Back in 2001 I was a student. I was at college, living at home and working part time. I had very little money and the money I did have I tried to make go further by using any discount available – including my student discount card at the time.
I ended up not even finishing my first year of college, and never went to university so my use of student discounts was short lived and something I missed – it was handy to get 10% off in shops but, as I was then working full time it wasn’t something I really needed. Plus, I wasn’t a student – so it wasn’t a discount I could make use of.
But over the last few years it has been widely promoted in the media, on blogs and other places online that there are ways to get a student discount card without actually being a student. Basically, you can sign up for a free course – or a very cheap course – and become a student. regardless of whether you have any intention of completing the course. Then, when the course finishes and your student card expires you just do the same thing again – enabling yourself to continuously have a student discount card without ever having to study or complete a course.
Students are often some of the poorest people in our society – living on student loans, grants and pocket money from their parents if they’re in a position to help. Students need discounts – and are very much entitled to them. I doubt any student likes having very little money to live off and I am sure, in some ways, that being a student really helps them to learn the value of money, makes them thrifty and helps them to stretch every penny as far as possible.
But, if you’re not a student, and have no inclination to actually study then are you really entitled to a student discount? But more than that, do you really need a student discount?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know what it’s like to be watching every penny, trying to save money wherever I can and having huge debts to pay off – throwing any savings at them constantly. But, just trying to save money is not reason enough to use a discount that is not intended for you.
Getting a student discount card by signing up for a course you have no intention of completing is completely legal. But, is it right? Knowing right from wrong is something we learn from such a young age – just like we learn the things we can and can’t do based on laws and rules. They are different – some things are legally right or wrong and some things are morally right or wrong. For me, morally, I couldn’t apply for a student discount card knowing that I’m not the person that card is meant for – I’m not a student.
But, there are so many people that will happily get a student discount card, knowing they’re not a student but feeling smug that they have got one over the brands that they are buying from, getting a discount that they wouldn’t usually get.
There are discounts for students and there are discounts for other sectors of the community too – armed forces, emergency services and even OAP discounts in some places. But, they’re just for those people. They’re not for everyone.
Most shops and services have sales, special offers and promotions that are available for everyone. I’m happy to just carry on making use of those offers – and saving the student discounts for those people who really need them – and who are really entitled to them. Leaving my moral compass intact.