Thank you, Home Depot, for giving me a 10% veteran’s discount
By Dave Duffy
Issue #154 • July/August, 2015
Several months ago when I mentioned on Backwoods Home Magazine’s Facebook and Twitter pages the 10% discount some stores give to veterans, I was amazed by how many people did not know about it. So I thought I’d better talk about it in this space, just in case some of you veterans out there still don’t know you can save a bundle of cash as a reward for your service to our country. And no, the government has nothing to do with this. This is strictly private enterprise discovering that being nice to veterans is good for business.
I first heard about the discount at Home Depot because, as I slow down in my 70s, I do all sorts of jobs such as building chicken coops and decks, erecting hundreds of yards of field fencing, and helping daughter Annie remodel her old farmhouse, so I buy a lot of stuff and am always on the lookout for the best price. I just asked at Home Depot one day if they gave veterans a discount, and they said yes, so long as I was either on active duty or had a service connected disability.
I was neither, but I am persistent, figuring my three years serving my country deserved something. The U.S. Army, despite all its grand promises when I enlisted in 1966, never gave me anything but an honorable discharge. Besides, I knew the squeaky wheel often got the grease.
One day, after presenting a Home Depot checkout clerk with a copy of my DD214, the standard U.S. military discharge form, the manager, who could see I was yet again buying a bundle of materials, decided to give me the 10% veteran’s discount. Coincidentally, my Oregon driver’s license came up for renewal and I brought in my DD214 to them and asked if my new driver’s license could identify the fact I was a military veteran. They put it right on my new license.
Now, I just present my license to Home Depot and a variety of other hardware and farm supply stores around my area who followed Home Depot’s lead. If a store doesn’t offer the discount, I tell them I can get it at Home Depot and often a manager will relent and give it to me. It just so happens, though, that my local Home Depot has good prices and an easy return policy for unused merchandise, so I tend to buy most of my materials there.
When I say this is mainly the private sector providing this service to veterans, I mean it. My daughter, Annie, whose husband spent eight years in the Marine Corps and is now in the Army National Guard, still has not been able to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and get her military ID card. So I often buy her building and garden supplies for her so she can take advantage of my veteran’s discount. Military and other government bureaucracies are big on promises but usually lack an efficient and effective method of delivering even basic services. My local DMV, however, did come through by identifying me as a veteran on my new license, so government agencies at the state level are sometimes not worthless. You should check with your local motor vehicle department to see if they’ll put “VETERAN” on your license.
If you’d like to find a list of private businesses that offer veterans a 10% discount, and often discounts all the way up to FREE for select items and events, go online to www.military.com/discounts. The discounts sometimes vary from week to week, and from store branch to store branch. For example, many Home Depots offer the veteran’s discount only on certain military-related holidays (This is actually their standard policy), while others, like the one in my town, offer it all year-long.
Some retailers offer even bigger discounts, all the way up to the PGA Tour giving veterans two free tickets to select PGA tournaments featuring most of the big names in golf. And, of course, various airlines, car rental companies, and motels also offer discounts. Some of the more recognizable names are: Southwest Airlines, Lufthansa, L.L. Bean, Under Armour, Bass Pro Shops, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Michaels, Payless, Nike, Old Navy, Adidas, Cabela’s, Jockey, JCPenney, Harley-Davidson, and All American Clothing.
Not listed at the www.military.com/discounts website are your many local stores which offer the 10% discount just to remain competitive with the larger chains in their market. All you have to do is ask the manager of your nearby store, and many are more than happy to thank a veteran in this way.
Veterans have done a lot for the country, even though many, like me, never served a day in combat. Accept the thanks of America’s free enterprise system by claiming some of these discounts the next time you shop.