Commissary Changes: The Only Update You Need

Want to know about the status of commissary changes? We have the only update you need.

We’ve come to that special time of year where lawmakers have had their individual says about our collective military benefit fate — and things are about to get real.

Early every year the President releases his budget request for the year following. He asks Congress to give him money, or close programs, or start new programs. And then Congress laughs at him uproariously and does pretty much whatever it wants.

For the Defense Department, the House and Senate work on their own versions of the funding known as the annual “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA). After each group passes their own often wildly different takes on what should happen to our paychecks and weapons systems, and then they go “to conference” and merge the two documents, haggling over what to keep and what not to keep. I’m told there are no fist fights or cage matches during that negotiation, although I think that would be pretty entertaining and not particularly surprising.

Want to know about the status of commissary changes? We have the only update you need.

The final agreement then becomes law if the President chooses to sign it (what normally happens), or it could be sent back to lawmakers for more work (or a veto override).

What does that have to do with the commissary? Everything.

Right now lawmakers are working on the NDAA for 2016. That may seem like they just like living in the future, but technically 2016 is supposed to start with the new fiscal year — in October. That’s pretty soon, and this stuff can move at a truly glacial pace.

The House already signed, sealed and delivered their version of our funding — and the changes and new rules they want to see for the commissary. The men and women who do the grunt work on this – the Armed Services committee — just gave it final approval in the Senate. And once the Senate as a whole votes to pass it, they’ll be done with their version as well.

That means we have a better than before now idea of what might end up in law for 2016.

What’s the big news here?

The House and Senate have very different ideas on what we should do with the commissary.

The House totally ignored the DoD’s request to make big cuts, and instead asked for a bunch of new studies and reports on what the commissary could do to trim their costs (reports = lawmakers’ favorite delay tactic).

The Senate, on the other hand, wants price increases.

How’s that? They want Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) to slash their budget by about $140 million. That’s a lot of money when you’re already lauded as one of the most efficient agencies the government has.

So they plan to find that cash two ways.

First, by killing the funding to ship groceries overseas and to those pokey bases that are expensive to get to (I’m looking at you, 29 Palms!). Instead the Senate wants consumers (that’s you!) to carry that cost burden.

Right now, by law, groceries at the commissary cost per unit what the commissary pays for them with a one percent markup to cover loss and spoilage. They take home no pay off that stuff whatsoever. Under the new plan groceries would cost what the commissary pays for them plus the annual shipping budget divided by grocery items sold. According to a leaked DeCA document, $100 million could be saved by DeCA this way, but paid for by shoppers (again, that’s you).

The rest of the cash could be found in a second Senate approved idea — letting DeCA spend the money they get from that 5 percent surcharge (DeCA officials always say “it’s not a tax.” But, it FEELS like a tax) on every purchase for operating supplies. Right now that money only funds construction and upkeep of stores, not supplies. Spending $39 million of it a year (again, per that leaked document) on operating supplies would make a major dent in the amount of upkeep and construction DeCA could do — especially if their revenue went down because you stopped shopping there thanks to a price increase.

But wait, there’s more.

The second big news item in the Senate version is an order for the commissary to try its hand at running a handful of stores like real grocery stores (aka “privatized”) instead of taxpayer funded ones.

What does that mean? More price increases, but only in certain places.

First, the Senate wants DeCA to come up with a plan for privatizing at least five stores in major markets (the stores on Joint Base Lewis-McChord would fit the bill, for example). Then they want the folks who deal with the money for the government, the Comptroller General, to do a report on the plan. Then they want the commissary to put the plan into action for a little while. And then, finally, they want a report on how it all went.

(I warned you already about how much they love reports in D.C.)

What’s the difference between a real grocery store and the commissary? Mostly the way groceries are priced. Real grocery stores, like Walmart, price their items so they can make some cash. If cereal is $3.50 a box, and Walmart only paid $2.50 a box for it, they are making $1. The commissary, on the other hand, (thanks to current law) sells that same box for $2.50 because that’s what they paid for it. Under the Senate’s pilot program idea, you would pay $3.50 for the box and both the commissary test stores and Walmart.

(In case you really, really care, there are a variety of other commissary measures in both the House and Senate bills. The House version asks for – wait for it! – several additional reports and reviews and the Senate version asks for a bonus report on privatization to be added to the report they asked for last time that is supposed to come out in September).

