A while back, I was shopping with my mother at a small chain clothing store. After picking out a couple of things on clearance, we went to pay for our clothing and Mom whipped out her wallet.
“Oh!” the sales associate said as Mom reached for a debit card, “is that a military ID I see?”
Mom confirmed she was a military dependent and the sales associate replied, “Well, it’s your lucky day! We offer a ten percent discount for showing a military ID.”
We were absolutely shocked as there were no signs on the store windows or at the register that mentioned any kind of discount whatsoever. The sales associate said that the owner did not like to advertise the discount, but that they were instructed to go ahead and offer it if asked or if they spotted a military ID in someone’s wallet while they paid. While she said she didn’t agree with keeping it a “secret” discount, she was happy to offer it to us anyway.
Another time, my family visited a children’s museum in another town. I’d checked admission prices online before we left and we were expecting to pay about $30 in admission for all of us. When we got to the ticket window, the lady manning the window looked up and asked, “Any military ID? Triple A membership?”
Surprised, I pulled out my Triple A card and we received $5 off our admission. I asked the lady when they had started offering a Triple A discount, as I had just been on their website and did not see any mention of a discount anywhere. She said something similar to me—it wasn’t an “advertised” discount, but they offered it anyway when asked, or if the person at the admission counter decided to tell people about it.
Since those incidents I’ve gotten into the habit of asking about “secret,” unadvertised discounts whenever we visit somewhere. My husband is a grad student and often “student ID” discounts apply to him, too. Sometimes, my inquiry is responded to with, “We don’t have a discount but we did mail out coupons for a few bucks off to our members last week. I’ll go ahead and apply the coupon for you anyway as a favor!” Every few bucks saved adds up over time. Don’t be shy about asking for discounts—you may be pleasantly surprised the next time you go out!
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