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Old 08-05-2017, 08:46 AM
 
1,306 posts, read 1,884,650 times
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The exchange is too expensive. I rarely shop there and work right next to one. Amazon/Walmart is cheaper and has better customer service. Why anyone would want to order online from them and not Amazon is beyond me.

Commissary is alright, but even their prices are becoming less and less competitive.
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Old 08-05-2017, 09:32 AM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
23,021 posts, read 35,284,658 times
Reputation: 26721
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyramidsurf View Post
The exchange is too expensive. I rarely shop there and work right next to one. Amazon/Walmart is cheaper and has better customer service. Why anyone would want to order online from them and not Amazon is beyond me.
To maybe help the troops....
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:52 AM
 
1,306 posts, read 1,884,650 times
Reputation: 1279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
To maybe help the troops....


How is charging more money than other online retailers helping?

Now, if they'll price match Amazon they might be on to something...
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Middletown, DE
100 posts, read 33,500 times
Reputation: 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyramidsurf View Post


How is charging more money than other online retailers helping?

Now, if they'll price match Amazon they might be on to something...
Exchange profits go to support military welfare funds and recreation activities. I'm as charitable as the next guy towards those causes. But not so much I'm willing to pay their prices on many of their items. I was at the exchange last week browsing the men's department. Levi's 501 straight cut jeans were $49.95. I can buy those at any department store in town for a little over $30.00. And even less at Costco when they're in stock. There were several other examples, but that one was the worst.

They'll price match local merchants. But the process takes more time and drill and ceremony than it's worth. I bought a 47" Sharp LCD a few years ago. Don't remember the exact numbers, but Best Buy had the same model, not on sale and in stock, priced about $40.00 less. I spoke to a sales person on the floor and she referred me back to customer service. Gave me note with the stock number on it. I had to wait too long in line; wait for them to call the store to verify it; wait for them to fill out the price adjustment form and get it approved by a manager; then go back to the department and wait in line again to check out. The whole process took about an hour. When I grumbled a bit about the time it took the response was "Yes, but you saved over $40.00". No I didn't. I saved a little over $5.00 in sales tax. I got a puzzled look. They just don't get it.

By the way. Best Buy price matches Amazon. The process is as simple as giving the cashier Amazon's stock number. Their computers automatically check Amazon and adjust your price. The exchange needs to join the 21st century.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Middletown, DE
100 posts, read 33,500 times
Reputation: 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyramidsurf View Post
The exchange is too expensive. I rarely shop there and work right next to one. Amazon/Walmart is cheaper and has better customer service. Why anyone would want to order online from them and not Amazon is beyond me.

Commissary is alright, but even their prices are becoming less and less competitive.
Depends on where you are and what you're buying.

Commissary prices tend to be pretty consistent across the board, no matter what part of the country you're in. The prices are based on wholesale plus actual shipping/transportation costs. There's a 5% surcharge at checkout. That's the "profit" that keeps the lights on and pays the staff, not markups of the groceries. The difference between commissaries, in both price and quality, is fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and baked goods. Those have to procured locally. Obviously there are big differences from one place to the next.

We go to the commissary every couple of months to stock up paper and plastic products, cleaning and laundry supplies, personal hygiene items, coffee, some canned goods, etc. We save a great deal on those items at the commissary. But we still use the local mega-mart for our weekly fresh food shopping. We sometimes find savings on things we usually buy at the commissary on sales and loss leaders, but not often enough to take the commissary out of our shopping routine.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:40 PM
 
Location: The wild horse filled region of Atropia.
66 posts, read 23,619 times
Reputation: 150
How much does the exchange system provide to MWR, etc?

Would closing CONUS based main exchanges be a better option? Save the shopettes/class VI/uniform sales as they are either money makers or required. You could probably keep middle of nowhere main exchanges like Irwin open as well.

Close the CONUS based commissaries while we're at it.

Whole thing seems like an antiquated jobs program to me.
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:15 PM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
23,021 posts, read 35,284,658 times
Reputation: 26721
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
To maybe help the troops....
https://www.aafes.com/exchange-stores/faq/

Quote:
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is an "appropriated fund" activity. Commissaries are funded by tax dollars and sell groceries and other household merchandise at cost plus a five percent surcharge, which is used to pay for commissary construction and renovation projects.

The Exchange is a "nonappropriated fund" activity. We operate almost entirely on money earned from the sale of goods and services, not tax dollars. We must establish our prices to cover operating expenses such as inventory costs, employee salaries, utilities, plus new construction and renovations of existing facilities. At the same time, we have a financial commitment to support the morale, welfare and recreational (MWR) activities of the Army and the Air Force (i.e., libraries, bowling alleys, gyms, golf courses and more). In FY 2013, the Exchange paid $208 million to MWR funds for Soldiers, Airmen and their Families. Every cent we earn goes back to our customers in one form or another.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:05 PM
 
Location: The wild horse filled region of Atropia.
66 posts, read 23,619 times
Reputation: 150
What are we as taxpayers paying for the exchange system? AAFES, NEX, etc.

Would it be more cost effective to just let joe shop at Walmart, Kroger, Food Lion, etc while stationed at a CONUS installation?

Last edited by abnfdc; 08-05-2017 at 05:15 PM.. Reason: missed a word. doh
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Old 08-05-2017, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Middletown, DE
100 posts, read 33,500 times
Reputation: 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by abnfdc View Post
What are we as taxpayers paying for the exchange system? AAFES, NEX, etc.

Would it be more cost effective to just let joe shop at Walmart, Kroger, Food Lion, etc while stationed at a CONUS installation?
The exchange system costs the tax payers absolutely nothing. It's self sustaining (see post #47, above).

Whether or not it's cost effective to let Joe shop at off-post merchants is irrelevant. The real question is: How does Joe get access to off-post merchants and services? I've got time and wheels. I can go anywhere I want. But Private Joe has neither. Military installations all over CONUS are populated with young, single service members who have no transportation or the resources to acquire any. Just because the installation is not remote doesn't mean there is reliable public transportation that would enable them to get around and attend to their needs. In fact, the opposite is generally true. The exchange does more than just retail sales. There are also barber shops, laundry and dry cleaning, shoe repair, tailors, fast food restaurants, health food outlets, movie theaters, and any number of other goods and services. Close the exchange and they're gone. Joe needs on-post access to these things. It's mission critical.

Read my posts in this thread and you'll properly conclude that I'm no fan of AAFES. But closing them would be just stupid. What they need is a major retooling to make them competitive. They need to revamp and revise their pricing policies; carry a wider selection and variety of products; and most importantly, improve their customer service and update their systems so things get done more efficiently. Like I said before, join the 21st Century.

They're obviously having problems or they wouldn't be expanding their market outside the active duty/retiree community. That's not going to fix what's wrong.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Hiding from Antifa?
4,776 posts, read 3,129,722 times
Reputation: 3930
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
To maybe help the troops....
How about supporting the veterans? We were the troops at one time!
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