Despite his warnings, she got up off her chair, flicked her hair, and walked with determination. She was a woman on a mission.
She slammed the receipt down in front of the cashier and asked him for an explanation. This was an open act of disrespect. She immediately asked for the manager, but oh how she would regret it!
Suzanne Parkinson is a busy mother-of-two. A dedicated parent who loves nothing more than to provide her children with all the love and attention they need. But as a military wife, it hasn’t been a smooth ride.
And this restaurant experience was just another one of those moments that made her nostrils flare and blood boil.
Suzanne has spent most of her married life unemployed and in a constant state of worry, so when she encountered ignorance, it was hard for her to keep quiet.
Since she married her military sweetheart, she has learned to live life with agility. In the military, things can change in an instant, which can sometimes make her feel overlooked. Thus, she began to fight for what she thinks she deserves.
It was that time of year again. The one where she’s left alone to look after her kids and take care of the house, missing and worrying about her husband who’s deployed overseas yet again. It never gets easier. Each goodbye is as bitter as the last. She hates it.
It’s no surprise that her emotions were already running high, even before she looked into his unfeeling eyes.
Suzanne and her kids were joined by her father-in-law as they went to Cici’s Pizza in Norfolk to celebrate her son’s 10th birthday.
Nothing like a light-hearted gathering to lift her mood. It was also no harm that her meal would be cheaper than most – a military spouse perk she always looked forward to. But things weren’t about to go as planned.
At first, everything was fine. They sat down and ordered their meals. Once they finished, Suzanne asked for the cake to be brought out and they all sang happy birthday to her son.
Suzanne started a video call to her husband overseas so that he could take part in things too. It was an action that was all too familiar and a pang of sadness pierced her chest. Then she saw it.
As the bill arrived, Suzanne’s mood went from sad to angry. “Did they seriously not include a discount?!” she spat.
She looked to her father-in-law, who told her to calm down. It was only a $28 bill after all. But she had already told them about her status at the till when they ordered.To Suzanne, it was an act of disrespect. So she decided to do something about it.
Although it’s common for establishments to offer discounts to military spouses, it’s by no means mandatory. Amusement parks, movie theatres, Home Depot, Disney, cruises, and clothing stores are just some examples of such establishments.
But this wasn’t enough for Suzanne. She wanted widespread acknowledgment. Safe to say, she was an advocate for military spouse discounts. And she couldn’t wait to confront this non-complying restaurant.
Despite her father-in-law’s warnings to leave it alone, she got up off her chair, flicked her hair, and walked like a woman on a mission to the counter.
She slammed the receipt down in front of the cashier and asked about her military spouse discount. He gave her an unsatisfactory answer so she immediately asked for the person in charge. But she would soon regret it.
While she waited, she reminded herself of all the hard times she’d been through as a military wife. She reminded herself that she deserved this discount.
She may not be serving, but she felt like she sacrificed a lot to support him and his career. So she was supporting her country, she was playing her part like any military personnel. Well, that’s not how the manager saw it.
Maintaining her sense of righteousness, she repeated the same question to the manager. But what he would say back to her would put her in her place.
Back to a place of total shock that anyone would dare talk to her like that. A scene unfolded as they began to attract the attention of everyone around them. She wasn’t going down without a fight.
The cashier at Cici’s pizza couldn’t deny that active servicemen and women deserved his respect and admiration.
He also understood that many of these brave men and women had families and dependants who have to deal with them being gone for long periods of time. But one thing he wouldn’t tolerate was entitlement. He was about to let Suzanne have it.
Wasn’t it enough that the pizzeria would make little to no profit on the cheap specials that Suzanne had ordered for the table?
They did it to keep business flowing on slow days, but this woman was really taking advantage. Why did she think she was entitled to a discount just for being a military spouse? He couldn’t help himself when he replied — It was just too good.
“The man is issued a seabag, not a spouse,” he replied sweetly, trying not to giggle as the entitled woman’s expression changed from self-important to absolutely incredulous.
Then, her face hardened. “I’m going to have to call corporate,” she threatened. But the cashier had an answer for that, too. If Suzanne was unhappy now, she would soon be livid.
“Go ahead. I’m the district manager, so nothing will change. If you wish, we can sit down and talk,” the cashier replied. Suzanne, bested, didn’t know how to reply to that.
She looked around the room, expecting to hear somebody come to her defense. But nobody spoke up, she was met with silence, and people avoided her eye contact as she scanned the room.
