Author Topic: Is this frugal or cheap  (Read 4594 times)

slappy

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Is this frugal or cheap
« on: October 01, 2019, 11:44:16 AM »
Or maybe unethical?

Using a family members military discount at a local store for a large purchase? Both my parents and my brother are military, but I am not. Any of them would be willing to meet me at the store to make the purchase. Purchase is $450.

I feel weird about it. I feel like if I was a store owner, I would be annoyed that people would do that. Am I being silly?

use2betrix

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2019, 12:30:13 PM »
Interesting topic. I wouldn’t hesitate to use a friend or family members employee discount, student discount, etc.

For some reason, military discount slightly nags at me a bit more though..

Definitely interested to see what others have to say.

How much will you save?

slappy

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2019, 12:33:22 PM »
Interesting topic. I wouldn’t hesitate to use a friend or family members employee discount, student discount, etc.

For some reason, military discount slightly nags at me a bit more though..

Definitely interested to see what others have to say.

How much will you save?

$40

My husband's friend is also a vet and we were out with him this weekend and he offered to use his discount for me. It saved about $10, but he was already there and he offered. Something about asking someone to go out of their way to give me a discount that they earned with their sacrifice is what gets me.

terran

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2019, 12:44:48 PM »
Would it make you feel better if you gave the vet half your savings? Or spent it on them in some other way? Then it's an income opportunity for the vet, not just a savings fo you.

DadJokes

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2019, 12:49:43 PM »
I used to meet my father-in-law at Lowe's all the time to let him use my 10% military discount. It's probably unethical, but whatever. I don't think Lowe's cared that much.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2019, 12:56:49 PM »
Mom and Pop type store, I wouldn't use a discount I wasn't eligible for. Big chain store? Go for it!

slappy

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2019, 12:59:22 PM »
Mom and Pop type store, I wouldn't use a discount I wasn't eligible for. Big chain store? Go for it!

This was kind of my thought too. Not sure how to categorize this store. I don't think it's a mom and pop type place, but it's not a big chain either. It's a local store that sells equipment like chainsaws, etc.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2019, 01:04:18 PM »
Mom and Pop type store, I wouldn't use a discount I wasn't eligible for. Big chain store? Go for it!

This was kind of my thought too. Not sure how to categorize this store. I don't think it's a mom and pop type place, but it's not a big chain either. It's a local store that sells equipment like chainsaws, etc.

If it's owned by a local family, I personally wouldn't exploit their generosity. Not all those places are, though. Ask and see?

insufFIcientfunds

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2019, 01:05:52 PM »
feels a little like stolen valor to me.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2019, 01:41:29 PM »
I'm in an area that has a large military population and lots of options for military discounts. I'm not military but I have a lot of military friends. One of my friends used to buy groceries for me at the commissary and I would pay him back. I stopped doing it. It felt shady. I didn't earn that discount.

oldladystache

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2019, 03:25:09 PM »
Store owners offer that discount so people will shop at their store. They would rather have you buy there and they will still make a profit from you. Without the discount you might shop somewhere else.


six-car-habit

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2019, 04:07:09 PM »
feels a little like stolen valor to me.

 Seriously ?
 The OP isn't claiming they conquered IwoJima themselves.

 The amount of people currently in / retired from the american military who have actually been in a fire-fight / combat situation is a low %
.
 I live near several bases with thousands of military folks working on them, and i'd be completely surprised if even 10% of them were ever involved in charging an enemy position , or pulled a comrade out of a burning tank , getting shot at, or other dangerous war activity.
  I suppose our defintions of valor are different.

bacchi

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2019, 05:19:10 PM »
feels a little like stolen valor to me.

 Seriously ?
 The OP isn't claiming they conquered IwoJima themselves.

 The amount of people currently in / retired from the american military who have actually been in a fire-fight / combat situation is a low %
.
 I live near several bases with thousands of military folks working on them, and i'd be completely surprised if even 10% of them were ever involved in charging an enemy position , or pulled a comrade out of a burning tank , getting shot at, or other dangerous war activity.
  I suppose our defintions of valor are different.

Yep. The discount is "earned" by signing up for the military. You could be in the Army field band and still get the discount.

