Teacher Discounts @ Clothing Stores? What Other Perks Am I Missing? Astronaughts get half off at Banana?
September 9, 2009 10:33 PM   Subscribe

What "secret" discounts/benefits exist at major retail businesses (J. Crew, Banana Republic, Express, etc.) and what could qualify me for these discounts. I'm talking more long term (i.e., Teacher, Employee, etc.) as opposed to coupons or specials.

I'm a teacher. I recently ran into J. Crew at lunch to grab a new shirt after a mishap with a cup of coffee and a student turning the corner without looking (I looked around for a movie film crew, but all I saw was my 6th period laughing at my stained clothes).

Luckily I had about 45 minutes before my next class so I ran to the J. Crew a few blocks away. For some reason (embarrassment?) I offered my story to the kind employee at the store who assisted me in a quick wardrobe change, and in stead of charging me full price, they scanned a bar code (one of many on a big key ring) and took 15% off of the new shirt's price.

I was stunned when he told me that J. Crew offers a 15% discount to all teachers (and he didn't even ask for my school ID or any other proof). I pointed to the multiple bar codes hanging from the key ring and asked what else I didn't know I was entitled to and he started running through a list of discounts for various qualification that J. Crew honored (teachers, students, armed forces, etc.).

I guess my question is 2 fold:

1. What other discounts are there on a semi-permanent basis (i.e., Teacher, not including coupons which don't seem like they would make it to the laminated bar-code key ring)

2. Where can I find a list of these discounts and applicable stores? I'm mainly a J. Crew, Bannana Republix (yes I have a Lux card, no I've never mentioned I'm a teach at their checkout line, but I will now!), Express.

I'm thinking there may be an equivalent retail store discount site like FlyerTalk's "stickies" (the site has a lot of time sensitive "deals" but it also has tons of old information that is permanently posted (aka "sticky") that describes how to get upgraded for free on certain airlines if you know you'll be traveling a lot in the future (for professional travelers)) that offers inside knowledge about ways to stay dressed in a classy way without breaking the bank. I'm not necessarily talking about coupon or deal sites like SlickDeals.net or DealNews.com (these seem more "rushed" or "quick coupons").

What I'm looking for is a repository of data, and maybe even some inside tips (i.e., If you tell the guy at J. Crew you are a Teacher you save 15%. What if I tell the guy at Express I am an astronaut or bring my 65 year old grandmother, will I save 40%?).

I don't want to be dishonest, I just want to be informed. Heck, I'd even bring my granda out with me and take her shopping if it saved me 40%!

posted by WhereAmI to Shopping (21 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
lots of bookstores offer discounts to teachers.
posted by gursky at 10:41 PM on September 9, 2009

When I was a kid the trick was to reach over the counter at McDonalds and hit the 'police' button to get (IIRC) half-price food.
posted by pompomtom at 10:44 PM on September 9, 2009

This isn't exactly what you're asking for, but I'd talk to the HR/benefits department at your school or school district, because there might be discounts specific to your employer or your area. The company I work for (a non-profit hospital system) has discount programs with a bunch of local and national businesses, but they mail out the list just once a year - otherwise, you have to search for it on the employee website. You also definitely have to be proactive about seeking out the discounts. I get 23% off my cell phone bill now, for example, but I had to go through their whole "Employee Value Program" application/verification rigmarole myself, and most of my coworkers didn't even know it was available.

Random attempts don't hurt, either. The worst that can happen is you get denied. I just signed up for Zipcar, and the application was all, "If your company/school/whatever has a discount program with Zipcar, enter its name here!" Zipcar wasn't on my company's list of places giving us discounts, but I typed in its name anyway, because, why not. And I totally got a sweet-ass discount! Far, far easier than going all the way to the zipcar office and brandishing my grandma at the sign-up guy.
posted by granted at 12:18 AM on September 10, 2009

Club Monaco has a 20% student discount (with ID). The JCrew discount also applies to students, fwiw (and this extends to Madewell as well).
posted by hindmost at 2:27 AM on September 10, 2009

The Apple Store! Both online and in-store, and the education discount is much better than the corporate discount. I forget what the values are though.
posted by cathoo at 3:52 AM on September 10, 2009

Barnes and Noble offers a discount on books for teachers, but only on items you're buying for class.
posted by drezdn at 4:53 AM on September 10, 2009

Not helpful to you per se, but I've received student discounts at (local/indie) liquor stores, movie theaters, coffee shops, barber shops.

