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Your Take: Student Discounts When Not A Student?

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Graduation CupcakeLifehacker shared a list of tips on how to get student discounts long after you’ve graduated and many of the tips resort to forgery. For some people it’s not an issue, I mean it’s a dog eat dog world and you have to do whatever it takes to shave a dollar off movie ticket prices or get a discount on travel. For others, it smacks of unethical behavior. For people like me, it’s a gray area.

My feeling is that if you are forging stickers or class schedules or entire IDs, you’re doing something wrong. If you have an expired ID and you present it as your student ID, then that’s OK but in that gray area. It’s a little like getting a “senior” discount when you look older but you may not necessarily fall into the age range.

What do you think?

(Photo: clevercupcakes)

{ 60 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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60 Responses to “Your Take: Student Discounts When Not A Student?”

  1. Jef Claes says:

    I think it depends on who you are hustling. If it’s a big international cinema chain, with millions in the bank, I don’t bother. If it’s the small and local cinema, which has trouble making a profit, I don’t approve.

  2. Gary area?
    To me is black.
    This is wrong.

    However, Jef has a valid point – I’d cheat any major bank that I could – just as revenge for their part in the destruction of the world economy.

  3. Hannah says:

    I worked at a restaurant years ago that had a very popular College Night discount. The local colleges sent whole shuttle buses of students at a time. The owner ran the promotion to get all those people in the door, not as charity for poor hungry college students. I checked all the IDs, and though most don’t have expiration dates, if I could find an expired one I was told to deny them the discount. The owner was shrewd enough to know that if they had already come out with their friends and ordered their food, they would pay full price without a hassle.

    With this is mind, I won’t feel a bit guilty continuing to show my college ID for promotional discounts after I am no longer a college student. It’s just a marketing tool- business owners want to get you in the door to get your money and gain you as a loyal customer. They aren’t checking your ID in any official capacity. I can’t imagine a situation where someone would need to fake a class schedule but that does seem over the top.

    I draw the line at taking advantage of offers like free admission to museums, because they are supporting education, not marketing. I also think it is unethical to use software bought with a fake student discount to make money doing professional work.

  4. Shirley says:

    Perhaps my thoughts are old-fashioned (probably because I am older), but I rely on ‘the straight and narrow is the best way to get where you want to be’.

    Live honestly and you will feel good about yourself and never have to look over your shoulder.
    If you wouldn’t want somebody to do it to you, don’t do it to anyone else.

    By following these thoughts, I have been happy in every aspect of my life.

  5. cubiclegeoff says:

    I never really found all that many college discounts after college anyway, so I never bothered. Most places that really care that you’re a student (like a car dealership or something) generally ask for more than an ID anyway.

    • Maddhatter says:

      I’m with you. The only clear example is the the movie theaters. For a bit after graduation, I’d still use the ID, but it got to where they did away the discount anyway. Also, I got Netflix, so I don’t go to the movies as often.

      The other example is the bank student checking, which I seem to recall had a set expiration date (5 yrs from start of college) whether you were a student or not.

    • gina says:

      Well there’s always the get MS Office for $10-$80 things

      • Strebkr says:

        Many of those you actually have to get them from the school. We used to get $20 copies of WinXP and Office. If you are talking about the student edition of Office that is sold at retail store, you don’t need an ID.

  6. zapeta says:

    I have a valid student ID, but few that I frequent offer a student discount. When I graduate, I’ll just pay full price.

  7. Abby B says:

    Just coming off of an international vacation, I can tell you that overseas, your student ID can save you boatloads. We got in free (or reduced) to almost every museum or archeological in Athens because we had our IDs. It was the same way in Cairo. Now, here the grey area is whether you go to an EU university. EU universities got in free, all others got a half off admission. If they didn’t ask, I had no problem getting in for free on our student IDs.

  8. TLV says:

    My car insurance still gives a student discount after graduation until you turn 25, as long as you had decent grades when you finished. Probably not too many other student discounts that last that long afterward though.

