I have a wee bit of a rant I’d like to get off my chest, if you don’t mind.
What ever happened to the military discount? It has gone the way of the dodo bird, I’m afraid. It’s not that I am trying to be cheap, but I need to pinch pennies everywhere I can. There are some things that I buy that maybe I shouldn’t, but it’s been so long that I’ve been extravagant that I almost forget what it feels like.
Yes, I just flew to San Diego — but I managed to find an amazingly good deal on my plane tickets that I could not pass up, and I saved so much by being able to stay with Beanie, who is quite the gracious hostess. We’re flying to Tucson for Thanksgiving too, but that’s because my in-laws gave us two round-trip tickets, and we had a credit with Southwest that paid for Grace’s ticket. ME’s just going to have to suck up not having her own seat on the airplane (and yes, I am dreading this trip SO MUCH because of that).
Now we’re looking at having to get our van door replaced, and while Toyota has agreed to pay half of the repair bill, we’re hoping they can increase that because it’s still going to be a lot of money to get it fixed — right before Christmas to boot. So I’m a wee bit concerned about money right now.
Not that money is ever far from my mind. Sure, we have far fewer expenses than many people in our situation, but our paycheck is pretty minimal. That’s why I shop at the thrift store and the commissary, and why everything I buy is on sale or I have a coupon for it. I’ve also gotten to the point where if we go out to dinner, we’re either going somewhere where it’ll be cheap (like one of our local pizza joints where we can all eat for under $20), or I’ll have a certificate that I got from Restaurant.com, which has the added bonus of introducing new restaurants to me that otherwise I would never know about. We’ve also seriously cut down on how often we go out to eat. Where we used to go out a couple of times a week, now we’re lucky if we go out even once a week.
Good thing I like to cook.
A military discount would really help. I know there are a few stores that still have them. When we bought our washer and dryer eight years ago, we bought them from Lowe’s because they gave us 10% off. I used to get 20% off at one of the local mom-and-pop latte joints in Washington just for having a military ID — and they got far more business from me than otherwise because of it. But more often than not, when I ask if a place has a military discount, the cashier looks at me in confusion.
I realize that the economy is the the crapper at the moment, and that companies are pinching pennies everywhere they can. I just read a story today on how the season’s hottest toys will be hard to come by this Christmas, as the stores have ordered as little inventory as possible, so as not to be caught with a ton of unsold merchandise after the holiday season. So they’re keeping it close to the vest as well. But will it really send a company into bankruptcy to give the military a discount of some kind?
It used to be that things were given freely to our servicemen, whether it was a cup of coffee and a slice of pie, or a deal on a set of new tires. But now, you’re lucky if you can find someone to cut you a break — any break at all.
I did see a Navy officer in uniform receive a free upgrade to first class on my flight home from San Diego, and while I think that it’s right and proper, I wonder why it doesn’t happen more often. Kurt flies to Florida every few months on official Navy business, but he is prohibited from wearing his uniform on board the plane. Terrorists like to target our servicepeople in uniform, don’t you know. He’s never gotten a complimentary upgrade, let alone a free drink.
Notice, if you will, all the promotions going on for Veterans’ Day. Applebee’s brags that any veteran can receive a free meal, as long as he has proof of military service. But the menu from which the vet can choose is rather limited. He cannot have just anything on the menu; there are only six entrees from which to choose. If you have a specific diet you have to follow (those with celiac disease or a nut allergy), you’re screwed. There’s nothing for vegetarians either, as the sole salad option has chicken on it. Drinks are not included either. I understand that a restaurant has to limit an offer so as not to lose too much money, but why not limit it to any one entree on the menu plus a soft drink? Isn’t it enough that these men and women are willing to die for us that we can give them steak and shrimp as a thank-you?
At least Golden Corral gives veterans a completely free meal in November. Although it is Golden Corral food…
Look, I’m not looking for everything to be given to me for free. I’d just like a break on things once in a while. Is 10% from the largest of corporations (like Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Starbucks) really too much to ask? Funnily enough, it’s usually the small, mom-and-pop places, the ones least able to afford it, that are the ones offering military discounts. And it’s to those places that I prefer to go.