I'm not sure that Borders offers discounts all the time for educators, but they definitely advertise it a few times a year, at least on my campus.
posted by knile at 5:04 AM on September 10, 2009

Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft used to do teacher discounts. I'm guessing they still do. I think those were 15% as well. Otherwise, are you part of any of the teacher unions? I used to get huge discounts on anything from rental cars to magazine subscriptions through the National Education Association and Education Minnesota.

Borders, Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books all have teacher discounts as well.
posted by JannaK at 5:26 AM on September 10, 2009

J. Crew has a teacher discount of 10%, I think, but you can only use it in store.
posted by honeybee413 at 5:31 AM on September 10, 2009

One of the most commonly available discounts is AAA or CAA, and it's not always advertised. My aunt simply asks at nearly every entertainment or travel venue (hotels, bus tours, restaurants) whether they offer a CAA discount, and they very often do. She pays about $90 a year for her CAA card, but on a 5 day trip out to visit me, I watched her save about $150 just by asking for discounts.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:43 AM on September 10, 2009

Books-A-Million also has a 20% teacher discount that's supposedly only for classroom materials (though you may or may not have one in your area of the country), but if you make nice to the counter folk (especially so on a regular basis) they may let you slide with a few extras or let you buy stuff in the cafe with the discount.

Granted, you could also approach it with the mean and nasty technique, or a variation on "the other store lets me do it, do you want me to go to your competitor?" (since employees are usually expected to do whatever it takes to placate angry customers) but being nice is so much easier, yes?

(I once had a customer purchase erotica with her teacher discount using the threaten-to-go-to-the-competitor technique...)
posted by miratime at 6:02 AM on September 10, 2009

Response by poster: These are great responses, I am also a AAA member and will try that out.

Does anyone work at a retail store (J. Crew, Banana, anywhere?) that knows what all of the barcodes on the "discount" key ring were that the gentleman at J. Crew scanned for me? I'm assuming there are probably some pretty hefty discounts in there if I were to know what to ask for :) Not that I would qualify for this, but what would the employee discount be at some of these stores?
posted by WhereAmI at 6:20 AM on September 10, 2009

Bose offers discounts to teachers.
posted by borges at 6:43 AM on September 10, 2009

Not sure if things have changed since, but I worked at a Banana and a Gap for 2003-05, and never saw or heard of these discounts, other than the discount for opening a store card.
posted by jalexc at 8:20 AM on September 10, 2009

Anyone know if these "teacher" discounts are customarily extended to homeschooling parents? I know Barnes & Noble and Borders recognize homeschoolers as teachers.
posted by sudama at 8:55 AM on September 10, 2009

I get 17% off my AT&T cellphone bill for getting a salary from Penn State, you can check here if your school qualifies. I know a similar thing exists for Verizon, and probably others.
posted by cjemmott at 8:57 AM on September 10, 2009

Most large corporations have deals with just about every vendor out there for some sort of discount.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:09 AM on September 10, 2009

Ann Taylor does NOT offer a teacher discount but Ann Taylor Loft does. Also, anyone can sign up for the Border rewards card at checkout for free. I used the card recently and it bumped about 5 bucks off the purchase of one book.
posted by Partario at 1:48 PM on September 10, 2009

Response by poster: Has anyone worked at these stores aside from jalexc? What discounts are normally available aside from Teacher, AAA members, Student and Employee discounts?
posted by WhereAmI at 2:00 PM on September 10, 2009

NY & Co offers a 15% teacher discount.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 2:57 PM on September 10, 2009

Does anyone work at a retail store (J. Crew, Banana, anywhere?) that knows what all of the barcodes on the "discount" key ring were that the gentleman at J. Crew scanned for me?

Most of those are the in store promos. All sale items 25% off or buy 3 pairs of socks and get them for $XX, that kind of thing.
posted by hindmost at 6:34 PM on September 11, 2009

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