Home Depot stores profiting on veterans

December 8, 2011

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Veterans, enticed by the promise of special discounts, load their carts at Home Depot stores only to discover the advertised discounts require a non-existent veterans’ service card.

While a portion of veterans receive medical cards, the bulk are expected to utilize their discharge documents as proof of their service to the country, a document most Home Depots refuse to honor while promoting the stores as being supportive of veterans.

Several military veterans told CalCoastNews they have battled with clerks who refused to allow them the advertised veteran discounts at San Luis Obispo County Home Depot stores because they cannot produce a veterans’ card.

Los Osos resident Bobby Roark said he went to the veterans’ administration and was told the cards are non-existent after being turned down for the discount at a local Home Depot store.

“I think they are trying to look like they are honoring the troops,” Roark said.”You are either supporting veterans or you are not. You can’t just cherry pick a few that have a health card.”

Home Depot clerks said that store policy does not permit them to accept military discharge papers as proof of prior service. The clerks said store policy requires shoppers to show a veterans’ card in order to receive the discount.

Veteran Service officials said the retail giant has long been aware that former military personnel are not provided a veterans identification card upon leaving the military and have refused to change its policy.

Kelly Hayes, an administrative assistant at San Luis Obispo County Veterans’ Services, said they have contacted the retailer who told her it is company policy to require a card. Hayes said that there are discussions of changing veterans’ policies so that all veterans have access to a card.

Currently, only veterans receiving veterans’ health care benefits are provided a card.

“You have to qualify for health care to get a card,” Hayes said. “Unfortunately, Home Depot is not accepting a discharge document stating that this member was in the military. It should be sufficient, but unfortunately it is not.

“We have talked with them about their policy, but they are not planning on changing it. It is kind of a bummer.”

Confusion over individual store policies and interpretations of eligibility have long plagued Home Depot’s 10 percent vet discount program, according to numerous Web postings and blog comments dating back several years.

“There are varying opinions (of the program),” said Stephen Holmes, senior manager of corporate communications for the Atlanta-based Home Depot, acknowledging the widespread nature of the controversy. “But the policy is in place. There was some confusion where some thought we had cancelled it, but it remains part of our commitment to honor our veterans and military.”


32 Comments

  1. standup says:

    Sorry Home Depot, YOU just lost my business for your sheer stupidity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  2. stopagenda21 says:

    Go to staples and have them photo copy, a copy of your DD form 214 shrink it to wallet size , with that and you Driver’s license you ‘ll be able to prove your a VET

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. bobfromsanluis says:

    Some have taken to criticizing the article written here as “unclear’ when it truly is the policy of Home Despot that is not clear; to say that the veteran has to have a “card” that seems to only be available to those who are receiving benefits is not the same as saying that you are offering a 10% discount to all veterans. The quote from the public relations person reenforces that that is their policy, to wit: “The everyday discount is available to active-duty, National Guard and reservists, retired and disabled service members, and their spouses.” Notice please, that this statement says nothing about discharged veterans; there is a difference between a veteran who served his term of service with honor and was then discharged and a member of the military who has “retired”, usually meaning someone who has put in twenty years or more. IF the policy was posted in each store like it has been posted here, that would help clear up the ambiguity that seems to plague this issue. One thing that is very clear however, is the question of whether or not the Veteran’s discount program at Home Depot is for all veterans or not; it is not, period. That seems to me to back up the assertion that I heard Karen make on the radio the other day about Home Depot “profiting on veterans”- that should be clear to everyone, regardless of any other programs HD has to benefit veterans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  4. Jesus Child says:

    Sounds to me as though the Government needs to issue all Vet’s ( I am one) an ID card. I have my Vet’s medical ID card and use it at Home Depot with no troubles. They are free to all Honorable discharged
    vets. Weather or not you use the medical services you should get one. Many stores and places accept them for vets discounts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  5. Cindy says:

    According to the article, a VA identification card is what’s necessary to qualify for the discount. I thought all veterans qualified for VA services and all they have to do is sign up with the VA and they will receive a card?

