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Should Spouses use Military Discounts?

I remember the first time I heard of a military discount. “Are you military?” the little clerk folding clothes into my bag at the store asked. “Yes,” I said. “If you show me your ID I can give you our 10 percent military discount.”

Mind blown.  A discount? Just for being a military family member? Heck yes!

It never even dawned on me not to say “yes” to these wonderful treats. I quickly learned to start asking at stores if they had one. I figured it never hurts to ask. And that 8 or 10 percent off is just a little way that I knew businesses in America hadn’t forgotten that my husband was out there fighting for their right to sell stuff. Three cheers for capitalism.

It wasn’t until last year that I realized that some spouses not only aren’t comfortable with asking if a store has the discount, but they say “no thanks” when it is offered. They say the discount isn’t really for or about them – it’s for and about actual servicemembers.

I can see where they are coming from. Perhaps they think that even a discount may potentially give off a sense of entitlement – something I have no intention of communicating. Or, maybe they think “I didn’t serve – no need to thank me.”

And then there are the people far on the other side – those who love discounts so much that they wait until a discount and military freebie heavy day, like Veterans Day, and strike while the iron is hot. In honor of the day at least 18 chain restaurants offered free meals to anyone with a military ID, while many retail stores offered additional discounts. Everything from shoes to mattresses is discounted. Some people love these so much that they go, in my opinion, way overboard. I’ve even heard of people ordering the free food as takeout, hauling it home and freezing it for later.

In my personal opinion, using the discount as spouse that a store already offers (or politely asking if they have one – and, if so, taking advantage of it) does not cross a line. If the discount was only meant for the servicemember and not his dependents, they would not accept dependent IDs. Just like when someone finds out I’m a military spouse and says “thank you for your sacrifice,” I politely respond “you’re welcome” – the discounts are meant as a sign of thanks.

What do you think?

About Amy Bushatz

Amy is the managing editor of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is an Associate Editor. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on NPR and in the New York Times. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

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