I served, so I could get FREE stuff.

Veterans day means different things to different people. Why it bothers me that people assume they should get FREE things on this day.

Let’s get this out of the way, before we get started. I am a Veteran. I proudly served in the U.S. Navy in the early 80’s. My father was retired military and my brothers, uncles and grandfathers were all military veterans. My family and I strongly believe in military service. This little article is not about that. This little piece is focused on the assumption of some, that they are entitled to FREE STUFF because they served this great nation with military service.

One of the things that used to really bother me when I was working in the retail world, was people who would get upset, even angry if they were not given a Military discount. Yesterday while out shopping, this happened. A lady was at the check out and she was cursing and yelling at the young clerk. The employee had told the customer that she was not entitled to the veterans discount, that the discount only applied to veterans. The lady, red faced and very emotional stated the following; “No, I did not serve, my father did. He has passed, but I always use his discount.” ….. Say What???

The clerk, who was visibly upset, gave in and let her have the 10% discount on her $30 purchase.

It took everything I had to not jump in and help this employee. I wanted so badly to ask the lady why she felt she was entitled to the discount. Why she felt that her fathers sacrifice entitled her to a discount? I wanted to ask her, if she thought that her father joined the military so that some day he would get 10% off at a store or a free IHOP breakfast.

I have had to speak with former military veterans who are upset or disturbed by the fact that we did not offer a military discount year round. I always let them know that I had also served and I would thank them for their service. Some would then tell me that I should understand and that “we” are entitled to the discount. I would inform the customer that I personally did not join the military for the “FREE STUFF or DISCOUNTS” this would usually take care of the situation. It just blew my mind that some individuals thought that they were owed things, because at one time they signed a commitment to serve in the military.

I love the fact that business owners and companies offer these types of things to honor veterans. It is the right thing to do. Honoring veterans is a great thing and I wished we had done it as a nation earlier in our history. I am old enough to remember how returning veterans were treated during the Vietnam era.

In closing, I think that most veterans appreciate the gesture of discounts and free meals, but I also think that most do not feel entitled to these rewards. I know that at 17 years old, sitting at the recruiting station or as a 19 year old taking in the sunset on the helicopter deck of a submarine tender, FREE STUFF and DISCOUNTS were not on my mind.

So to the lady mentioned above. You should be ashamed of yourself! ( I know your father would not be happy)

A special shout out to all Veterans. Thank you for protecting this great nation! Thank you for SERVICE.

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