So this post on Stars and Stripes is currently making the rounds on social media and is kicking up quite a bit of dust. Historically I'm a sucker for these types of “opinion pieces” primarily because I love reading the comments, and the follow-up commentary on this post didn't disappoint. However, most people seemed to have missed Mr. Duffy's thinly veiled insult to military family members; as well as, a very lousy marketing and public relations policy.
Let's first look at the insult Mr. Duffy levels at all military spouses; he doesn't believe our sacrifices are worthy of a smoothie discount. In fact, he refers to the angry spouse simply as a “civilian.” Dave is out of touch and painfully ignorant to the sacrifices military spouses make on a daily basis. Dave is under the delusion that he was able to pursue his own career goals and dreams while leveling no consequences on those who love him. Yes, he rose through the ranks to Lt Col simply based on his own merits…all by himself! His spouse apparently didn't help manage the home front while he was away at work and/or deployed. She didn't do all the household chores, make all necessary household repairs, pay all the household bills, etc. etc. (we know the drill), while he was out “chasing his dreams.” I'm sure his spouse woke up every morning just happy to be his spouse...never wanting an identity of her own, a career of her own, to live in a location she chose, or to succeed at chasing her own dreams. Never. Just happy to ride Lt Col Dave's coattails to the promised land of being a “Smoothie King!” Dave simply doesn't get it. The “irate” military spouse probably handled things the wrong way, but he misses the point on why she was irate, and I'm sure it had very little to do with a possible $1.05 discount (10% off the approximate price of 2 smoothies).
Dave misinterprets the military spouse's “vague threat” as just that, a threat. She wasn't threatening him or his business, she was trying to tell him (in a not so professional manner) to, “WAKE UP! Your military discount policy is alienating a HUGE percentage of your market!” I see Dave's failing to connect with his market as a fairly big problem. Who do you think buys more smoothies, military members and first responders, or their family members? Who are the ones spending more time at home and with the children while the military member is deployed, TDY, and/or working crazy hours? Well, that same military spouse who Lt Col Duffy just insulted, that's who. This has nothing to do with a sense of self of entitlement, but everything to do with recognition for being part of a team. If Dave doesn't think offering my wife a discount for her patriotism and the sacrifices she's made while not offering me the same privilege doesn't insult me to my core, he is either ignorant or obtuse, either way he's lost me as a customer.
Dave closes his post with a rant about defending our capitalistic society, yeah good for him, but so have we. I do not go out of my way seeking military discounts, but if they're offered I gratefully accept (especially at Lowes and Home Depot…thank you guys!!). However, I will not patronize an establishment that doesn't recognize how every member of the military family makes sacrifices. So yes Dave, I will happily take my business to the other side of the street because smoothie shops are a dime a dozen. I hope you realize this before you alienate your entire customer base.