By the way, what happened with combining the commissary and exchange?

Ignored. A commission put together by Congress — the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) — had suggested that the commissary and exchange systems combine. Congress as a whole pretty much pretended that didn’t happen. The House version has a measure banning the DoD from doing anything about the idea until after they produce that report due in September. (Again with the reports!)

So what happens now?

Like everything in Congress, until the President puts his pen to the final legislation, nothing is set in stone. And we won’t know for sure what is going to be in the law until the Senate officially passes their version and then two version get combined in conference (aka NOT a cage match).

We’ll keep you updated!

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Wayne Perry

    A DeCA official told me they would no longer be using the old “soundbite, slogan, bumper sticker or rally cry” of the supposed 30% because after extensive surveys amd studies they found that patrons value other aspects of the commissary more. So it makes me wonder, what is more valuable than saving a third of your grocery budget? Or if the 30% savings is real.

    I sure do hope Walmart is who they contract with since Walmart has comparable prices. And then maybe Walmart can take over our Exchange stores too so we arent overcharged on those items found there like we already are.

    While having to face the stigma of shopping at Walmart may be tough for a lot of people to swallow, financially speaking, they are the only company I can think can handle the contract. And who knows, maybe if we get a contract with them they will turn an Exchange store at a joint base into a Sams club. Or maybe if they get the contract they will give all ID holders a free membership to their club. Or maybe they will offer retirees a 10% discount to make sure the prices are in line with the commissary so those on fixed incomes feel as little impact as possible.

    In a perfect world military families would be allowed to help our leaders find the savings to fund the commissary (and other things) but it seems the average military family isnt given a voice in this conversation.

    #WeCanHelpThem
    #DontForgetTheEnlisted
    #GiveTheEnlistedAVoice

    • angelajean

      The problem with giving contracts to companies like Walmart is that they are already a drain on government resources. Too many of their employees have to rely on government programs for help with food, housing, and medical care. It seems counterproductive to give business to companies that don’t properly compensate their own employees so that they can offer cheap goods to Americans who then will have to pay more in their federal tax bill to cover the hidden costs of those cheap goods.

      • Wayne Perry

        The good news about companies like Walmart is they recognized that about themselves and are changing it.

        In addition to employers getting on board with higher wages, folks seem to think Senatory Murray can bring $12/hr nationally. So if we are forward thinking we may be able to see that times are changing. We can only hope that the average military family gets a voice to help usher that change in.

    • Lynn

      People go to the commissary because they hate Walmart from my experience. You put them on bases, you may as well close up the commissary completely. Without competitive pricing and military families getting pinched just as much as shopping off base, where is the enticement to keep them shopping the commissary?

      • Wayne Perry

        But Walmart pricing is comparable. And to make it even more comparable, a couple years ago they offered a 10% discount to ID holders to make the prices get in line. But it was shot down. All because of some stigma about Walmart.

        Had they agreed to work with Walmart, that would have given tens of thousands of retirees commissary prices closer to their homes. And since over half of military families live outside the installation gates, it would have meant all tbose people would have found commissary prices (or very close to it) at Walmart.*I am curious of the discount was for only food/pantry items or for the whole store which would have impacted the truly overpriced exchanges.*

        Do our military families deserve AFFORDABLE (not like a Safeway) groceries in our community? Absolutely. But with retirement being gutted and bah decreasing (exponentially for dual mil), how can we put our military shopping benefits on the same playing field?

        We are running out of time to help our leaders make the tough choices unless they give us another year. But right now, we need to get to work on helping them usher in military shopping benefots reform so we can fight for troops to have retirement options. And for. whole list of other things.

        If we as military families are feeling so superior to those who shop at Walmart that we are hurting future recruits by being so against it, then I fear for what will be left when my boys come of age to serve.

        Should DeCA be funded and continued to be run by Joseph Jeu and his administration? I believe so. But overall military shopping benefits need reform in these tough budget times and the ardent support of the commissary is hinder the much needed (and overdue) reform.

        *disclaimer since it has been asked dozens of times* No I do not have stock in Walmart. We are a JR enlisted family. WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO INVEST FOR OURSELVES as mich as we would like to (read between the lines everyone-JR E’s need help with the mew retirement option). I also have no desire to be employed by Walmart. I simply know where to get the most #PurchasingPower so I can stretch my wife’s hard earned dollars the furthest.

