled to a discount when they shop really bother me. Whether they are AD, guard, or spouse, it’s NOT an entitlement we are owed.
Bruce Jensky says
I retired from the Air Force almost 20-years ago with over 30-years Active Duty so I’ve seen a lot of variations of military discounts over the last half-century. I’ve seen cases where some shop owners/businesses offered up the discount without being asked. When questioned, “Was it the haircut?”, they replied, “It was the way you carry yourself…” I’ve also had the occasion when I’ve asked if there was a Military Discount, and the proprietor or associate responded, “What else do you want? My taxes pay your salary…” Though, those occurrences have been rare.
Here are three Military Discounts (for better or worse) worth mentioning. Lowe’s Home Improvement offers the Military Discount on every item they carry in the store. Recently, their associates who also were veterans were issued Camo Vests in lieu of the traditional Red Vests. I made sure to say, “From one to another, Thank You for your Service!”
Home Depot also offers a Military Discount, but only on select items. There seems to be no rhyme or reason on which and they explained that it depends on the vendor. So if you buy nails from XYZ Co., you might get the discount, but if the nails are made from ABC Co., there may be no discount.
However, the Military Discount that really gets my goat is Toyota’s $750 Military Rebate. I recently bought a 2019 Toyota Corolla. The dealer made sure that I knew about the military discount and told me I would need to bring in my Retiree ID Card and my DD Form-214 to qualify. When it came down to closing the deal, I’m informed that the Rebate is offered through Toyota Finance and if I want the discount, I have to finance the car through Toyota. Therefore, even if you intended to pay cash or you have a more favorable interest rate from your bank or credit union, you have to do the math to see if the rebate is worth it…
Well, that’s my “two-cent” worth on the Military Discount and to all reading this, “From one to another, Thank You for your Service!”
Robert Garza says
I will ask if the offer a Military Discount. If they say yes, I produce my Military ID and thank them. If they say no, I smile and state, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Either way I am always prepared to pay the price for the purchase.
Robin L says
We are a voluntary military. Merchants are trying to say thanks. There’s always a 2% that ruin it for everyone. I’m a veteran and a military spouse. As a veteran, I have had my five point hiring preference taken away and there are no education benefits for some of us because they were changing those benefits. I won’t get the America the Beautiful pass for disabilities because, for me, I’m not at 50% or higher. I pay the 80.00 every year for the annual pass. It’s a sign of respecting what blessings we are offered. Many just don’t get that. If I come across a merchant that says no I say thanks anyways for the ways they do support the military. To those out there that respect the system, thanks to you for doing it. Nothing is ever truly free. Someone has paid for it.
Robert Hill says
I am not offended when military discounts aren’t offered by merchants ,I am however deeply appreciative when they are offered, I don’t feel that I am “owed” a discount.
I am just grateful when someone says “Thank You for your Service”, which is far more than I got returning from Vietnam.
Barbara H Nagy says
The only thing I dislike about a military discount is when you are told AFTER making a purchase and the clerk/owner does not re-ring the sale. I think twice about using their service again. I agree that the discounts are to be given to the man/woman who have served, but guess what I, as the spouse, also served. The “other” hangers on should not be getting a military discount.
In response to the fact that the commissary is losing money and therefore are opening up their services to Purple heart recipients (which I have no problem with), and to the caregivers of disabled veterans. I have a problem with the caregivers also purchasing for their own families as well as the disabled vet. How will that be controlled? When that vet dies how will the special ID card be retrieved?
Ken Brown says
I always ask about Military or Senior discounts. If they offer one or both, that’s great. But if not, I thank them saying “I ask because if I do not ask the question, the answer is always no”. Give the business a smile and a thank you, you’d be surprised to what they might throw in for you later on.
I believe its alright to ask do they offer military dscount . My husband did 32yrs and we pay for medical insurance and some meds. When he came in he was told it would be free for the rest of his life.. I dont get upset if they dont. I dont think the federal should tax his retirement.
Edwin Heide says
I ask at almost every store that I frequent. If the answer is yes, I say thank you and drive on. If the answer is no, I will also say thank you (just for looking) and again, drive on. In my area, many businesses will have some type of Military discount, whether it be a “freebie” or 5%-10% off of your entire order. Some restaurants will only give the discount to the member that actually served. These individuals have no incentive to give us a discount, they do this from a sense of gratitude for what we have done and I appreciate the response. I had served since Vietnam, retired in 2000 and was then recalled twice, again finally retiring in 2015 with over 30 years AD, so I have seen Soldiers, Sailors, Airpersons and Marines be spit upon and also have their hands shaken for what they have/had done. I have gone into shops where they had no discount and the manager would say, “You know, we really should start something like that”. Next time, they had the discount. Some owners leave it up to their managers whether they will offer the discount or not. I went to a pizzeria chain where one outlet had the discount and another, 2 miles away, wouldn’t offer it, So be polite, ask and if they don’t have it, say thank you and drive on.