    Recently, I heard that automatically qualifying for VA services isn’t like it used to be for our Veterans and that many Vets do not qualify for any VA services and therefor do not receive a VA card. Can anybody speak to this fact that vets do not all qualify for a VA card or services?

    I know they used to all qualify as my father, all my uncles (WWII) and my friends who served (Vietnam) had VA privileges regardless of whether they used the services verse their own medical insurance and their own private doctors, they had the option. Is this no longer the case?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • Cindy says:

      Sorry folks, I just read all the latest posts here including the reply from the PR dept to oto. Now I understand how the Home Depot program works. This is a very confusing article and appears to be poorly researched.

      Apart from the clarification to how the HD discount program has been implemented, my question about vets qualifying for VA services still stands. I’m curious if all vets qualify for VA services or if only duty related injuries now qualify for VA services?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  6. sloweb says:

    Interesting. I think I see 2 comments that are DIRECT first hand experience. They both refute the allegations of the article. The rest is innuendo and generalized corporate bias.

    As an open minded person who has no opinion (or bias) on the subject, I would have to place more weight on the comments with direct first hand experience. Thanks for speaking up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • Typoqueen says:

      I agree, the first hand experiences sound believable to me so on that I’m not going to make any judgements yet. But because of their political stance I still won’t shop there.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

    • oto says:

      I’m with you sloweb. When I read Dan’s article, something didn’t seem to add up. I spoke with the same guy Dan talked to at Home Depot Corporate, a guy named Brad Shaw, in “Public Relations.” Granted, Public Relations is not always the place to get definitive advice on a potentially libelous article, but Mr. Shaw clarified the issue about what identification cards qualify armed services personnel for what Mr. Shaw described as a “two-tiered” discount system.

      Mr. Shaw told me that all veterans qualify for special discounts on major holidays like Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Fourth of July. But only veterans who were “active” veterans qualify for discounts all year round. Active veterans means that you are in active service with the military, retired from the military, or a disabled veteran whose disability was service related.

      The second tier discount requires an identification card which qualified vets get from the Dept. of Defense. Here is what Mr. Shaw sent to me, which might clarify things for people wondering what discounts they qualify for, and when:

      Hi Giselle: Thank you again for checking with me on the military discount. As discussed on the policy: All veterans and active duty military qualify for a 10 percent discount on the major patriotic holiday weekends, such as Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day. The everyday discount is available to active-duty, National Guard and reservists, retired and disabled service members, and their spouses.

      These are the IDs we request to see for the Everyday Discount.
      • United States Uniformed Services Privilege and Identification Card: This card must be colored blue, red or beige – blue indicates “Retired” status.
      • Common Access Card (CAC): standard identification for active-duty military personnel and reserve personnel.
      •The Veteran’s Administration Identification Card (VIC), which must state “Service Connected” which identifies disabled veterans.

      Also, as I was saying, we have a broad approach to recognizing and supporting veterans in ways that go beyond a product discount for individuals. Our mission is to honor our veterans and military, while still having the greatest impact possible on the lives of the many thousands of veterans in the greatest need. For example, this year The Home Depot Foundation launched a $30 million initiative to combat the current housing crisis many veterans face. We are helping by working with non-profit military support organizations to provide badly needed repairs and renovations of the homes of disabled veterans, VAs, VFWs and other military support organizations. Here’s a link to the latest release on that: http://ir.homedepot.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=63646&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1628544&highlight=

      We’re also active participants in Recruit Military hiring fairs, which are listed on our military careers page at http://www.Careers.HomeDepot.com/military

      I hope you have a very nice weekend.

      Steve Holmes
      Senior Manager

      Corporate Communications
      The Home Depot
      O: (770) 384-5075

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

      • Typoqueen says:

        You’re not the infamous ‘Giselle’ from Oceano are you? Oh that would be great to have her on here.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

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