You served your country. On Veterans Day, if you play your cards right, it's going to serve you right back - on the house.
From the moment you wake up until you hit the hay, Veterans Day is Freebie Day. But you've got to plan.
Sure, there are a few catches - and most require proof of military service. (You need to check company websites for the fine print.) But if you're a vet or active military, you might plan out a Freebie Monday that goes something like this:
• You wake up hungry. Head over to Denny's for all-you-can-eat stacks of buttermilk pancakes. But you've got to pay up for anything else you get.
•You're feeling scruffy. Great Clips has you covered. Vets can walk in on Monday - with no appointment - and get free haircuts. If you don't have the time Monday, or just got a buzz cut, you can still snatch a rain check for a freebie haircut.
• You yearn for the outdoors. Check out any of the nation's 100 national parks. All parks with admission fees are waiving them for vets over the three-day weekend.
• You're ready for lunch - with pizzazz. You might try Hooters, which offers vets free meals to $10.99 - as long as you buy a beverage. And, ah, no charge for the ambience.
• You're stressed from lunch. Participating Massage Envy shops in Washington, D.C.; Maryland; and Northern Virginia region offer a free, one-hour massage (worth $49) to active military and veterans. Appointments are mandatory. A standard 20% tip (about $10) will be expected - but not required. No rain checks.
• You savor an afternoon snack. If the snack you're lusting for is pizza, California Pizza Kitchen will serve vets any pizza on its menu for free - even The Works.
• You need financial advice. Vets get free access on Monday to a Kiplinger's and Wells Fargo-sponsored online tool - valued at $49.95 - that helps vets create a personalized strategy to boost Social Security benefits. Instructions at www.SocialSecurityforVeterans.com.
• You're hankering for dinner. Golden Corral rolls out a free buffet dinner and free beverage to active-duty and retired military.
•You desire dessert. Participating Krispy Kreme stores will feed a veteran's sweet tooth with a free doughnut and small coffee.
• You're getting sleepy. OK, this one's not on the house. But Red Roof Inn is offering 15% off at more than 350 properties nationwide all November to vets, active-duty military and their families.
•You've still got the munchies. Red Robin has got the cure: a free Tavern Double burger - served, of course, with bottomless fries.
• You don't want the day to end. You might cap it off with a caffeinated salute at Starbucks, which will pour a free, tall brewed coffee to vets and active military - and their spouses.