        Military families not liking Walmart isnt a justifiable reason to spend the taxpayers money. But perhaps what the commissary means to us alone is?

        • Terry

          What I do not understand is how they keep saying that the Commissary is 30% cheaper than Walmart to begin with. I frequently compare prices and more often than not, Walmart is cheaper than the Commissary and that is BEFORE the ridiculous 5% surcharge (tax). I rarely find anything cheaper at the Commissary than the price I can find in the local community. I am retired and probably do not spend $100 a year at the Commissary and if the prices go up at all, even that $100 will go to the local economy.

          • Amy_Bushatz

            They never said it was cheaper than Walmart. They said products compared between a snapshot of stores near bases were, on average, 30 percent cheaper in the commissary than elsewhere. They only compared products carried by both stores, and they compared it to a number of stores, not just Walmart.

    • Pat

      The 30% savings is real. We shop at the JRB Ft. Worth commissary and they beat every other store we’ve gone to.

    • Mikeinkc

      I think you are expecting a lot more than you would get in a change to WalMart run commissaries. I shop on a regular basis at both. Yes some things are cheaper at WalMart but other things are a lot more. You have to compare prices before buying. Also WalMart was one of the big retailers that would not commit to giving authorized shoppers from the commissary a discount when asked by the military benefit commission. They were in good company as no retailer would.

    • Paula

      There would be more revenue if they would allow all veterans to use their services. It’s a shame that you cannot get on a military installation with a VA card. The last time I looked that was a Military-Government ID-Hello how do they think they became veterans????? They served, protected and defended our COUNTRY. They wore american blood on foreign soil and they have no commissary, exchange or base privileges. It’s DISRESPECT. ANYONE WHO HAS SERVED, SHOULD HAVE A MILITARY CARD FOR BASE SERVICES.

      LET’S STAND UP FOR THEIR RIGHTS, FOR I AM A PROUD U.S. ARMY VETERAN….

    • David Lee

      Walmart is UnAmerican. They pay no taxes and the family has contributed less than 1% of their income to charity.

    • M.C. Turner

      This is something to consider Wayne. I find by the time I drive 30 miles and find unstocked shelves, I would have been better of buying locally with my coupons and grocery specials.Same with the Exchange. Who buys Coach handbags on retirement pay?

    • 69Wizard69

      REALLY???? Do you think Walmart cares about Veterans? They don’t care about us. There are many retailers that offer specials/discounts to Veterans on Veterans Day. Walmart is NOT one of them. Walmart doesn’t care about anyone except for their stockholders. All Walmart does is get richer and richer. They don’t spend any money on advertising….instead they are bottom feeders. They “price match” items that other retailers spend on advertising. And if the item doesn’t match the description 100% they won’t price match…..even though Walmart’s size may be smaller in oz than the competitors. Walmart prefers not to hire full time employees to that they don’t have to pay out any benefits and they pay their hourly employees low wages. Why would the government, you or anyone else want to help Walmart get stronger and more profitable? I don’t understand your theory. And the commissary is much more lower in prices than Walmart. I shop the FTW commissary and find that the prices on meat is lower than anywhere else in the DFW area. I drive all the way from Keller once a month because the cost saving are so huge. Instead of suggesting that Walmart contract with the commissary and if Walmart is so great at offering competitive pricing……why not instead have Walmart give EVERYDAY discounts to Veterans with their ID? Lowe’s does it…..so, why can’t Walmart? Because Walmart doesn’t give a crap about the Veterans.

    • Rick

      Already the commissary benefits have eroded so much since I went into the service in 74, that this raise in prices to military is no surprise. Lawmakers would rather cut benefits to Servicemembers than freeloaders. Especially since there are so many more of the latter than the former. This raise in prices is just another cut to our TRADITIONAL “benefits”. Right in line with what has already been done to the exchange system which used to give a MINIMUM 30 percent price benefit compared to ANYWHERE out in town. Maybe it should be a requirement that lawmakers (i.e. politicians) serve a 4 year term as enlisted men and women in the services prior to “serving” what they hope to be a lifetime gravy train as our congressmen and senators. Semper Fi to all.

  • Frankie @Ft Lewis

    Great article, Amy… as usual.

  • DBW86

    I can see closing Commissaries on bases in major population areas that have a selection of grocery stores near the base. “Near the base” would need to be decided, but also closing commissaries on the base would encourage civilian grocery stores to locate near a base to pick up that business. But for bases like 29 Palms, Ft Irwin, and others that are isolated from civilian stores, those commissary’s should be continued as they currently are operated!