My brother lets me use his military discount at BigBox. He was in combat and neither of us feels guilty about "stealing" from service, valor, or CorporateChain.

Dicey

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2019, 07:24:43 PM »
If the veteran in question was an employee of the store and was utilizing their employee discount, that would be an easier call. What you're [theoretically] doing could cost them their job.

In this situation, the discount is not tied to current job performance, so I'd view this a lot more leniently. My best guess it that it would have to be 100% okay with the veteran in question to begin with. And if you do this, heck yes, be sure to do something nice for them in return. And don't take assume they will be willing to let you use their discount in the future.

And I'm sure this will add fuel to the fire, but it's easy to buy discount coupons for the big box stores on eBay. Just sayin'.

One more that should go down easier: If you have the specific store's affinity credit card, they send you offers all the time.

slappy

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2019, 08:46:37 AM »
To clarify a few things:

The vet in question is an immediate family member. Not sure if that changes peoples thoughts about doing something nice in return. Of course, I am happy to do so, as family tends to take care of each other. :)  It's not like I am using a vet strictly for the discount or something like that.

Also, this store is not a place that would otherwise offer coupons, specials etc. It's an equipment supply store. So the only option that I know of for a discount would be the veteran's discount. My mother is a Desert Storm vet and she is visiting us next week to help with childcare. She would love to run down to the store with us to get the discount. It wouldn't be inconveniencing her in any way.

Also, the other options are to borrow a chainsaw or to rent one, but my husband would much prefer to own his own. He is just that type of guy. Handy, fixing stuff around the house, etc.

DadJokes

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2019, 08:59:16 AM »
To clarify a few things:

The vet in question is an immediate family member. Not sure if that changes peoples thoughts about doing something nice in return. Of course, I am happy to do so, as family tends to take care of each other. :)  It's not like I am using a vet strictly for the discount or something like that.

Also, this store is not a place that would otherwise offer coupons, specials etc. It's an equipment supply store. So the only option that I know of for a discount would be the veteran's discount. My mother is a Desert Storm vet and she is visiting us next week to help with childcare. She would love to run down to the store with us to get the discount. It wouldn't be inconveniencing her in any way.

Also, the other options are to borrow a chainsaw or to rent one, but my husband would much prefer to own his own. He is just that type of guy. Handy, fixing stuff around the house, etc.

As a veteran who volunteers to let family members use my status, I see no problem with that portion.

To me, it all boils down to whether or not you think the store will hurt from losing that money. Lowe's or Home Depot would be a no-brainer. Mom & Pop shop? Probably unethical. Anything in-between? Only you are close enough to answer that. From what I've read in this thread, I say go for it.

Boofinator

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2019, 09:33:06 AM »
If they are willing to meet you at the store, I don't see any ethical lapse here. You aren't representing yourself as someone you aren't, and I don't think the rules specify that those items must be consumed by the person who uses the discount.

Mom and Pop type store, I wouldn't use a discount I wasn't eligible for. Big chain store? Go for it!

I disagree with this logic (that one should consider a decision ethical or not based on its number of employees). If a person doesn't like the big chain stores for whatever reason, they should feel free to not shop there. They should not, on the other hand, commit theft* by using a discount they aren't entitled to in order to not spend a few dollars on an item they probably don't need to begin with.

*Yes, even though it is only a few dollars here and there, I believe it constitutes theft. I used to also justify filling my water cup with soda as only costing this massive fast food chain a few cents, until I realized that the moral implications (that I was the type of person who would steal a freaking soda) were not worth the soda to begin with.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2019, 05:17:12 PM »
If they are willing to meet you at the store, I don't see any ethical lapse here. You aren't representing yourself as someone you aren't, and I don't think the rules specify that those items must be consumed by the person who uses the discount.

Mom and Pop type store, I wouldn't use a discount I wasn't eligible for. Big chain store? Go for it!

I disagree with this logic (that one should consider a decision ethical or not based on its number of employees). If a person doesn't like the big chain stores for whatever reason, they should feel free to not shop there. They should not, on the other hand, commit theft* by using a discount they aren't entitled to in order to not spend a few dollars on an item they probably don't need to begin with.

