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.”


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sloweb

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.


Typoqueen

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.


oto

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


Typoqueen

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


Typoqueen

Silence is golden.


Cicero

Home Depot will only understand how important integrity and support of veterans is if we stop buying their products. How about it?


Typoqueen

Now I remember hearing all this other stupid cr@p about Home Depot. I don’t need to ever shop there. Miners and Briscos are all I need, besides that they’re local so I usually go shop at those places over HD anyway. I know that my little boycott won’t have any impact but with all the vets in my family I just wouldn’t feel right shopping there.


Cindy

I shop at Miners too. I support the local merchants over big Corporate boxes as much as possible. One place I will never shop is at WalMart.


Typoqueen

Good, I’m glad to hear that. Once in a blue moon, maybe once every six months I have to go to WalMart but I hate walking in that place. There are two things that only they carry so I must make myself go there, but I feel so horrible doing so. It feels so cold in there. I’ve never seen so many security cameras as I see in that place. When you look up there’s’ cameras all over the place, makes me feel like they’re watching my every step, almost to the point of feeling intrusive. Other than the older people that work at the door the employees look miserable. I wish that we had more of selection here so I didn’t have to go there at all, but I guess that’s the price of living in such a great area.


sloweb

Typo, now that it appears that Home Depot is genuinely helping vets, does that change your opinion about them? Does that make you WANT to shop there, out or appreciation for what they do for vets, and specifically, all of the vets in your family?


Typoqueen

No, I actually remember the CEO being very right wing and very vocal about his political opinions so I don’t have a problem with staying out of there. Like Cindy said, I like to frequent local businesses (except Costco) so I don’t ever go there anyway. I’ve probably been to the HD on LO Rd 2 times. I don’t have time to Google it but I believe the CEO said something about business owners that vote dem should be killed or something stupid like that.


johnnytcb

Strange story – my Dad works at Home Depot and is a veteran and I worked there for 3 yrs after getting out of the Army. My uncle is retired from the Army and he gets a discount every day of the year using his gov’t military ID card everyone gets when they retire. Now i know that’s the everyday discount for retired or medically discharged. If someone served for a few years and got out they get a DD214 form (which I got after serving 4 yrs). Home depot offers a discount to all veterans, which they advertise, around 4th of july, veterans day, memorial day. Those are the times a DD214 is accepted. They don’t advertise a 10% discount every day for all veterans, they advertise for retired military. My Dad tells me the home depot does a ton for the military. If anyone looked into it they would see that they just fixed up thousands of homes across the country for military families for free. Also, if someone goes into the military while employed at Home Depot, they have 5 yrs leave of absense where company not only still sends them bonus checks they would earn if working at store, if they make less money in service than they did at company, Home Depot pays them the difference every payday! You don’t see this from other retailers, but they do not shout out that they do it.

For those that get a discount outside of the rules thats nice of whoever at the store allowed it :)


Cindy

WOW, Thanks for posting this information. I have a renewed opinion about Home Depot after reading your post if it’s true. You’re a new poster here and I have no reason to doubt you but can anyone else here verify this? If this is true, Home Depot has my undying loyalty and respect.


What is confusing is why didn’t Home Depot explain how the discount program works ? I guess that question is rhetorical as only they could answer that. Home Depot, are you reading this?


WiseGuy

Do the math: The more “Made in China” stuff a store sells, the more it feels compelled to wrap itself in the American flag, paint itself red, white and blue and do other phony Madison Avenue “patriotic” bullkrap in order to tug on people’s sympathies. Home Depot is not alone. So many stores, big and small, use phony patriotism and desecrate the American flag in order to shovel more shit into the shopping carts of Great Americans like you and me.


jiscariot

Phony patriotism is the backbone of many a sordid scam hoisted upon the population. Just look at those magnetic ribbon stickers that say, “I support the troops”. Made in China


choprzrul

I’ll trade you my service-connected VA disability and the Home Depot discount in exchange for perfect health.


If they offer the discount to 1 veteran, they need to extend that discount to ALL veterans.


.


Paperboys

Sounds almost like the old Jim Crow laws — sure you can vote but you have to pass a literacy test first…What? you can’t read or write? That’s too bad…

Sounds like a bait and switch scam to me. I won’t be going to Home Depot until I hear that this nonesense has stopped.


Slowerfaster

People should read the opinions of Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus. They’re all over the internet.

The guy is a fascist, plain and simple. He advocates shooting CEO’s that contribute to Democrats and the Democratic party. The man is evil. Just read the stuff. No true American would ever want to spend anything at Home Depot ever again.


They also have a history of hiring incompetents like Nardelli .


Support your local stores, and not the big box thieves.


Side_Show_Bob

“He advocates shooting CEO’s that contribute to Democrats and the Democratic party. The man is evil. Just read the stuff.”


REALLY?!!


Note to self; Start doing all my shopping at Home Depot immediately….


Typoqueen

Ah ha, I should have read your post before posting above. That’s what it was, I knew he said something like that, what an idiot.


scoopone

Something is wrong here…..I get the 10% veterans discount everytime I’m in the SLO Home Depot, no questions asked. A few times I’ve had to show some ID showing that I belong to the American Legion, etc. If a veteran takes the time to register at the customer service desk, I believe you are then

entered into their system.


Typoqueen

That’s good to know, thanks for clearing that up. I thought that there must be more to this. These fat cat corps know better than to pull this type of nonesense.


eradicate ignorance

So let me get this right… Home Depot advertises a 10% discount for Vets and then all the Vets have to do is bring in a non-existent Veterans card in to get the discount? How does Home Depot say they are committed to Veterans and the Military with a straight face. I usually don’t get worked up about retailer shenanigans but this really chaps my hide. I hope the major news outlets pick this up, or at least the Daily Show.


Shame on you Home Depot.


bobfromsanluis

Corporations never, ever, feel shame.