Suzanne quietly went back to the table, seething. If nobody was going to say anything, she would look elsewhere. Then, she had an idea.
She immediately posted what just happened on her military wives’ Facebook group to vent and try and get some sympathy. But what were their opinions? Was she acting entitled?
‘Thankfully, my kids and father-in-law were with me and it was a celebration for my soon-to-be 10-year-old or I would have left!” Suzanne typed angrily.
“I don’t care about the free drink, I care that this man feels that only the service members serve and openly gives such disrespect to military spouse! Please share!’ her post concluded. But it all backfired spectacularly
One Facebook user thought she was being entitled: “It’s much appreciated when corporations extend their military discount to spouses, but it shouldn’t be expected. Stop being so entitled.”
While another disagreed, “I believe they should get the discount. Unless you have served or know how it feels to worry about someone 24/7 for days, weeks, months, even years. Please don’t speak down on a spouse or the children of people who are deployed”.
Soon after it was written, the post was leaked into a Reddit forum dedicated to “dependas,” which is a term used to describe military spouses with an overwhelming sense of self-importance that, sometimes, even overshadows their deployed spouse’s achievements while serving their country.
Unfortunately, there are many military spouses who do little to dispel the stereotype.
Military families face many challenges when a member is deployed, and even more so when the member is a parent.
They must bid farewell to their loved ones as they are sent for their tour of duty, and sometimes they don’t know if they will return. No one can deny that being a military wife can’t be easy.
The family members of servicemen, holding down the fort and handling life’s challenges alone, are left behind. Without the help of their loved ones nearby, they don’t have an easy time either.
This proves to be quite difficult when the person at home has to be there for the family and take 200% of the workload. However, are military wives entitled to special treatment?
Sometimes the dependants of servicemen take things too far and cause a lot of resentment amongst the public and other servicemen and women.
There are many such stories floating around the internet about these entitled spouses. But Suzanne’s post, in particular, sparked such a storm of fury on social media that she was left reeling.
Many people have reacted to the story, sharing their indignation at what they perceived as audacity and a sense of entitlement. ‘Feed 5 people endless pizza for $28 and this chick still complains,’ one user wrote.
With such opposing views, many others also decided to share their own stories of military spouses and children – adding fuel to the fire.
‘It’s laughable how some of the military spouses view their spouses’ accomplishments as their own and try to pull rank over other people,’ another comment reads.
Even other military spouses had stories to share. One such spouse posted: ‘I am a military spouse, some of the entitlement is UNREAL. I have legitimately met wives who say things like “our rank” and “thank US for OUR service.”’
The woman then continues to talk about a wife who insisted that she ‘address her by her rank, even though she wasn’t military.
The woman is clearly not impressed by such behavior, saying: ‘My husband serves, not me or our kids. I hate when people automatically go “well my husband serves our country so….” Give me a break.’
Another eagle-eyed user was quick to notice something on the bill that made Suzanne’s case even less compelling.
‘I didn’t see it pointed out but she ordered 3 child buffets, 2 adult buffets, and 2 adult drinks….now either she let the kids go without drinks….OR…more than likely let them drink from her cup saving her the price of 3 kids drinks.’
Another user wrote: ‘My last duty station there was a woman who was married to a 2nd Lt who used to demand we salute her and would do stupid stuff like try to put us at attention in the gym or PX etc.’
He added: ‘…finally one day a base-wide email went out from a Lt Col and in it said “Remind your spouses they do NOT wear your rank and outside of commonplace niceties and respect, deserve nothing extra”.’
Another user had a good point: ‘I grew up being told that if the military wanted their personnel to have a family; they would have issued them with a spouse and kids,’ he pointed out.
‘I know times have changed in the past decade, but not to the point that the sacrifices made by the families are recognized. Besides, you married into the lifestyle!’
Suzanne never expected the backlash she would get when her post went viral. After being harassed and called entitled by people online, she deleted the post, and indeed, her entire Facebook account.
While a few other military wives were on her side, the majority certainly weren’t. And, as one Redditer pointed out, Suzanne married into the lifestyle and knew what she was getting into.In the end, she couldn’t take the heat.
Suzanne ended up staying at the restaurant as it was a celebration for her son, but she continues to demand respect from establishments like this and the wider population as she fights to change the narrative on military wives.
She explained, “I don’t care about the free drink, I care that this man feels that only the service member serves and openly gives such disrespect to military wives!” What do you think? Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.