*Yes, even though it is only a few dollars here and there, I believe it constitutes theft. I used to also justify filling my water cup with soda as only costing this massive fast food chain a few cents, until I realized that the moral implications (that I was the type of person who would steal a freaking soda) were not worth the soda to begin with.

I guess we're different then. I wouldn't exploit the generosity of people who rely on a store for their livelihood, regardless of whether or not someone else met me there. But I don't give a crap about a huge chain store who sells you stuff they get cheaper by leaning on suppliers and sell you cheaper by underpaying staff. So their shareholders make a tiny percentage less that quarter. Screw them.

elliha

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2019, 03:52:10 AM »
I would not consistently use such discounts but occasionally is another story. I think that if the person who has access to this type of discount is OK with it I would be OK too. I mean, I don't think that anyone here would think it was unethical for that person to buy you something and give it to you using a discount like this so then I think that an occasional use of a discount like this would be unethical. If you would really chase such discounts or ask relatives for every purpose I would consider you a bit cheap I have to say.

Case

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2019, 05:48:34 AM »
Or maybe unethical?

Using a family members military discount at a local store for a large purchase? Both my parents and my brother are military, but I am not. Any of them would be willing to meet me at the store to make the purchase. Purchase is $450.

I feel weird about it. I feel like if I was a store owner, I would be annoyed that people would do that. Am I being silly?

Pretty straightforward.  Unethical to use the discount if you are not military.  Family members only ethical if the rules allow for such.

If following the rules, frugal.  If not, cheap.

If  not allowed fro family members, and the military relative makes the purchase with the intent of giving it to you, unethical.

Now, there are certainly worse things to do,and I’m sure most of us hae broken rules like these.  But in terms of ethics, seems straightforward.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2019, 05:51:07 AM by Case »

slappy

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2019, 06:23:04 AM »
Or maybe unethical?

Using a family members military discount at a local store for a large purchase? Both my parents and my brother are military, but I am not. Any of them would be willing to meet me at the store to make the purchase. Purchase is $450.

I feel weird about it. I feel like if I was a store owner, I would be annoyed that people would do that. Am I being silly?

Pretty straightforward.  Unethical to use the discount if you are not military.  Family members only ethical if the rules allow for such.

If following the rules, frugal.  If not, cheap.

If  not allowed fro family members, and the military relative makes the purchase with the intent of giving it to you, unethical.

Now, there are certainly worse things to do,and I’m sure most of us hae broken rules like these.  But in terms of ethics, seems straightforward.

I would never claim military service that I did not serve.

To your point, how do we know if the family member thing is allowed? I wonder if there are actually rules written about that. Or if the rule just says that there is a discount and proof of service is required. The only thing I can think of is that my mom said sometimes its an active duty only discount.


Boofinator

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2019, 07:03:40 AM »
Mom and Pop type store, I wouldn't use a discount I wasn't eligible for. Big chain store? Go for it!

I disagree with this logic (that one should consider a decision ethical or not based on its number of employees). If a person doesn't like the big chain stores for whatever reason, they should feel free to not shop there. They should not, on the other hand, commit theft* by using a discount they aren't entitled to in order to not spend a few dollars on an item they probably don't need to begin with.

*Yes, even though it is only a few dollars here and there, I believe it constitutes theft. I used to also justify filling my water cup with soda as only costing this massive fast food chain a few cents, until I realized that the moral implications (that I was the type of person who would steal a freaking soda) were not worth the soda to begin with.

I guess we're different then. I wouldn't exploit the generosity of people who rely on a store for their livelihood, regardless of whether or not someone else met me there. But I don't give a crap about a huge chain store who sells you stuff they get cheaper by leaning on suppliers and sell you cheaper by underpaying staff. So their shareholders make a tiny percentage less that quarter. Screw them.

Do you really think it is only the shareholders that get screwed? Or do you think it is all of the other shoppers who don't have the military discount and whose prices are raised an eensy weensy bit each time? And do you also think it might be the military members who lose this privilege when the company realizes that the discount is too often fraudulently applied? (I'm not suggesting what is being proposed in this thread is fraud, as I don't know the specifics of the rules.) And, should this chain store lose profit, what do you think happens to all of the employees of the chain store when management realizes that the store isn't being profitable?

