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I-Team Goes Undercover To Test Military Discount Promises

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Mireya Villarreal
A native Texan, Mireya was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley....
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 I-TEAM) - It’s not uncommon to see retail stores now-a-days, big and small, honor our active military and veterans for their service by offering them a discount. But after a viewer reached out to the CBS 11 I-Team, worried some of these stores weren’t living up to their end of the bargain, we sent a crew undercover to find out more.

The I-Team went undercover at thirteen stores around North Texas and ten of them gave us the military discount, no problems. But there were three stores where fine-print problems popped up, serving as a good example of what you need to know before asking for the discount.

We recruited three veterans to help us with this story. Billy Sexton, Navy veteran, David Young, Air Force veteran, and Wirt “Stoney” Jackson, an Army veteran, are are all current employees with CBS 11 that agreed to help. Their mission included visiting a total of thirteen different North Texas stores and restaurants that currently advertise some sort of military discount or might have in the recent past.

Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s offered up the discount on any items we purchased, promotional or regular priced, as long as we showed them some sort of military ID.

The one Billy Sexton used while shopping isn’t even valid anymore; but it was enough to get him the discount.

Undercover Interaction:
Billy Sexton: “Do you give a discount for former active duty?”
Lowe’s Clerk: “Yes we do.”
Billy Sexton: “Do you need to see my ID card?”
Lowe’s Clerk: “Yes, please.”

Under Armor and Bass Pro Shop also lived up to their promises, even thanking our veterans for their service.

Undercover Interaction:
Under Armor Clerk: “Yeah, we support you guys 100%.”
[Speaking to Wirt “Stoney” Jackson.]

Undercover Interaction:
David Young: “Do you still give the military discount?”
Bass Pro Shop Clerk: “Yes, sir. Absolutely. Thank you for serving.”
David Young: “Thank you.”

In all we had thirteen success stories that included:

· Home Depot (2 locations)
· Lowe’s
· Party City
· Bass Pro Shops
· Nike
· Pep Boys
· Payless Shoe Source
· Boston Market
· Under Armor

“It was nice to know that, you know, people or companies appreciated the sacrifice that veterans made to serve their country; to go out and put their lives on the line for their country,” Jackson told us.

But during our shopping trips, our undercover crew ran into some fine print problems at three stores.

Undercover Interaction:

Billy Sexton: “I’m former military. Do you guys give discounts for veterans?”
Foot Locker Clerk: “Yes, sir.”

The employees had every intention of giving us a discount; however, because we bought items that were on special, two packages of socks at the price of one (2-for-1), the military discount didn’t apply. This kind of policy isn’t unheard of at some stores and prevents double-dipping.

We also stopped by a Chick-fil-A, where a manager explained that their particular store didn’t participate in the military discount program. At Chick-fil-A there’s no corporate policy requiring each store to give a military discount. Instead, the decision is left up to the individual restaurant owners. Some choose to give a discount, others don’t, and the amounts may vary.

“The person that waited on us, I don’t think knew the policy, but he immediately got a manager,” David Young remembered. “And she explained and told us a couple of stores that did offer the discount. They were the ones closer to the Navy base in Fort Worth. And that made sense. They were very cordial about it.”

O’Reilly Auto Parts was one of the last stores we visited. Initially, the employee helping us seems unsure of how the discount works.

Undercover Interaction:
Wirt “Stoney” Jackson: “Hey, I heard y’all give military discounts.”
O’Reilly Clerk: “Yea, we can give it a try and see if it does anything on this.”

While our crew is in the store and near the register, it looks like the employee types something discount-related into the computer. But when he rings us up there seems to be no discount applied.

Undercover Interaction:
O’Reilly Clerk: “It can vary on parts. Maybe like on belts you might get a bigger discount than you do on a starter or alternator.”
Wirt “Stoney” Jackson: “Oh, so, it’s not like a certain percentage?”
O’Reilly Clerk: “No. No, not a certain percentage.”

