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Confusion over Home Depot's military discount

Seven On Your Side
December 20, 2011 10:36:09 AM PST
Discounts for servicemen and women are a way for America's retailers to say 'thank you" to military personnel.

But who gets it depends on what type of veteran you are.

When a World War II gunner was denied his discount, his daughter contacted 7 On Your Side with a mission.

The B-29 bomber, dubbed the "City of Oklahoma" flew 35 missions over Japan in World War 2.

Joe Porcaro, a fearless 24-year-old from Copague, fired the tailgun.

At 93 years old he still remembers every dogfight.

"It was the 22nd, no the 23rd mission and we were shot up, we landed with two engines instead of four," Porcaro said.

He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, just one of his many medals for bravery, that service recognized over and over, but not good enough to qualify for a military or veteran's discount at his local Home Depot.

"Now here's the Home Depot, we spend a couple thousand dollars and you show him ID no good!" Porcaro said.

"Very frustrated angry, very upset with them now," said Diane Gambino, Porcaro's daughter.

She had spent $1,500 to build a shed for her dad in his yard, promised she says, Home Depot's 10% military discount as long as she brought him and his Veteran's ID back to the store for verification.

But when they returned?

"All of a sudden, they said not we can't give it to you," Gambino said.

Home Depot's written policy extends discounts year round to all active duty, reservists, retired or disabled military personnel, and on four national holidays to all other military veterans.

But what's not in their policy is their definition of "retired."

A company representative told 7 On Your Side, it goes by what the military's definition, at least a 20-year career in the military.

"You can talk to an employee they'll tell you one thing, go to service desk, they tell you something else, go to a manager it's something else," Gambino said.

The blog on Home Depot's website is filled with complaints from veterans all over the country, some say they were humiliated when asking for a discount, but there's some criticism too, one person calls military folks a bunch of whiners.

"Many of them like my father risked their lives for this country no one has a right to say we're just whining!" Gambino said.

7 On Your Side explained the confusion to Home Depot.

"And just wonderful, you people are wonderful. I mean really, I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart," Gambino said.

Sergeant Porcaro got the discount, an exception due to the miscommunication at his local store.

Home Depot acknowledged there is plenty of confusion about their policy.

The company is retraining employees at the store level on exactly who gets this military discount.

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