I understand the mentality, and strongly encourage everybody not to shop somewhere that he or she feels has unethical practices (aka "screw them" stores). I do this myself. But, I would also like to remind you that as Mustachians, most of us are those shareholders that depend on the profits of stores just like the one you're screwing for our livelihood. If these big corporations did not exist, neither would the dream of retiring in ten years.

Ynari

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2019, 08:20:47 AM »
Do you really think it is only the shareholders that get screwed? Or do you think it is all of the other shoppers who don't have the military discount and whose prices are raised an eensy weensy bit each time? And do you also think it might be the military members who lose this privilege when the company realizes that the discount is too often fraudulently applied? (I'm not suggesting what is being proposed in this thread is fraud, as I don't know the specifics of the rules.) And, should this chain store lose profit, what do you think happens to all of the employees of the chain store when management realizes that the store isn't being profitable?

I understand the mentality, and strongly encourage everybody not to shop somewhere that he or she feels has unethical practices (aka "screw them" stores). I do this myself. But, I would also like to remind you that as Mustachians, most of us are those shareholders that depend on the profits of stores just like the one you're screwing for our livelihood. If these big corporations did not exist, neither would the dream of retiring in ten years.

That's not how price setting works?

Prices are set, if the store is doing its job, at a price the market will bear. "The market" is made up of different people that have different levels of price sensitivity. People with low price sensitivity (people who don't place a high value on each dollar due to wealth or personality, people with high need for an item, etc.) will buy no matter the price, so businesses can sell to them at a high markup. People with high price sensitivity (people who place higher value on their dollars, people who don't HAVE to buy the item, or at least not your version of the item) would not buy at the higher price, but may buy at a lower price.

Now, businesses can't ascertain the price sensitivity of each and every customer - if they tried, they'd be very very unpopular. So "discounts" (groups of people that are statistically more price sensitive - military, students, seniors, etc.) are offered to get MORE SALES. The store, of course, would prefer that everyone pays at a high markup. But if the choice is to sell to you at a low markup or not at all, they'll take the low mark up. These discounts are good for business, and they don't affect the price that price-insensitive people pay for the good or service (unless the discount really is a charitable offering, and they are losing money on the sale - but that is uncommon and unlikely.)

So the question, to me, seems like "Is it unethical to use a discount for price-sensitive people when I am not price-sensitive". I.e. using a student discount when your family is incredibly wealthy, or using a senior discount if you're still working full time. It's a good question to ask - if everyone was allowed to chose their price, everyone would go for the lower price even if they are price-insensitive. The company wouldn't be as profitable and maybe that makes their business less viable at scale. But with the discounts, it'd be silly to try to weed out statistical anomalies like family members using relative's discounts. And TBH, if you're price sensitive enough to put in extra effort to get a relative to meet you in the store, you're probably one of the price-sensitive people that the store would LIKE to entice with a discount, but doesn't have an easy way to offer to you.

AnxietyFly

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2019, 08:32:30 AM »
I think you are fine. It would become unethical if you had a fake ID or use someone else's ID. Since they are meeting you at the store, its really up to management on how they want to enforce the program.

AMandM

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2019, 08:47:14 AM »
The size of the store/company and the size of the discount are irrelevant. The question is whether you are taking something you're not entitled to.  Read the policy on the discount. If it's for military members and their household, you don't qualify, and taking it is dishonest (both on your part and your brother's). If it's for military members and their relatives, you're fine.



BlueHouse

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2019, 09:05:16 AM »
I'm surprised at how many people answer based on their own personal feelings.  The policy seems pretty clear to me.

Here's the policy for Exchange / Commissary / Px near me. 

Exchange patrons are prohibited from the following: (1) Making (or purchasing for the purpose of making) a sale, exchange, transfer, or other disposition of exchange merchandise or services to unauthorized patrons (customary gifts of a personal nature are permissible). (2) Using exchange merchandise or services to produce income. (3) Making purchases for the purpose of resale by, or on behalf of, an installation private organization or other non-government entity.