    • jne

      What makes you think that a commissary in a high populated are is any less needed then in a sparse populated one? Do you not realize that $100.00 is the same in out o the way places as in anywhere else? I remember when my husband was in the military and the commissary was the best place for us to shop for groceries, we drove about 50 miles to go to a large one at the time but the prices made it worth it. Off base stores are so expensive. I have worked retail and some of the customers we got were military and the reason was because they could not afford the base prices, why can’t our government give the service men/women something to show how honored to have these members serving for them in an area where no one else would serve. Keep the families happy or have nasty fellows.

    • T J

      Good comment DB W86!!

  • Sandr

    The ones hurt the most are the old retires, especially the spouses who do not receive SPF because they are usually living on social security. If not for the commissary savings they would not eat as well. While the widows of these retirees do still have some medical benefits through Tricare the commissary is still their biggest savings.

    • T J Herron

      This is so very true! While my husband is still working at a civillian job (He retired active duty in 1991), he is looking at retiring at 70 yrs old. That is just 2 yrs alway! I am very afraid that we will find it very difficult to live on what we will bring in! We have paid off our debt except for our house! We may have to try and sell it and find a smaller house. Then again, he has said that he may have to keep working until they
      won’t let him! It is a huge decision and the fact that this is coming up for the commissary is going to affect his decision in a big way! The promises that were made to all of us (in many cases to keep us enlisted) are slowly but surely being stopped! That is grossly wrong! All of us old retires were promised things and those promises should be honored!!!! If, oh Lord God, no, if something were to happen to my husband, I would only have social security to live on. I don’t know how I would survive! Maybe the president and Congress just want us old ones to give up and die so as to take care of their problem!! It is how I feel about it!

    • T J

      I am 66 yrs old, nearly 67 yrs., and while my husband is still working at nearly 68 yrs. old, he says that he may not be able to retire! What will we do? We will try to survive! If , pray my Heavenly Father not, something were to happen to my husband, what in the world would I do? He is afraid to retire! I don’t tell him this; but I am afraid for him to retire too!

    • Carol Reichel

      No retires are not short term enlistments. My husband was a 20 year retiree. I couldn’t’ live on my social security. I am thankful for his pension. He also invested carefully so I am comfortable.

    • Joe

      It’s not like civilian retirees or widows get a special “30% savings store”. While the commissary is great and all, maybe we should all start thinking about saving more for our retirment so we don’t leave our loved ones dependant on DECA… Like the rest of the world does.

  • retired462

    How much do the taxpayers have to pay in subsidies for the congress-critters’ cafeterias/commissaries, barber shops, and things like doctors offices in their place of employment? I’ll bet it’s not a petty expense!

    • Amelia Locke

      You bet they would yell if those perks were stopped !!

  • mike Z

    ah, the truth of the matter = they still don’t know how to read the reports because it doesn’t have pictures, and charts and graph’s don’t count as pictures!!!!! I’ve got to say the sarcasm in your article is GREAT, why, because it expresses pretty much the feeling we all have towards the whole MESS – and that’s all sides in it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    once again it’s “hurry up and wait.” gotta love it. loolololo

  • Steve Berkshire

    Depending on what you’re looking for, Walmart is usually cheaper in the dry goods/boxed foods…

    • pjc

      NOT!

  • Brian

    As far as I am concerned Costco could be a better choice as far as retailers go, if the real plan is to go with a public business. .
    I can see the cost example of $2,50 shows an unreal expectation of the buyers that someone else should foot the bill. So, why not have the expense charge at 5-to 10% above. That is a quarter in at the maximum level. That should cover the cost of shipping etc.and still give everyone a savings..
    We should not expect free because we are veterans. Paying the 5 to 10% above cost wouldn’t matter your location as veterans have been known to be shipped to other bases.
    If the lower rank active duty are struggling to make ends meet, then more thought could be given for them to be supported by a food shelf, Veterans helping veterans. No simple solutions to these problems.
    I am concerned that the people making the decisions to slash will once again do great harm to its veterans. However I am sure they will protect their own interests.They always do.

