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.