Now just ask yourself if you're comfortable having your family member break the rules for you.  It is clearly against policy.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2019, 09:19:40 AM »
^^^ Yeah.

That's why I stopped having my military friends buy me stuff at the commissary/NEX/get me discounts. How I feel about the military or big box stores wasn't really the issue--it was just clearly against the rules and I don't like breaking rules.

slappy

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2019, 09:34:01 AM »
I'm surprised at how many people answer based on their own personal feelings.  The policy seems pretty clear to me.

Here's the policy for Exchange / Commissary / Px near me. 

Exchange patrons are prohibited from the following: (1) Making (or purchasing for the purpose of making) a sale, exchange, transfer, or other disposition of exchange merchandise or services to unauthorized patrons (customary gifts of a personal nature are permissible). (2) Using exchange merchandise or services to produce income. (3) Making purchases for the purpose of resale by, or on behalf of, an installation private organization or other non-government entity.

Now just ask yourself if you're comfortable having your family member break the rules for you.  It is clearly against policy.

Of course the BX would have a specific policy. I'm sure if the store in question has such a specific policy. In my experience with retail stores, it would be rare that they would deny a discount if you asked for and qualified for it even in the slightest. (In this case "qualifying" meaning that a vet is present.)  Honestly, a lot of places will give you a military discount if you ask, even if they don't have a solid policy in place. My brother (active duty) asks everywhere he goes. The worst they can do is say no. Same concept as a senior discount, I guess.

Either way, my husband already went and bought the item, without a vet in tow, so I guess the point is moot now.

DadJokes

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2019, 09:35:37 AM »
I'm surprised at how many people answer based on their own personal feelings.  The policy seems pretty clear to me.

Here's the policy for Exchange / Commissary / Px near me. 

Exchange patrons are prohibited from the following: (1) Making (or purchasing for the purpose of making) a sale, exchange, transfer, or other disposition of exchange merchandise or services to unauthorized patrons (customary gifts of a personal nature are permissible). (2) Using exchange merchandise or services to produce income. (3) Making purchases for the purpose of resale by, or on behalf of, an installation private organization or other non-government entity.

Now just ask yourself if you're comfortable having your family member break the rules for you.  It is clearly against policy.

Of course the BX would have a specific policy. I'm sure if the store in question has such a specific policy. In my experience with retail stores, it would be rare that they would deny a discount if you asked for and qualified for it even in the slightest. (In this case "qualifying" meaning that a vet is present.)  Honestly, a lot of places will give you a military discount if you ask, even if they don't have a solid policy in place. My brother (active duty) asks everywhere he goes. The worst they can do is say no. Same concept as a senior discount, I guess.

Either way, my husband already went and bought the item, without a vet in tow, so I guess the point is moot now.

A point being moot has never stopped this forum from arguing it into the ground.

You started this fire, and now you get to watch it burn.

slappy

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2019, 09:40:57 AM »
I'm surprised at how many people answer based on their own personal feelings.  The policy seems pretty clear to me.

Here's the policy for Exchange / Commissary / Px near me. 

Exchange patrons are prohibited from the following: (1) Making (or purchasing for the purpose of making) a sale, exchange, transfer, or other disposition of exchange merchandise or services to unauthorized patrons (customary gifts of a personal nature are permissible). (2) Using exchange merchandise or services to produce income. (3) Making purchases for the purpose of resale by, or on behalf of, an installation private organization or other non-government entity.

Now just ask yourself if you're comfortable having your family member break the rules for you.  It is clearly against policy.

Of course the BX would have a specific policy. I'm sure if the store in question has such a specific policy. In my experience with retail stores, it would be rare that they would deny a discount if you asked for and qualified for it even in the slightest. (In this case "qualifying" meaning that a vet is present.)  Honestly, a lot of places will give you a military discount if you ask, even if they don't have a solid policy in place. My brother (active duty) asks everywhere he goes. The worst they can do is say no. Same concept as a senior discount, I guess.

Either way, my husband already went and bought the item, without a vet in tow, so I guess the point is moot now.