  • Lucille F.Hume

    As a widow of a veteran of 221/2 service in the Air Force I think that the government should keep their hands off of the commissaries period. Those families that are over seas has no place but these to shop .I know this first handed as in 1955 we was station on Anderson AFB Guam and the commissarys was only way we could get food.The retired veterans as well are those still serving should have these places to shoppe in.Keep your hands off of our privileges as our husbands earned all we are entitled to have.Don’t know if every one will agree with me or not.Commissaries belongs to the military/ Retired Veterans.

    • Joyce Kotz

      Lucille F. Hume – I agree with you. When a person joins the services they were promised the Commissary as one of their benefits, so why do they want to do away with it Pretty soon they will have to start drafting people because no one will want to join & get upkept promises. After all most enlisted personnel do not get enough pay to begin with & benefits, such as the commissaries do help them since grocery prices are better than regular grocery stores & they should be. If not give the service people a bigger raise. Why should they put their lives on the line, when they get little pay & no benefits to amount to anything? The government should give better benefits, not take away the already decent benefits., The politicians don’t mind giving themselves hugh raises; cut their pay a little
      & give a little more to the service personnel; after all is Congress, the President or Senate putting their lives on the line, day after day in Afganistan, etc.?

    • David Lee

      A march on Washington DC by all the Veterans in protest is long overdue.

      • Eleanore Webster

        @David Lee, I agree with you. I am too old to march. Widow of Air Force Vet.Let them eat caviar or cake? Draft will come.

  • Navy Veteran

    The only cuts that need to be made are Congressional Benefits. e.g.: Retirement, Medical, Perdium, ect.
    Congress should get a Salary of no more than 40,000 a year while in office and should go back to whatever job they held before being elected.

    • Margaret Wardell

      In total agreement of having an annual salary cap aside from the fact we should VOTE for and should be term limits these people go to Washington and make it a permanent home.

      • Eleanore

        How right you are. We should vote for. They don’t live with us “common” people.

      • Janice

        I totally agree. Term limits and NOT going home, even after serving one term, living on the same pay they earned the rest of their lives after serving.

    • Ruthie Tyler

      Agree..a serious march on Washington is way overdue. It’s on us to stop this madness. Pretty all of our promised benefits will be taken away. It’s easy for our lawmakers to vote to slash and or cut our benefits because very few have served a day in the military let alone served in Vietnam, Iraq etc. If they the right and or authority to determine our benefits, we as taxpayers should have the right to determine their benfits and we should begin by cutting their unearned benefits starting with full retirement for life after serving only a few terms; free medical and drntal; free barber shop and the list goes on and on. Bottom line they should start looking at themselves fitst to acieve efficiency.

  • Mary Lewis

    So, this is “HOW” the Politicians give “THANKS” for the “SERVICE.” So sick of Politicians playing games with the lives of innocent people.

    • Eleanore

      how can we “play” with them? Innocent people are suffering.

  • James

    You know congress doesn’t want the commissary to go away because that would mean that McCain and all of those really old veterans would have to shop on the economy and not on ft my we or ft meade

  • Kathy

    I disagree with those that say there is no difference in price between WalMart and the Commissary. Many times I’ve gone to WalMart to pick up something I’d forgotten in my Commissary run, and ended up paying as much as $1 more for an item I would have paid say $2.50 for at the Commissary. At another grocery store it would be $1 more again, making it close to twice as much as at the Commissary. Try doing item-by-item comparisons. There may be a few items that are cheaper at WalMart, but overall I do much better at the Commissary.
    Right now I’m employed and can absorb an increase in cost, but retirement is right around the corner. It’s going to be tough on a fixed income. And bless the hearts of those young airmen/soldiers/seamen with families who are reliant on foodstamps, WIC, or some other form of assistance to feed their young families. Their dollars will have to stretch even farther.
    I agree with the commentor who earlier said that cuts should start with the salalries and benefits of the legislators themselves. They keep eating at the military retirement benefits, while they are eligible for a pension after only 5 years. I wonder if anyone has added up how much we taxpayers are paying to “retired” legislators?

  • jack Johnson

    This what you voted for a Senate and Republican congress,we keep voting these clowns back for a bigger screw jobs.

    • edward perez

      It is called amnesia by the foolish why i vote rep idiots.

    • Janice

      The only ones that “screw” us are the democrats.

  • Mary Kelly

    so what happen to letting veterans that did not retire from the service use commissary and PX if they have honorable discharges from military also shop online This means the survival of commissary and PXs.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Mary Kelly — That proposal actually never included the commissary, it only was for use of online exchange stores (so, not even in person shopping there).