The clerk suggests visiting O’Reilly’s corporate website for more information. But before visiting any of these locations, we made sure to research all of the companies’ history with military discounts. On O’Reilly’s website they clearly say they give military discounts. But they don’t say how much or on which products.

“Based upon those responses, I’m saying to myself, well you’re the employer. You know, you work here, you should know these types of things,” Jackson said.

CBS 11 I-Team Reporter Mireya Villarreal spoke with an O’Reilly Auto Parts corporate spokesperson, Mark Merz, who tried to clarify their discount program. Turns out, the company does offer a discount. But they don’t offer a discount on every product line; and it can literally vary from one brand to the next. The company tells us it will base its discounts on profit. If an item has a larger profit margin, a veteran would likely get a bigger discount. But if that margin is small, or doesn’t exist at all, then they might not get anything.

Undercover Interaction:
Wirt “Stoney” Jackson: “Wow. So, it’s more like a guessing game?”
O’Reilly Clerk: [Shrugs and makes funny face.] “It’s a computer thing I guess.”

Jeanette Kopko with the Dallas Better Business Bureau weighed in on our story.

“It is absolutely essential that they make sure they are following the terms of their discount offer,” Kopko noted.

Kopko says using the word “discount” is a powerful way to get people in the door, but it also comes with some big responsibilities.

“It should be communicated to all their employees so if someone asks for it, they’re seeking that discount, they have no problem getting it or they understand what the limitations and conditions are,” Kopko added.

So, bottom line, if you think you’re entitled to a military discount, ask for it. But be advised the policy might not be offered at all stores and, if it is, it could be just on full price items.

O’Reilly Auto Parts apologized and said they do plan to retrain the employees at that Dallas store on how the discount works. But they wanted to clarify, even though the worker helping us wasn’t clear on the discount and neither was our receipt, we did receive a small discount on a bottle of Tuff Stuff where we paid $4.27. The discount was 5% which equaled out to $.22. However, that same product is now on sale for $3.99.

A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A also wanted to let customers know they’ll be hosting a Military Appreciation Night on May 21, 2014 and all their DFW-based stores will be participating.

The table below lists more than 150 companies that offer military discounts:

