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‘Embarrassed.’ NC veteran outs Lowe’s ending military discount on lumber, appliances

Service members. (Bob Gathany/[email protected] HVT/TNS)

Sam “Rawhide” Newman describes the moment he stood at a checkout counter at his local Lowe’s store last fall as embarrassing.

He expected the usual 10% Lowe’s military discount when he bought a dishwasher at the store on River Highway (N.C. 150) in Mooresville, he told The Charlotte Observer last week.

Newman, an 84-year-old Wilkes County native and legendary Lake Norman fisherman, served two stints in the N.C. National Guard in the early 1960s.

“I didn’t fish with Dale Earnhardt,” said Newman, who co-led the longtime Norman Fishery Alliance group of 140 striped bass fishermen before striped bass vanished from the lake. “Dale Earnhardt fished with me.”

He earned his nickname, he said, as the lone fisherman on the state’s largest man-made lake on bitter-cold, nasty days.

Veterans never notified, Newman says

His family has shopped at Lowe’s since the home improvement retailer originated in his home county and had only four stores, Newman said.

Lowe’s now handles about 19 million customer transactions a week at its nearly 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores in the U.S. and Canada, according to The company employs about 300,000 people.

The price on his dishwasher rang up without the 10% discount Newman was expecting.

Lowe’s, he learned, ended its military discount a year-and-a-half earlier on appliances, lumber and other big-ticket items — without notifying members of the military or anyone else, he said.

“Bird seed is on sale right now, and you still get your discount,” he said.

The store manager gave him a one-time courtesy discount on the purchase, but Newman and his wife, Fran, a former Miss Houston, Texas, were upset enough to complain to Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison in a Dec. 5 letter.

Notify veterans, veteran urges

“That was embarrassing for us,” the couple, who retired after selling their Lake Norman Pest Control business in 2011, told Ellison. “Lowe’s should notify all veterans before we come into your store by placing 7 large signs; 3 on the outside of your building and 4 inside showing all items not covered in your store.”

Newman said he tried to hand-deliver the letter, but gates barred entry to the Lowe’s corporate headquarters in Mooresville So he mailed the letter, to which a Lowe’s spokeswoman replied.

“Your comments concerning the Military Discount Policy are important to Lowe’s, and we apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced due to the current policy,” wrote Jamie Adams, Lowe’s executive for customer relations.

Adams said the Newmans’ concerns were shared “with the appropriate departments and will be considered when evaluating potential policy and procedure revisions.”

“Lowe’s strives to offer the lowest competitive price to all our customers every day, and Lowe’s will continue to support our military, as well as other communities, through ongoing community programs and charitable giving,” Adams told Newman.

Thousands of items discounted, spokeswoman says

In an email Friday, the Observer asked the company why it ended the discount.

Lowe’s spokeswoman Candace Gordon replied only by saying Lowe’s still offers the discount “on thousands of eligible items for active-duty military, veterans and their spouses, with no annual limit on eligible purchases.”

“As of March 2022, Lowe’s updated the Everyday Military Discount to exclude select product categories, including major appliances, lumber and electrical cable/wire,” Gordon said.

Lowe’s updated policy details on, Gordon said.

And the company trained employees to share updates with customers who inquired over the phone and in stores, she said.


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