  • Mary Kelly

    i think they’ll loose a lot business if I’m going to pay high prices I’ll just shop off base I am a widow of retiree windows will not be able to afford to shop there any more. We can’t eat soap. The only thing on sale. I think Congress should give us a food allowance like Snap and a PX allowance to our checks each month. Close all the stores gas liquor PXs commissary Lay off all employees demolish the buildings Just think no vendors no employees to pay or benefits no maintenance expensive buildings. We are living in a different times now. PS no money paid to private contractors to run stores. It like the private prisons. Prisoners get food with magnets in or something that’s been tested and radiated on a nuclear site. Poor medical care which is nil

    • cecilia

      Unhappiness breeds discontent. Food allowance? Snap? PX allowance? Get a reality check.

    • Mikeinkc

      Exactly the attitude that Congress and DOD wants so they can take away the Commissary benefit.

  • Linda Testerman

    When I lived close to a commissary I used it all the time. When I moved, my grocery bill rose at least 25%. I miss having a commissary. I agree that Congress should take a pay DECREASE and fund the commissary. Low pay grade personnel need the low prices at the commissaries. It is a sad thing that our E4’s with families have to rely on food stamps. Our Congress should be ashamed of what we pay our soldiers.

  • Ron

    First of all I’d like to say that when analyzing all base benifits; medical is #1 and I’d say that the reduced prices at the commisary is #2. Maybe there is something else that I’ve forgotten but commisary is at the top. So, I’m going to piss off a few folks but here goes. Assuming that every one who’s active duty or retired and living close to a commisary is using it. So let’s close all golf courses first and take those savings and continue to find the commisary. Yea, I like playing at a base course due to price and convince but let’s face it. Only a small percentage of base personnel use it compared to the commisary. There is usually a local course around if I really want to play. I have no idea what the weekly savings would be but I think it’s significant! Keep the commisaries! They are a perk for all ranks. However, the prices could be progressive based on rank. An 07 maybe should pay a little more than an E4 for the same groceries. Yea, I know they were promised a good deal at the commisary so phase it in over time. If they raise prices in the commisary any significant amount they will piss off all enlisted families and many lower end officer families that rely on the discount prices to make ends meet. Can’t believe Congress wold be so stupid.

    • diane

      Many good points, Ron. Progressive prices based on rank would created a mathematical nightmare. Not to mention pointing out to all that you are/were enlisted or officer or spouse/child of such.

  • Linda Heffner

    It’s been tough but I too an other I would never set foot in an other Walmart when I purchased a GE COFFEE POT AND WHEN I GOT IT HOME ON THE BOTTOM MADE IN MET FOR WALMART. That did it. There meats and fresh produce are very poor.They don’t treat there employees with respect
    I would rather pay little bit.more fore made in America u see quality. The Exchange has more Hi prices the out side they give u 15 days.to match at lower price. The best prices you can’t be in the.commisary are meat, Dairy

  • Doralynn Bravo

    They can make more money if they let employees buy at the commissary like the exchange employees a lot of employees are ex military wifes or va vets with no commissary benefits

    • Karletta

      It was the employees decision in most cases NOT to stay in for the allotted time for Retirement!! I Personally I do want to share these benefits with people that did not earn the benefit!! I can see it now, droves of shoppers Who will abuse the Privilege, of shopping at the exchange and Commissary. I Pray it Never Passes in Congress!!

    • jim

      The zone the Great Lakes commissary is in is now faced with increasing sales 3+ percent every month despite plummeting sales. When the idea of letting employees shop at the store they work at came up, the managers just laughed. Apparently, the lobby against it is too strong. That highlights a problem much of this mess falls under. Business sense is not used in the running of these stores. Just because they are not-for-profit doesn’t mean they can’t be run using good business sense. Advertising, Training, Employee buy in. Every for-profit business knows the employees need some sort of buy in if you want to have a healthy business. Employees are encouraged to purchase the product with incentives to do so, like employee discounts. Right now stores are manned by many people who have no reason, other than a paycheck, to care about the quality of what is being sold. If civilians are employed at the commissary then they should be able to shop at the commissary, if they are not allowed to shop at the commissary then they shouldn’t be employed at the commissary. A choice needs to be made. Not choosing has hurt morale. Managers with no incentive except the paycheck they receive managing employees with the same mentality, makes for greed. Personal gain becomes the focus. Directors make personal friends of vendors and vendor stockers, family members get preferential treatment, non-supervisory personnel are denied the ability to advance if management does not like them, sexual favors are exchanged or demanded, product is stolen, inventories are off $200,000 or more without investigation, workplace violence is overlooked, managers are not held accountable and employees are muzzled. There is no morale compass and life is similar to that of a slave plantation. Employees are the most valuable asset. It seems unwise to keep addressing sales without addressing internal issues. A choice needs to be made.

