CONUS Commissaries to Close

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by osdad, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. osdad

    osdad Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    27
    How about a card that gives a X% discount at any grocery store? Wouldn't that accomplish the same thing without the "nearly $1.4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies."?
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    Or just have them pay the full amount like other Americans....
     
  3. coastiefam

    coastiefam Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    1
    LITS...bite your tongue!

    Three teenage boys in our household. I can't imagine what our grocery bills would be without the commissary!

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,544
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    Could bring a whole new meaning to the name "Sam's Club". :rolleyes:
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    Haha, very easy to find out. Drive down the street and find a member of the community (the other 99%) who DO have to buy from their local Kroger or Albertsons or Giant.

    I never lived close enough to a commissary to use one with any regularity... but I somehow survived financially. I'm sure folks will find a way.
     
  6. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    834
    Likes Received:
    156
    I never found the commissary to be that great of a deal. Some things were cheaper, but not much was significantly cheaper.

    The lack of sales taxes was the only big difference I found. Simply exempting any member/dependent with proper ID from the sales tax should suffice. I would think the states would already been on board and doing this as a means of enticing the use of the local economy over that of the federal stores.
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    STATES? Maybe communities. Some states already miss out on collecting income taxes (I kept my residence in TN while I was stationed in VA).

    "Here, use our roads, parks, streams and services, but don't pay any taxes for them."

    Riding the "support the troops" only extends so far. It's a subsidized loophole I would guess, like other benefits, we will see erode.
     
  8. FlyBoy1993

    FlyBoy1993 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    26
    To be fair, Commissary privileges are a selling point in the recruiting process with relation to big picture things like joining the military and raising a family.

    You seem a bit cavalier with your attitude towards those with dependents.

    what about retirees who retain commissary privileges? They probably need to toughen up as well, huh?
     
  9. Navy1981

    Navy1981 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've honestly never found the commissary to be that great of a deal except when living overseas. I'll base this on my 30 plus years of active duty and currently retired. It always seems to me that whenever I give in to the temptation of buying fruits and vegetables from the commissary, I always learn the hard way that they go bad faster than if I bought at Safeway, Target, Wal-Mart, etc.

    However, I will say that a trip every couple of months to the AAFES exchange is definitely worth it. But if I watch for the deals and check the Sunday ads, I can always find things at the local grocery at a similar price to the commissary.

    I just hope that if this plan comes to fruition, it excludes any commissary that is located on a base that isn't located close to town (Camp Pendleton and Camp LeJeune both come to mind).
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    Oh, I think some painful days are ahead for retirees, benefits and healthcare wise.


    But sure, I'm game. Give me an economical reason military dependents should have groceries covered CONUS. What extra hardship is there? Frequent moves mean it's hard to find a grocery store? I'm not against paying less, but it's not free, it's picked up by the tax payer. I understand OCONUS in some situations. Don't understand CONUS.
     
  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    WHAT?!? I must have missed that commercial, ad or discussion.
     
  12. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    444
    I doubt today's recruits care too much for commissary privileges when they decided to join. I don't know what what they want.

    My wife didn't care too much for commissaries when we were in.

    Do we have any definitive number on of what percentage do retirees shop at commissaries?
     
  13. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,852
    Likes Received:
    342
    JMHO...

    When I was a dependent kid...in the 60's and early 70's...the commissary was a HUGE deal!! BIG savings, etc...

    Now?

    I haven't used one in two years...it's too far to drive to!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  14. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301
    Brand new recruits probably not so much, but Reenlistees do care and if you were a junior NCO with 2 or 3 dependents you would see this as a pretty good benefit because it is definitely cheaper to shop there than it is off post. I find it interesting that most of the people talking about what a bad deal the commissaries are , either shopped in them as junior officers with no dependents or one college graduate working spouse. But there sure are an awful lot of folks shopping in those commissaries considering how "bad" they are. (BTW IMHO Retirees don't get a vote on where a commissary is or isn't and shouldn't- the commissary is a convenience if it is near by, but virtually no retiree that I know see them as a promised life time benefit- unlike medical coverage). But rather than a bunch of officers talking from their personal perspective- let's exercise a little bit of that leadership thing and start thinking like your people and put yourself in their shoes. You want people to reenlist- (and the pay is just ok for a junior NCO but with benefits it is a lot more reaonable), yet many on here seem to have no problem in whittling down the benefits that make military careers attractive, even though far more of those soldiers (certainly far more do than their peers of 25 years ago)- whom we rely upon on to form the backbone of the service- have dependants and virtually all of them have one or more deployments to a combat zone.
    And just to forestall what I predict will be some righteous swell of conservative budget cutting howls from some members of this forum ( some of whom refuse to see what a huge benefit it is that they aspire to benefit from or have benefited from)- If you really want to cut costs- lets cut the commissary right after you start charging tuition and room and board to the service academies. I mean after all- why should we be giving a benefit like that annually to 14,000 pretty pampered college kids (3x DOD SAs plus CGA plus USMMA) every year when you are guaranteeing them a job when they graduate? Instead the folks on this forum who lived in that fairly pamprered stratisphere want to balance the budget on the back of the lowest paid yet MOST NEEDED folks in the pyramid? And that is what you are doing by talking about the commissary as an unneeded benefit that you can just blythely dump.
    Do I think we should do the above? Nope I don't because I recognize that the SA's as well as ROTC scholarships and stipends are important tools in maintaining an effective and attractive volunteer military. But I do think that many of you don't seem to think about things from any perspective other than your own- "I didn't find this all that attractive so nobody else would either" while ignoring that your circumstances are not universal in the organization.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  15. nigel

