Sept. 11 anniversary: What's your take on Sept. 11 discounts and freebies?

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 10, 2013 

Will restaurants eventually offer free appetizers for military guests on Sept. 11?

And if that happens, does it mean something's wrong with our society?

I thought about the questions after a Wisconsin golf course's Sept. 11 promotion made the Internet rounds. The course "planned to offer customers a 9-hole round for $9.11 and an 18-hole round for $19.11 on the anniversary of the tragedy," according to The Huffington Post.

The course issued an apology amid the Internet backlash.

Even though the golf course's plan was ill-conceived, they're not the only business to acknowledge Sept. 11.

A 2012 Huffington Post article points to a casino resort in Idaho that offered special Sept. 11 rates and deals to thank "heroes" like military, first responders and more.

Locally, Callaway Gardens is offering free admission for all guests this year on Sept. 11. "Please share this information with friends and family who may be interested in seeking the peace and serenity that only nature can provide as we remember the many lives that were lost that day," the Callaway Gardens website notes.

Also, military guests at Mix Ultra Lounge in downtown Columbus will pay no cover Sept. 11.

Critics of the freebies and discounts argue the companies are trying to capitalize off a national tragedy. Even when you offer free admission Sept. 11, you're still trying to attract potential new customers who will return and pay for admission, cynics say.

Others are less critical. In response to the aforementioned Huffington Post piece from 2012, one commenter wrote, "They want to thank the heroic men and women of our country. That's it. It's not tacky, it's not capitalism, or whatever, it's just thankfulness."

The San Diego Union-Tribune poses this question: "Is there any type of business marketing that could commemorate the date and/or remind young people of its importance without feeling inappropriate?"

I've heard people say the Sept. 11 business promotions are no different than businesses giving military customers free chicken wings on Veterans Day or Memorial Day.

What do you think?

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