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A question arose recently concerning businesses offering discounts to veterans. Should businesses offer, or better yet, should business owners feel obligated to offer a vet a discount on goods and services?
Let me say that I hold the highest respect for the men and women who served and are now serving in the armed forces of the United States.
I especially appreciate the service of Vietnam vets who weren't treated with the utmost respect either during the war or after it ended with the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.
While we stand and applaud today's armed forces personnel at various events, Vietnam vets were wrongly labeled as "baby killers" and even spat upon by war protesters.
My brother-in-law, who served in Vietnam in the mid-1960's, told me that when he arrived back in California after his tour of duty, to avoid the protesters, he removed his uniform and changed clothes in the men's restroom at the airport. And that's sad, because he volunteered to fight in this war and he deserved more than being disrespected by a bunch of radicals and hippies who opposed the war.
But back to the original question - should they or any other veteran be accorded a discount at businesses?
That answer should come from the business owner. Since this is America, a business owner can offer discounts to whomever he pleases, from vets to senior citizens to expectant mothers.
This past weekend, I saw a bank advertising a $10 gift card to students who opened a new account.
However, no one in this country deserves a discount, and that includes vets and senior citizens.
At certain businesses, I'm a senior citizen at the ripe old age of nearly 57 and I claim the discount if it's offered.
I figure that if McDonald's lets me buy a "senior" cup of coffee for less than $1, that's OK.
I hear seniors all the time asking if a certain establishment offers a senior discount.
If a person is a member of AARP, AAA, or any of a hundred more organizations that offer discounts, then that's wonderful - free enterprise at its best.
An entire culture of "couponing" has arisen to entice shoppers into stores to get a discount.
I tease a female friend by calling her a "coupon nazi" because she carries one of those huge three-ring binders into the grocery store that has about 25 pages where she stores her coupons.
I am not a fan of standing in line behind one of these couponers but I do respect their diligence in saving money, some as much as several hundred dollars a month or more.
But this craze to offer a discount to all shoppers isn't a new fad. It actually dates back to the late 1800s with the Sperry and Hutchinson Co. offering green stamps to customers.
As kids in the early 1960s, my brother and sister and I used to paste S & H Green Stamps in those little stamp books. Grocery stores and other retailers gave the green stamps based on the amount of money shopper's spent.
The stamps could then be redeemed for housewares and various items offered in a catalog.
Millions of housewives furnished kitchens with wares from these catalogs, saving them money.
Retailers will continue to offer discounts to whomever they wish.
And that's what makes America great, business owners running their businesses the way they want to.
God bless America, and God Bless our veterans.
Editor's note: Larry Rowell is a staff writer for The Casey County News in Liberty.