COMPANY REQUIREMENTS DISCOUNT
24 Hour Fitness Military ID Pay No Initiation Fee
1st in Flowers Use code USMilitary 15% off for Military & Families
ACE Rent A Car Military ID 15% off
AC Lens Military ID 10% off any transaction
Alamo Car Rental Military or Govt ID Amount of discount not listed /  Use Code
Alfred Angelo Military ID 15% off Bridal Gown
American Airlines Cargo Military ID, Discharge Papers, Tan Uniform Services Dept ID 50% off published rates for shipping pets
American Car Craft Code HERO-20 20% off order
American Family Insurance If had insurance lapse, insurance given as if had continuous coverage
Amtrak Valid active-duty ID card 10% off train fares
Anna’s Linens Call Customer Service for online purchase or Military ID in store 10% off entire purchase
Antique Jewelry Mall Proof of active or reserve duty 5% discount and free shipping
Applebee’s Show proof by Military ID, provide photograph or wear uniform Free entrée on Veterans Day
Armed Forces Eyewear Up to 50% off retail
Armed Forces Vacation Club Vacations for military families of $349 per week
A Story Before Bed Free recording to parents in US Military
AT&T Wireless DD Form 214 or Veteran’s ID 15% discount on qualified monthly wireless plans
Audi USA US Military serving overseas or Department of Defense ID card holder 100% price protection, 100% money-back guarantee, and special military pricing
AXO Sheer ID verification Special discounted prices
AVIS Free Collision, No Additional or Underage Driver Fees, Free Unlimited Mileage, Competitive Rate
Bass Pro Shops Military ID 10% discount at checkout
Beaches by Sandals Military ID or discharge certificate 10% off current promotions
Berklee Online Approved tuition assistance voucher 20% discount
Best Bully Sticks Military email address 15% discount with promo code
Best Buy’s Geek Squad 50% off In-Home Technology Consultation and 50% off Remote Desktop Support
Best Western Military ID or work orders Low discount hotel rates
Blade Buddy Enter code at checkout 25% discount
Blinds Chalet Military email address Discount on blinds, shades and shutters
Brides Across America Military ID or deployment papers Pre Register for free Wedding Dresses in event city near you
Build A Sign
Get free banner or jumbo card for troops returning home
Budget Rent A Car Military ID 25% off car rentals for Veterans Advantage members
California Southern University 10% tuition discount for military service members including spouses and children in certain online degree programs
Chevys Fresh Mex Military ID or in uniform 20% discount
Choice Hotels Military ID Competitive Govt Rates
Chrysler Overseas Military Personnel exclusive rebates and affordable financing
Clipper Vacations Military ID Special rates
Costco Wholesale Sheer ID verification Join as a new member and receive over $50 in savings
Cube Smart Military ID 20% off storage
DELL Military email address 10% off select PC’s
Delta Vacations Military email address Save $50 to $200 on vacation package; discounted flights; bonus mileage points
DOLLAR Rent A Car Veterans Advantage members 5% discount plus fee waivers for additional driver
Door to Door Storage Military Relocation discounts
Dream Stone Discount Code USTROOPS Discount on all orders
Earth Fare Supermarket 10% discount on food
eders.com Register for membership Free yearly membership and 4-45% savings
Fandango Military ID Participating theaters
Ford Overseas Military Members receive great deals to lease or purchase Ford and Lincoln vehicles
Geico Insurance Emergency Deployment Discounts and insurance discounts to members of certain Military related organizations
General Motors Discounts on eligible vehicles combined with current incentives
Gift Express CODE: USA 20% savings on minimum purchase of $39.95
Gold’s Gym Current Military pay stub 20% off dues at Gold’s Gym
Great Wolf Lodge Military ID 10% discount
Greyhound Military ID 10% discount off walk-up fares; travel for a maximum fare of $259 round trip anywhere
Guide to Military Travel.com Discounts on selected travel destinations
Harley Davidson Military Advantage Program Exclusive motorcycle buying program for military deployed oversees
Helzberg Diamonds Verifiable active military 10% discount
Hertz Car Rental Discounted rates and unlimited mileage
Hewlett Packard Sign up for program Up to 10% off computers
Hickory Farms Free shipping to APO/FPO addresses Military Gifts
Homewood Mountain Resort Valid Common Access Card Free non-holiday lift tickets
Howard Johnson Proper ID at check-in Offers rates within the allowable per diem
Hypnosis.org Call to register Military interested in a career in hypnosis receive 20% off certification course
Infiniti Provide proof of service Exclusive, pre-set new vehicle pricing
Jelly Bean Quilts Contact for details Special rates on memory quilts
Jellystone Park Camp Resorts Military ID 10% – 15% off campsites depending on location
JJ’s House Link to military discounts for wedding dresses and accessories
Kaplan University Military Education Benefits
