The ethics of using a student ID to get discounts (when you aren’t a student)

I was reading through the money section in the June issue of Real Simple and I came across a short article on the ethics of using a student ID to access discounts when you are not a student. The article states that it is not ethical to do so, and that if people abuse this privilege, business owners could stop their programs all together, preventing the less well off party (i.e. the real students) from obtaining the discount.

I have a confession: I have a student card with no expiry date. Thus, it’s impossible for the store to know if I’m truly a student (which I am not). Sometimes I use the card to get discounts, like when I’m at Club Monaco. Their stuff is just so damn expensive, and sometimes the quality isn’t great (anyone else notice that their thinner shirts always get holes?), so the 20% discount often sways me to make a purchase. Especially since the discount works on sale items.

I’ve also used in a few other instances. I had to take the train for a work event, and I used the card to get the student price. It was almost $20 cheaper. I even bragged about it to my coworkers who were also at the event, in a “I’m so smart” kind of way. Now that I’m thinking about it, I probably came off cheap, since work was reimbursing me anyway. Plus they might not have agreed with the fact that I had used the card in the first place, since I’m not a student, and they know that.

But there’s just something about getting a deal that is so alluring, especially when it comes to buying things from large companies, like Club Monaco or AMC theaters. I just don’t feel that bad using the discount at places where stuff is marked up significantly or where sales are high. I often take my bike to a local cycle shop that offers a student discount, and for the longest time I never used it because I felt guilty doing so. It’s a small company, they work really hard, and the policy is meant for students. (After almost two years of going there, I did finally use the discount a couple times, but I don’t think I’m going to keep doing so – I feel kind of dirty about it.)

The Real Simple article suggested that you show your student card and explain that you are not technically a student at the moment. The store may still give you the deal. I guess I could do that, then I could get the discount and feel guilt free. Or, I feel stupid for asking. One or the other.

Would you use a student ID to get a discount when you are not registered as a student? Why or why not?

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This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, Shopping and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The ethics of using a student ID to get discounts (when you aren’t a student)

  1. Don’t feel bad. Large stores rip people off enough…it’s not like you’re ripping off a small family owned business…or maybe I just have no ethics LOL

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