|1995 French TDY|
I'm thankful for the increase in community support as I haven't had that from "home" back in the day, but it really makes me wonder how much is true gratitude and how much is a marketing ploy.
Of all the offers I've seen I'm most impressed by two: Applebees and Great Clips. These are both places I patronize (I mean that in the good way). Applebees, or at least my local one, gives me a Veteran's discount every fricken day of the year. I'm often thanked for my service and not once has it felt forced or anything less than honest. The fact I'm not always thanked means, at least to me, this isn't a corporate mandate, but something straight from my server.
This means more to me than any discount or free yearly meal.
Great Clips is awesome that for some time leading up to Veteran's Day they'll give customers...you have to ask...a voucher for a Veteran to get a free haircut. IIRC the voucher is good for the rest of the year and doesn't have to be redeemed on Veteran's Day.
Now I'm not denigrating any other company's offers today, just highlighting two awesome ones that I feel are quite genuine. Now of course there is a flip-side to this and that are Veterans being assholes today to these companies, and their employees, that choose to honor us today. Like any group of individuals, once it gets large enough there are bound to be some dicks in the group....simple statistics. I'm also sure a good group of those don't even realize they are being douche-nozzles.
I like to switch up my ass-hat nomenclatures in the odd chance one of the "guilty" might recognize themselves.
First of all, don't go out of your way to grab up free shit just because it is being offered. I could go to Dennys, then IHOP, and then swing by Crispy Creme for a HUGE amount of breakfast and then gorge myself on Red Robin for lunch, followed up by Applebees. The numb-nuts who do this just send the servers "into the weeds", make life hard for everyone else there, and then inevitably stiff the server on the tip.
Check your shit dirt-bags....just because the meal was free, it doesn't mean you shouldn't tip your server. In fact be a little more forgiving, because you've packed the place like the other freeloaders, and tip a bit better than you would if you paid for the meal.
Now "freeloader" is a bit strong and I apologize, as opposed to re-writing that sentence, because only some Vets fit into that category. The guys who don't ever patronize an establishment until they get something for free....those guys are freeloaders. I don't care what sense of entitlement you have. Purple Heart, Bronze Star, POW....all shit in the past that doesn't excuse you being a freeloading prick now.
By all means, visit places you normally do and let them thank you in the way they feel appropriate. Don't be a patch-whore glory-hound looking to tactically acquire extra pogey bait because you can. Support the places that are willing to support you and leave it at that.