A point being moot has never stopped this forum from arguing it into the ground.

You started this fire, and now you get to watch it burn.

Truer words have never been spoken...

Boofinator

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2019, 09:46:48 AM »
That's not how price setting works?

Prices are set, if the store is doing its job, at a price the market will bear.....

And the price the market will bear is proportional to the profits needed for a company to be viable. If wholesale prices doubled next year for all home improvement goods, do you think that home improvement stores would cease to exist? Or would the retail prices for everybody increase significantly?

So the question, to me, seems like "Is it unethical to use a discount for price-sensitive people when I am not price-sensitive".

That's not how ethics works?

The question, to me, seems like "Is it unethical to agree on a transaction with a merchant based on fraudulent information?"

FireHiker

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2019, 10:34:28 AM »
If it's your mother who is the vet with the discount I don't think it bothers me. My husband is a veteran and as such we are afforded all kinds of family discounts, including the kids being able to have their own USAA accounts.

Ynari

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2019, 10:46:11 AM »
And the price the market will bear is proportional to the profits needed for a company to be viable. If wholesale prices doubled next year for all home improvement goods, do you think that home improvement stores would cease to exist? Or would the retail prices for everybody increase significantly?

If the cost of doing business goes up for one business and not others, they will face competition and either have to find a way to sell their products at the new price (maybe capitalizing on a niche in quality or location), or they will go out of business because all consumers are price-sensitive enough that if an equal alternative is found at the same price, and they have that information, they will choose it. If the cost of an entire industry goes up, demand goes down (at a rate dependent on how price-insensitive the consumers are), so businesses have to select whether to raise prices or eat the loss of their margins. Some may, in fact, go out of business if they were operating too close to the red. Not every company is entitled to operate a booming business, and they should not expect to be unaffected by cost changes or price sensitivity in consumers. A consumer is not now ethically obliged to pay the higher price.

Relatedly, a business right next to or on a military base, where most consumers can be expected to have military credentials, will necessarily have to operate differently than one away from a military base. Same for businesses on a university campus. You have to operate in a way that makes sense for your location and your clientele.

That's not how ethics works?

The question, to me, seems like "Is it unethical to agree on a transaction with a merchant based on fraudulent information?"

Sure, ethics has different frames. I've never heard of anyone reasonably claiming there is only one way to approach an ethical dilemma. My framing of the ethical quandary in this scenario is not yours, and I can understand your framing, but it's not the one I most identify with. I do not see the transaction occurring with fraudulent information, I see it more as a gift from a family member. The commissary/exchange/etc. allow gifting items purchased at a discount, just like the tax code allows for $15,000 annually of gifting. This is reasonable human behavior. There are rules, however, in an attempt to limit this to legitimate gifting and not a business-in-disguise or other form of tax/price avoidance. (I mean, when we lived on a military base, I thought nothing of having a friend who came over pay for their own snacks at the commissary or even going shopping for larger ticket items at the exchange, even though they are "benefitting" from the tax-free nature of the store. They are my guest. It is reasonable to go shopping as an activity near my home.)

In another lens, if a military vet bought a couch, decided they didn't want it, and sold it to somebody at the price they bought it for, nobody would blink an eye. If, instead, they bought out a furniture store at their discounted rate and sold everything for 5% higher on craigslist... to be honest I'd question their sanity, because that sounds like an awful lot of work for very little gain, and it would probably not be successful anyway. But things that are stupid are not necessarily unethical, so as long as the consumer is operating within the terms of the discount (not every store with a military discount will have rules about what happens after the purchase) I consider the ethical perspective moot. It's a business operation, not a charity.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2019, 10:49:31 AM by Ynari »

Boofinator

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #33 on: October 03, 2019, 10:56:19 AM »
Sure, ethics has different frames. I've never heard of anyone reasonably claiming there is only one way to approach an ethical dilemma. My framing of the ethical quandary in this scenario is not yours, and I can understand your framing, but it's not the one I most identify with. I do not see the transaction occurring with fraudulent information, I see it more as a gift from a family member.

I don't disagree with your analysis, except to point out that in this specific instance, I previously specified that we didn't have enough information to go off of to say whether or not the rules are being broken.