  9. Steve says:

    I am currently in a part time grad school program. I am in my late 20’s, married, with a 2 year old little girl. That said, I am technically a student. I make a full time salary, and I do not think I am the target audience the Student Discount offer is intended for.

    I feel a little guilty claiming the student discount, but it is like cashing in on a coupon…if they didn’t want me to take advantage of the offer, they wouldn’t have offered it to begin with.

  10. freeby50 says:

    If you aren’t a student then you aren’t a student.

    If you have to resort to forgery then that is obviously unethical.

  11. Bob says:

    The discount is being offered for whatever reason. That means they can afford to sell if for that price whatever the criteria they have set (XX years old, College student. ladies night etc.) it is in essence to sell their product. They have hopefully done their pricing/marketing correctly to reach their desired result. I personally want to follow the prescribed guidelines for a promotion/discount, but if they are willing to give it to me regardless. I will take it. if I deliberately deceive someone to obtain that promotion/discount then I have a problem with that. Otherwise go get it!!!

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      I think this is true for a lot of things. It’s worth pushing to get a discount from say a cable provider, even if they’re offering it to a group you don’t fit into, they will still give it to you, meaning them categorizing is more a gimmick than anything else.

  12. daenyll says:

    If you have an existing ID and they have an offer I don’t see a problem with using the offer if the business is promoting and doesn’t have restrictions. If the business chooses to enforce stricter guidelines than presenting a school ID I have no problem paying, I rarely remember to pull out the student ID even when there is an offer. I know as a student I rarely had time or money to even think about taking advantage of even the discounted offers that businesses promoted. I do see a problem with faking documentation and forgery/fraud to get a discount.

    • Marilyn says:

      Ha. I thought the other day that I never remember to ask if I can use my AAA card to get a discount, something that many business do offer.

      Sadly, IMHO experience, I have found few businesses or organizations that honor advertised college discounts. Many of those that do offer the discount aren’t really familiar with the college id or validation stickers. And many colleges don’t give those stickers until the bill is paid in full, which means currently enrolled students walk around without the sticker. All of this is simply to say that a discount based on a “valid, current” id is a specious concept.

      If it’s that much hassle, why fake a roster, sticker, or ID? You can probably get it cheaper or easier elsewhere…except the movie discount. Have at it.

  13. Agreed. If you’re actively constructing a false “student” persona, you’re committing fraud – minor, understandable fraud against companies who can probably afford it, but fraud nonetheless.

    • Strebkr says:

      Agree – If you are creating an ID just to do this, its a little out of bounds. If you are using your ID after you graduated, thats a little grey, but not as bad.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    i couldn’t do it because I feel it’s lying. (the business thinks you’re a student when you’re not!)

    I also don’t understand the thinking that it’s okay to defraud a big chain but not a small business. Isn’t it wrong in both cases?

  15. lostAnnfound says:

    I’ll take advantage of any discount I qualify for, but would not lie to get it. If we want to save a couple dollars when we go to a movie, we go to a matinee, which is usually the same or close to the price of a student/senior discount.

    I agree with Shirley…do unto others, etc., because what goes around can come back around to you.

  16. Steevo says:

    My daughter is a school teacher, which qualifies her for all kinds of educational discounts on computers and software, supplies, etc. I have never taken advantage of that to get anything for me, as I see it being a benefit for the children she is teaching, not for others to take advantage of.

    I have always asked for the senior discount when attending any event that offers one, though. I figure that if I was cursed with “old look” prematurely, then I deserved some compensation. Now I actually qualify for most of the “blue hair specials”, so I don’t have to cheat any more.

  17. Joe says:

    I milked my no-expiration-date-student ID until I lost it a year or two after graduation. Not terribly proud of it now, but those were still extremely poor years for me and I was grateful for the few discounts I could get with it.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’ve noticed that more businesses are offering “student and youth” discounts that go up to age 25. (I live in a university town). Even though I was well past 25 when they started doing this, I think it’s a great idea to help people out while they’re first getting established.

