Just the other day I was discussing with my friend Mark about military discounts. He said that he has started asking every place that he visits if they have them and if they do not, his response is “Why don’t you?”
It’s a good question. Why do some businesses actively promote that they offer discounts to military personnel and others do not? It’s easy to say you support the troops but how many companies actually put it into practice? There are plenty of companies that do which include anything from computers, cars or other services.
My experience has been pretty good with the majority of the companies I have inquired about it. In fact I’ve found that I am more loyal to the companies who do provide it. The difference isn’t substantial (typically 10% which basically covers sales tax and some) but its the gesture that is appreciated. What seems to be the common response when I ask that question to a company that doesn’t offer it is “Wow…I don’t think we do but that’s a good question.” In fact that happened to me last night when I was visiting a local Barnes & Noble. I know that they offer a discount when you order online but was surprised that they didn’t in the store. Of course a lot of that could be a training issue with the staff but it still it amazes me how infrequently veterans do not request that. So when the nice guy behind the counter said he didn’t know but it was a good question. I told him to ask his manager about it.
So here I’ll happily list some of the companies that proudly do offer discounts to military members; I’ve personally had very good encounters with them all:
Some Very Patriotic Companies
Great clothing and their staff actually informed me of the discount when I was wearing a Navy shirt, they just asked if I had my ID so they could offer me the discount of 10%. Very classy.
They actively publicize their support of the armed forces and even extend discounts around the major holidays to not only current members of the military but retired veterans. They typically offer a 10% discount not to exceed $200.
A very customer service oriented organization. Very happy to help you with the setup to enable a military member to enjoy a discount as a thanks to their service. There’s is around 18%.
Another great cellular provider who has offered a military discount for a long time and is around 15%.
Dell offers great discounts on their hardware when ordered through their federal discount page. Discounts depend on the item.
Apple offers a great 17% discount on their hardware are also sold in the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES).
Macy’s offers a discount on the first Tuesday of every month. 15% if you use a Macy’s card or 10% if you use cash or another form of payment. *more details*
Dillard’s offer’s a military discount around the beginning of the month of December that’s around 20%.
Typically all that is required is to inquire if they offer a discount and to show your valid military ID. Very simple and much appreciated. Please continue to show your appreciation of their support of you by being a regular patron.
One surprising disappointment in a company I thought would be patriotic.
While many companies really are great about showing their support there are still plenty that don’t seem to have put any thought into it. The company I’m talking about is Google. For such a progressive, forward thinking and publicly traded company (GOOG), I assumed that they would. I’ve been interested in their Nexus One phone so I inquired with them about if they offer a military discount. I looked at their online support forum for information about it. Unfortunately it was not listed so I emailed them and received the automated message which pointed me back to the support pages. So I thought, ‘I’ll reach out via Twitter since I know they’ve got two accounts @google and @googlenexusone. Neither one replied back to me when I asked “If Google offers a military discount for the Nexus One. And if they do not, why don’t they?” I attempted another email to the folks through the support form and finally got a response back which just said that they ‘do not offer a military or any other promotional discounts’ without really explanation as to why not.
Not being one to give up easily and seeing this as a major oversight from both a public relations perspective as well as a an opportunity for Google to be a real supporter of the troops I decided to keep inquiring. I did a little research and decided the best person to bring it to the attention of is their Vice President of Public Policy and Communications, Rachel Whetstone. This time I went old school and wrote an actual paper letter and mailed it to her. Read it for yourself.(14KB/.PDF)
Sadly I haven’t received a response yet but I do intend to get an answer that at least isn’t automated.
I’m not saying that a company has to offer a discount to the military, but in my humble opinion, showing support should be more than just creating unique designs for the company logo because it’s Veterans’ Day.
Please feel free to comment and share your experiences both good and bad.