Monday, January 18, 2016


How would you feel if an employee gave you the employee discount at a local business that you regularly patronize but where you don't work?

Like if you fly regularly, and at the place where you always grab a coffee in the airport, an employee you regularly encounter gave you his or her discount?

Does it change your answer if the person is the opposite sex?

This happened to me last week and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

For the record, same sex, so nothing too fishy going on.

My penny-pinching personal self of course thinks it's great, but the business/law part of my mind isn't very comfortable with it.  Does the employer know this is happening?  Is it happening regularly and therefore cutting into profits?  Is the employee trying to screw the employer?  (This is particularly possible because I know there has been some management turnover and morale isn't super high right now.) 

I'm torn, but the purchase is made (with discount), and of course I'll keep going there, but I'm not sure how I feel about that.  If she rings me up again and says something like "that's $146, wait, let me see what I can do, okay, that's $98," I might just say, "aw, thanks, I'm okay with the $146." 


  1. I really like to support local businesses whenever possible, and recently started going to a new wine/liquor store opened up by a young-ish couple who are super nice, and their prices are comparable if a bit higher. But I am willing to pay more and don't have any interest in any 'special deals'.

    At the same time, I know that Bed Bath & Beyond have a policy that allows them to use their own 20% off one item coupons without regard for expiration and stack them in a single transaction - so we keep every one we get and have used as many as 10 in a single purchase!

    As for the 'special streatment via flirting' ... I can see where that would happen, but since I tend to be clueless about it I have no clue if it ever happens to me or if they are just being nice/helpful. Lisa has pointed out flirting more than a few times, I just talk to people so don't notice.

    As for discounts ... this is where it gets weird - most grocery stores in our area have a 'discount card' that gets you extra discounts and a lot of times I will see the cashier use the 'store card' to give the discounts. That happened to me this weekend and I had no idea until I looked at the receipt afterwards.

    But the line would be drawn for me when I felt like I was really taking advantage of things, particularly for a small and/or local store. I am very honest, and am quick to correct a cashier if I feel they make any kind of mistake, including in my favor. That I will do regardless of store, but for smaller places I am very much concerned about beign a good customer. I have even questioned lower prices on items at a local store in Corning before when I expected to pay ~$5 more than I was charged, but apparently there was an actual sale.

    So for me, I think I would ask the question "what is this discount" - and if it is not something available to every customer, I would say I don't feel comfortable.

  2. This has happened to me before and I asked,"Oh, wait, I don't want you to get in trouble. I'll just pay full price." And he said, "Well, we get one friends and family transaction code per month, and thanks for your business" so I just said an effusive thank you!

  3. Perhaps the employee is allowed to give so many discounts as a "Thank you" or perhaps she is allowed to use her discount for her spouse and she has no spouse so she used it for you? I'm really trying to give this employee the benefit of the

  4. I get a discount to a restaurant by my office where I frequently eat, but the owners give it to me, so I think that's different. I like the idea of declining on the grounds of your not wanting to get her in trouble to see what she says. She could have permission to share.

  5. I know some places do have discretionary discounts they can give, so many per day/week/etc. And different places have different policies. But I guess it's different if you know for a fact that the person is definitely breaking a hard rule the business has in place.

  6. When I was in California recently I went to lunch at a local restaurant and the cashier gave me the senior discount. I didn't notice it, but he said I don't want you to think that I think you're a senior I just wanted to give you a discount today. He was friendly, but I hadn't heard him give it to anyone else. It kind of caught me off guard so I smiled and said thank you. Things like that don't usually happen to me though.

    In your case if it happens all the time I might question it to make sure the employee isn't doing anything to jeopardize their job. If not well than that is very nice of the person as long as they have no ulterior motives (I'm so skeptical of people!) Is their a tip cup where you can drop a small thank you tip?