  • Karletta Hart

    Who is making these decisions in Washington? Someone who has never stepped in a Commissary in their Life!! Someone Who does not depend on the few Dollars we save on Meat, and, dry goods, We also shop at Wal;Mart for some items, but, for the most part, we do save at the Commissary. I feel bad for the Young People who depend on this benefit with young kids, diapers, baby food, and such!! And Who is going to check ID’s @ Wal-Mart to make sure You are a Valid Military Card Holder? I can see it now, Non ID Holders shopping with a borrowed Military card!! Or, an Id card Holder, letting a Friend shop on our Earned Benefit!! Its a shame we have to worry about this, along with the worry that our Retirement will decrease!! Its really a Shame after my husband serving for 30 years, we have to worry about this in Retirement!!

  • jerry

    I think the first cut should be in all benefits in congress. The prices at exchanges are outragious and met for senior officers only to shop. Who else can afford the prices. Leave all military benefits alone. Its even worse for retirees and future retirees and veterans will soon find out, when you start to fight VA for the benefits you have coming. Especially if you are putting in a claim for disability which a big percentage of you will do. Good luck on this, it will take you forever. Face it, the middle class and lower class fight the wars, the rich can afford not to. When all done the government throw you out and says fend for yourself. The people in the service, especially the lower ranks are having a hard time of it with all the deployments etc. Until we get new people in our government things will never get better. The onesin there now think its there government and look out for themselves only. Good luck to us all until we get this changed.

  • dee

    Le a start at the real problem…the filetes and Other tenderloins and fancy foods Server in the dining facility of congress that is Served at cents on a dollar should stop. Im fer yo with these imbéciles Taking advantage of the american taxpayers while they write themselves a Free ride. And pretende theyre working for the people, while filling theyre pockets with taxpayers money while they kiss the butts of special interest who are filling the Other pocket. They need to clean up theyre own Thierry from the taxpayers before negatively impacting the benefits of our Military…has we not has oír commissaries in Gelnhausen and Berlín we couldnt have fed our families…and if we has to travel Long distances to commassaries we couldnt have done it because if gas coupon restrictions. Congress get off your a**** and Live in our shoes as Military families. Se Dont get the kickbacks you get by sitting in congress…

  • Peggy

    I am a Gulf War Vet and because I was in the Reserves I can’t use the Commissary. I am stuck with Wal-mart. Can we do anything about that? That is what I call unfair. I served my Country too,as well as many others in the Reserves.

    • Janice

      I agree with you. Those who serve as reservists should enjoy the benefits of the commissary. They put their lives on the line and have seen active duty too.

    • jackson

      Peggy, you must be proud to have served our country. The rules, however, indicate that you must have served a specific number of years and be retired and honorably discharged. I can only suggest, get out of the reserves if you feel you are being discriminated against.

  • Lorraine

    If they raise the prices to same as Walmart I will not be shopping at the commissary anymore because I will be paying more on base than off. Our grocery tax off base is only 3% and on base we pay 5%.

  • ldajnowski

    Since the military is now less than 1 % of the total population of the U.S. why are shots always being taken against the benefits we receive. I work in the public sector since retiring and 99% of the young men and women in the public sector have absolutely no desire to serve in the military; they have told me this over and over again. So why punish the FEW that serve and protect? What if NO ONE joined; would the U.S. institute a draft just to make personnel quotas so the Armed Services could at least function at its minimum?

  • Patricia Hanken

    Sounds to me like they might as well discontinue commissaries if prices are going to be the same as off-base. Maybe the politicos would rather give raises to everyone who is eligible to shop in the commissaries:) It is one of the military perks that make the low pay a little more palatable.

  • YNT

    In this case, I’m in favor of the new reports. If the House is asking for them I will like to think that the ones available (if any) are inconclusive.