    nigel Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    10
    Bruno, could the same benefit outcome be provided by issuing discount cards that also exempt sales tax?

    Nicole
     
  16. FlyBoy1993

    FlyBoy1993 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    26
    Most grocery items are already exempt.
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    What is the purpose of the benefit? Did it arise because the military members aren't paid enough? Did it arise because at one time most bases were far from civilization? Did it arise because somehow members of the military weren't paid enough?


    I'm confused.

    What is the justification that they shouldn't pay sales tax? Sure it's NICE not to pay a tax. It's also nice not to pay at all, so why stop there?

    Charge for service academies if the service after isn't obligated.

    But really, the commissary is the reason people reenlist? I don't think I've heard it mentioned once at a reenlistment ceremony. Maybe, like many benefits hard to justify in the military, it's just nice to have and hard to cut because, well, it's certainly easy to make some noise when it comes time to cut.

    There is NO justification for military families to have the benefit. None.

    If reenlistment is the concern, I'm not sure how much water that will continue to hold, as the services begin to cut.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,754
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    Specifically in your state or for military in general?
     
  19. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    834
    Likes Received:
    156
    Officer or Enlisted is irrelevant.

    I think the crux of the position of this “bunch of officers talking from their personal perspective” is that it is more of a perceived benefit than an actual benefit. In our experience it is not definitely cheaper to shop there. Like flieger said, it USED to be a big benefit, but is it still?

    If the grocery store right outside the gate charges essentially the same price for everything what is the actual benefit? No one said to get rid of a store that offers lower prices because hey, I’m an Officer and I can afford the higher prices in town. I haven’t yet seen someone chime in and say that they choose to shop at the commissary over other local stores because it is significantly or noticeably lower in prices. I used to drive right by the commissary daily and hardly ever stopped because it was NOT at all cheaper except for a few specific items.

    So yes, let’s exercise a little bit of that leadership. Let’s make an honest evaluation of whether the commissary is an actual or perceived benefit and if its only perceived, then get rid of it and free up the overhead to be spent on real benefits. Keeping a money pit to stay popular with the troops because they THINK the money pit benefits them isn’t leadership.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    940
    I think at some bases, such as Del Rio where there are not many choices on the economy it makes sense to keep them. I can even see it for bases like SJAFB where you have maybe 3 grocery stores for a town of 60K people, but at bases like Belvoir, it makes absolutely no sense. It makes even less sense when you realize in a 45 mile radius, you have Meyers, Meade, Bolling, Quantico, and Andrews too.

    Bullet and I have not used the commissary since he retired, because between the drive (20 miles), the surcharge and tipping the baggers there is no real savings compared to us going around the corner to Harris Teeters using our VIC card. We are obviously not the rarity because when you look around the parking lot there are a lot of military base stickers.

    The other defenses I can see for it are:
    1. The fact many enlisted spouses work there, thus for them it is also about employment, small towns like Del Rio, Goldsboro, Mt. Home have less work opportunities than larger areas, and it would require 2 cars, where they can work on base without having to purchase a car.
    2. Many members will live on base, i.e. in the Q's or TLFs. They are there for a short period, but in an apt type living. It is a convenience for them to walk/drive to the commissary instead of getting in the car trying to find the nearest grocery store.

    As far as cheaper, there are some items that are much cheaper,milk, butter, baby formula and diapers comes quickly to mind. I use to get ticked when I would shop at the commissary and see retirees load up an entire cart, clearing off shelves with these items, because what 70 yr old needs baby formula? The one that is buying it for their grandchildren to help them save money. We use to joke about their carts because they always had 4 specific items and a ton of it.
    ~ Milk
    ~ Baby formula
    ~ Cartons of cigarettes
    ~ Bacon

    The joke was we could not understand the reason for the amount of bacon they would get, my family of 5 couldn't go through that amount in 6 -9 months.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013

Share This Page