Everybody breaks rules. Are all broken rules unethical? Certainly not, as each has their own ethical framework. So let's step away from ethics and go toward the law. If the rules are in place prior to this transaction, and you break the rule when conducting the transaction, could you be punished by law? I believe that answer is yes.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #34 on: October 03, 2019, 12:19:09 PM »
Mom and Pop type store, I wouldn't use a discount I wasn't eligible for. Big chain store? Go for it!

I disagree with this logic (that one should consider a decision ethical or not based on its number of employees). If a person doesn't like the big chain stores for whatever reason, they should feel free to not shop there. They should not, on the other hand, commit theft* by using a discount they aren't entitled to in order to not spend a few dollars on an item they probably don't need to begin with.

*Yes, even though it is only a few dollars here and there, I believe it constitutes theft. I used to also justify filling my water cup with soda as only costing this massive fast food chain a few cents, until I realized that the moral implications (that I was the type of person who would steal a freaking soda) were not worth the soda to begin with.

I guess we're different then. I wouldn't exploit the generosity of people who rely on a store for their livelihood, regardless of whether or not someone else met me there. But I don't give a crap about a huge chain store who sells you stuff they get cheaper by leaning on suppliers and sell you cheaper by underpaying staff. So their shareholders make a tiny percentage less that quarter. Screw them.

Do you really think it is only the shareholders that get screwed? Or do you think it is all of the other shoppers who don't have the military discount and whose prices are raised an eensy weensy bit each time? And do you also think it might be the military members who lose this privilege when the company realizes that the discount is too often fraudulently applied? (I'm not suggesting what is being proposed in this thread is fraud, as I don't know the specifics of the rules.) And, should this chain store lose profit, what do you think happens to all of the employees of the chain store when management realizes that the store isn't being profitable?

I understand the mentality, and strongly encourage everybody not to shop somewhere that he or she feels has unethical practices (aka "screw them" stores). I do this myself. But, I would also like to remind you that as Mustachians, most of us are those shareholders that depend on the profits of stores just like the one you're screwing for our livelihood. If these big corporations did not exist, neither would the dream of retiring in ten years.

Yeah, it was hypothetical, really, because I don't know what kind of store the OP was talking about. I don't shop in "screw them" stores. I prefer to screw them by supporting mom and pop stores. But I'm open to other people screwing them in other ways.

Maenad

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #35 on: October 03, 2019, 03:38:43 PM »
A point being moot has never stopped this forum from arguing it into the ground.

You started this fire, and now you get to watch it burn.

Thanks for the laugh!

Christof

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #36 on: October 03, 2019, 03:54:15 PM »
Or maybe unethical?

Using a family members military discount at a local store for a large purchase? Both my parents and my brother are military, but I am not. Any of them would be willing to meet me at the store to make the purchase. Purchase is $450.

I feel weird about it. I feel like if I was a store owner, I would be annoyed that people would do that. Am I being silly?

It‘s more of a heuristic: If I discover myself arguing or reasoning, it‘s usually the wrong thing to do. But that‘s just me. I guess I would have asked in the store if it‘s OK if the family member is buying me this at a reduced price and then paid whatever the result would have been.

BlueHouse

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #37 on: October 05, 2019, 10:59:50 AM »
If someone has to show an ID to get the discount, then THEY are entitled to it.  If YOU do not have that ID, then YOU are NOT entitled to it.  It's pretty simple.  The mental gymnastics needed to make people feel better about this is astounding. 

Everyone is "dishonest" or "unethical" or "blurring the lines" at some level.  I wish people would just acknowledge "I am cheating the system, but I am okay with this level of dishonesty".  Our nation and our world is at a place where words no longer mean what they mean and this is part of the reason why.  OWN IT, cheaters!

strongmag

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Re: Is this frugal or cheap
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2019, 09:05:38 AM »
For anyone else looking at this post in the future, when I signed up for the newer system Lowe's has for military discounts, they straight up told me I could share it with my family and friends as long as they had my number - you don't show an ID at the store with their program. Maybe that is not the corporate policy, but some manager somewhere said it's ok lol.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!