Retailers cash in on military service

It’s a fine line that businesses walk today when offering deals to veterans.

In Canada, where it’s Remembrance Day, one veteran has had his fill of some of the marketing, the CBC reports.

It started with an e-mail from the Gap, offering a “Remembrance Day Deal” — a $19.99 vest.

The recipient sent it to her brother, Cpl. Chuck Krangle, who told the CBC, “She was very concerned with the subject line and the intent behind it, which was kind of, let’s profit on Remembrance Day, let’s have a big sale because it’s Remembrance Day, so that was quite upsetting.”


The Gap has apologized.

There’s a big difference between the sensibilities of Canadians and Americans when it comes to the appropriate recognition of a day for veterans.

sears_vets day


Steve rose, at the blog Transitions, points out the difference in our cultures.

Unlike Canada, the U.S Veterans Day has been colonized by consumer culture. A simple Google search on ‘Veterans Day sales’ yields countless hits on this “early black Friday.” A site called entices consumers with a brand-tapestry of sale-items. The CEO of Starbucks criticized the treatment of Veterans on this day.

At an event for Veterans at The Washington Post, he stated that Veterans Day “has been turned into a weekend sale.” He adds: “We have to ask ourselves, what kind of nation are we? What kind of nation do we want to be?”

In Canada, this is not the case. We refuse not to allow the sacredness of this day from being overshadowed by market interests. This has been particularly evident in the backlash against Christmas decorations before Remembrance Day.

Also, in 2010 a U.S retailer started a weeklong Remembrance Day sale that was met with protests from Veterans and civilians alike. Lastly, do a Google search using the phrase ‘remembrance day sale’ and you will be met with a very different result. Top hits include news about the record-breaking poppy sales and more talk about how a “US Retailer Advertises Tacky ‘Remembrance Day Sale’ For Canadian Affiliates.”

  • Dave

    But what is worse? These promotions or the fact that we created so many veterans for no good reason?

    Are these retailers cashing in on military service or the military-industrial complex?

    • I think World War II was kind of a good reason.

      • Dave

        Obviously I was not referring to that one.

      • davehoug

        Nov 11 comes from the end of WW1 (called at that time the Great War)

    • kevinfromminneapolis

      It’s no veteran’s fault why or how they attained their honor.

  • Peter @ MSP

    “Go shopping. Hug your kids.”

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    My brands are offering veteran-only discounts, but they’re also sharing resources for ways people can help the veterans in their lives cope or handle a crisis. Not one objected when I said the later needed to be included.

  • joetron2030

    I can’t think of a single holiday in the US that hasn’t been overtaken by commercial interests. The almighty dollar has told us that nothing is sacred.

    • davehoug

      Yes, Easter is about Christ or clothing sales……

      • joetron2030

        And Peeps. Never forget the peeps.

  • Rich in Duluth

    What else should we expect in a capitalist society where regulation is a bad word? Oh, self regulation…..

  • Robert Moffitt

    I went shopping and had a free breakfast on Veterans Day. Am I a bad person?