Keystone School Active duty Military ID 10% off tuition
Kinder Care Learning Centers Reduced tuition rates
Foot Locker Veterans Advantage members 20% off purchase
La Quinta Inn & Suites Gov’t ID Special Rates
Larson Jewelers Military email address or ID 5% discount
LegoLand California Military Credentials 10% off one-day admission
LegoLand Florida Military ID Free Admission plus additional family member discounts
Lone Star Steakhouse 20% discount every Monday; 10% off every other day
Lowe’s Military ID 10% discount
Man Crates Military ID 10% discount
Marriott Valid Military form Per diem rates
Massage Envy Join Massage Envy to receive $60 yearly discount
Meineke Discount on select services; search store for details
Microsoft Office 365 Savings of 30%
Military One Source Tax Service
Online tax filing service at no cost
Modern Furniture for Home Military ID 10% discount
Moissanite Bridal Military email address 5% discount on engagement rings
Motel 6 Military ID 10% discount
National Car Rental Military ID Discounted rates
National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Military ID Entrance to most state and federal parks
Navy Federal Credit Union 1/4% APR for select loans
Dr. Michael Pasquale Aloha Plastic Surgery 5% discount for military and spouses
Nickelodeon Suites Resort Military ID 15% off accommodations; 10% off food & drinks
Nike Military ID 10% off at Nike Stores
Nissan Provide proof of service Exclusive Vehicle Savings
Norwegian Cruise Line Military ID 10% savings
Oakley Military email address Discount available through website after registration
Olan Mills Free 8×10 with $3.99 traditional portrait sheets
Old Navy Military ID Military Monday receive 10% off purchase
Operation: Love United Free professional photography sessions
O’Reilly Auto Parts Military ID Discount in store
Outback Steakhouse Identification 10% discount
Overstock.com Verification through Troop ID Free Club O membership to 5% rewards & free shipping
Pacific Science Center Valid ID Discounted admission rates
Payless Shoe Source Military ID 10% off entire purchase
Park Ride Fly USA Military or Veterans ID Discount Airport Parking
Penske Truck Rental Military ID Book rental only for 10% off and additional 10% off when truck is picked up
Pep Boys Military or Veterans ID 10% discount every Tues, Wed and Thurs
PODS Discounted storage rates
Portrait Innovations 10% savings on all purchases
ProFlowers Up to 20% savings
Pro Fox Racing Military Discount Form 10% discount
Red Roof Inn Discounted Room Rates
Regent University Apply for Military Discount Discounted Tuition Rate
Royal Caribbean International Special Rates on Selected Sailings
Saint Joseph’s University Military ID Tuition Discount
Sally Beauty Supply Military ID Membership Fee Waived
Sam’s Club Military ID Receive $15 gift card after joining or renewing Sam’s Club membership
Sandals Resorts Military ID 10% savings
Scorpyd Crossbow Call to verify 10% discount
Scion Active duty Military ID $500 rebate
Shari’s Berries Verify Military status 25% discount
Sea World Parks & Entertainment Military ID Complimentary Admission
Ship Any Car Discounts for car transport
Shoney’s Restaurants Must be in uniform 15% off
Showcase Cinemas Active Service ID $7 for general admission and $5 for matinee and children
Sitter City Free Membership to help find sitter for family
Since1910.com 5% discount for engagement rings
Snowshoe Mountain Resort Military ID 50% off midweek and value season lift tickets
Smith & Wesson Copy of Leave & Earnings Statement Up to $100 rebate on selected firearms
Survival Optics Sunglasses Coupon Code 25% off Sunglasses
Sport Clips Haircuts Military ID Special Pricing on services
Stanton Home 3% discount on any new home and discounts on additional services
Starwood Hotels Provide appropriate ID Special rates
Target Portrait Studios Military ID Coupon to receive 50% off portrait collections, one free 8×10 and free sitting fees
Thrifty.com Car Rental Discounts
Tough Mudder Troop ID Verification $10 rebate off registration price
Toyota Verifiable proof of military status $500 rebate toward any new Toyota vehicle
Trident University Tuition Discount
Tutor.com Free online tutoring
Under Armour Troop ID Verification 10% discount for veterans and service members
United States Post Office Military Care Kit
Veterans Advantage Enroll Provides access to discounts
Veterans Tickets Foundation Enroll Provides event tickets to veterans
Verizon Wireless Military Email address; ID card; paystub Discount on monthly plans
Victory Motors Discount on Victory Models
Volkswagen Volkswagen Credit offers unique incentives
Volvo Vehicle offers
Wedding Rings Depot Military ID 10% discount
White Flash Diamonds Military ID 1% discount
Wilsons Leather Military ID 10% discount
Yankee Candle Military ID 10% discount
YMCA Contact Military OneSource or Military ID Free and discounted memberships
Zoara Engaging Diamonds & Jewelry Military email 5% discount
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