  18. Guy In San Antonio says:

    If you saved $3.00 by lying (and yes omission is a lie), then you sold your integrity for $3.00. Is your integrity, one of your most valuable possessions, which nobody can take away is only worth $3.00 then you need to rethink your life. I am 100% guilty of this from my younger years so i do not judge those who disagree.

    In Texas, if you wait to renew your auto registration beyond the expiration grace period, there is an $8.00 fine. Most people sign the form that says they have not driven the car since expiration (even though the subject car is in the parking lot!). They basically sold their integrity for $8.00.

    Just pay the $8.00 and sleep well that you did the right thing.

    • Elsewhere Guy says:

      True… so in that case I should lie more often thus saving even more money. And eventually my integrity could be worth millions!

    • saladdin says:

      I guess you missed the post on here a while back concerning “strategic default” on a house. There were plenty of “I will do what’s best for my family” remarks. So yes, people will sell their integrity for $8 or $80,000 and even 8 bottle caps if they have coke reward codes under them.

      I just love reading the justifications people give. And then they teach their kids the same thing.


      • SoonerNATX says:

        im with you on this saladdin. its funny how people will use the “whats best for my family” as a facade to stealing.
        maybe if they were actually doing that in the first place they wouldnt be in a situation where they have to use it as justification.

  19. So let me get this right – screwing someone over is OK depending on how rich the person is? It’s better to steal $1000 from Larry Ellison than from a random person?

    My favorite comment is “I’d cheat any major bank that I could – just as revenge for their part in the destruction of the world economy.” Yes, all banks are criminal enterprises, without exception. Just like all priests molest children and all Jews are stingy.

    Look, all getting a student discount when you’re not a student means is that you’re extraordinarily cheap. It doesn’t mean you’re going to hell, or even purgatory. Many commenters have made the (correct) point that the business offers the discount to get you in the door in the first place, understanding that most people aren’t going to abuse it.

    I bet any commenter who gleefully talks about screwing over corporations would be on the phone to Company X’s customer service department in a heartbeat if they overcharged you by a dollar.

  20. govenar says:

    I’ve gotten a student discount on drinks at a bar; they didn’t even ask for ID most of the time. I think the main point of it is advertising anyway; if it gets someone to go to the business when they wouldn’t have otherwise, the business succeeded.

    • jsbrendog says:

      this. if there are two places and one gives a student discount and one doesn’t, you’ll go to the one with the discount. you’re someone who wouldn’t have gone in otherwise and then maybe you like it and go back. i’m sure most places wouldn’t be terribly upset with you using a student discount in exchange for repeat business and the chance of you bringing other business.

      word of mouth, yeah place a gives you $2 off item b with a student id, we should all go there mroe often. business wins because that $x – $2 is still more than the $0 they would’ve gotten otherwise

  21. SoonerNATX says:

    jim, this is similar to an earlier article in which people would steal light bulbs from hotels to save some money. Obviously frugality has turned into theivery (spelling?) or in this case, dishonesty.

    this really shouldnt surprise anyone… its not like we couldnt see the writing on the wall of how hungry people are to save/make a buck when they started killing their spouses for the insurance money… or for a better example, look how sue happy everyone is.

    • tbork84 says:

      Yes but those are crimes that have always existed, are there any statistics saying that those have increased since the onset of the “great recession”?

  22. I drive me wife nuts because I’m unwilling to lie about kids’ ages to get a cheaper rate at restaurants, zoos, etc.

  23. Steve Sildon says:

    Who was it that said, “If you aren’t “cheating”, you ain’t trying hard enough”?

  24. Youngfye says:

    Sorry. Wrong is just plain wrong. A student is: One who is formally enrolled or attends classes at a school, college, or university. Be careful. Little lies dand little stealing grow into big lies and big stealing, then into serious crime.

  25. elloo says:

    Ok, let’s take a step back. Forget age, student status, screw the big corporations, being cheap, etc. The crux of the matter is that this is LYING. Were you all raised by chimps? Your mothers would be embarassed and appalled. Really.

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