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Old 08-06-2017, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Central Maryland
4,626 posts, read 3,009,374 times
Reputation: 3679

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Up until I retired in June I was an outside contractor with access to Joint Base Andrews. I installed and serviced two MRI systems in the clinic on base. Many times we went to the exchange food court to eat out of convenience, since going off base and coming back through security can be slow. In the food court there is a Taco Bell, that was selling some items that were being advertised on TV as costing a dollar, but they were charging $1.29.

It didn't bother me that much because i can afford it, and Taco Bell is a great place to eat cheap to begin with.

It only bothered me that young enlisteds ended up having to pay more, because they were pretty much dependent on the accessibility of the exchange. When I was i the service in the 70s I was always told, or I always assumed, the prices were better on base. Sales taxes in Maryland are 6%, not 29%, so there was definitely no savings there.
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Central Maryland
4,626 posts, read 3,009,374 times
Reputation: 3679
Quote:
Originally Posted by simbared View Post
Here's a link to the signup Website, for those who are interested. They're asking me to submit my DD214.

https://www.vetverify.org
I tried this several times and it said it couldn't find my data. When I clicked on the link to find out what I needed to do, it just took me back to the original link!
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:02 AM
 
1,303 posts, read 1,843,609 times
Reputation: 1263
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?
Exchanges are self-sustaining.

Commissaries are not. Those are funded by taxpayers. There has been talks to get rid of them but it's politically sensitive.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Middletown, DE
91 posts, read 27,278 times
Reputation: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzincat View Post
Up until I retired in June I was an outside contractor with access to Joint Base Andrews. I installed and serviced two MRI systems in the clinic on base. Many times we went to the exchange food court to eat out of convenience, since going off base and coming back through security can be slow. In the food court there is a Taco Bell, that was selling some items that were being advertised on TV as costing a dollar, but they were charging $1.29.

It didn't bother me that much because i can afford it, and Taco Bell is a great place to eat cheap to begin with.

It only bothered me that young enlisteds ended up having to pay more, because they were pretty much dependent on the accessibility of the exchange. When I was i the service in the 70s I was always told, or I always assumed, the prices were better on base. Sales taxes in Maryland are 6%, not 29%, so there was definitely no savings there.

When we were on active duty in the 70s prices on base were better, by significant amount. Back in those days, and for decades before, the exchange pricing policy was a cost plus formula similar to the commissary's, allowing for a nominal mark up sufficient to sustain the operation with the excess going to the MWR activities they supported. And they were getting really great deals from suppliers because they were supporting the troops. That helped reduce the prices even more. That's about the time things started to change.

They started getting kick back from civilian merchants pissing and moaning about how the exchange was under cutting the market and taking away customers with prices they couldn't match. This was especially prevalent in small to medium size communities with a very large installation whose population of active duty and retirees are a large percentage of residents. Keep in mind this was before the internet as we know it existed, and on line shopping was unheard of. The closest thing we had was mail order catalog shopping. Shoppers were pretty much captives of local stores.

What AAFES should have done was say tough. We're here to support the troops and you need to find a way to compete with us. But, nooo! They took the politically expedient path and adjusted their prices to the local market to make the whiners go away. That's the beginning of their "no sales tax" sales pitch. The problem is that over the years the retail landscape has changed with much more competition, big box specialty stores, and very low margin online shopping with free shipping. The exchange hasn't kept up with any of that. Their prices on many items are higher than the local market, with a few by a significant margin.

Last edited by BigDog811; 08-06-2017 at 09:20 AM..
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
24,682 posts, read 20,850,323 times
Reputation: 11149
I recently visited several different BXs across the country while being on different airbases and can't see why the exchanges haven't been closed down. Most of them were practically empty (of customers), the items were overpriced in my opinion. If the BX had to compete w/ Target/Walmart it would easily lose out.

Most of the bases had a Target or Walmart within 5 miles as well and I'm sure most military members and retirees are using those stores instead of AAFES.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:03 AM
 
189 posts, read 106,954 times
Reputation: 629
Other than on some small ticket items... personal hygiene items, it's far cheaper to shop at Walmart and less painful than going on base.

As a retired Reservist, I rarely go on post for anything, except when I stock up on canned and dry goods at the commissary from time to time.

To be honest, I don't know why the PX are still functioning and haven't shut down. You could see that they were in trouble as early as the late 1990s. It would simply be better for the military to charter buses to and from local malls, Walmarts, Targets and so on for service members without cars. Plus, by doing this, the DoD can save millions and millions of dollars every year from the PX/BX operations costs to fund other morale programs for service members.

Simply keep the Clothing Sales and the shoppettes open. To be honest, I think tha PX/BX days are numbered anyway. This is way they're now offering access to H/D veterans since they need the $$$$ to simply stay afloat or to "balance" the books before being phased completely out.

I'm old enough to remember the PX/BX glory days when they had kick-@ss stereo/video shops, along with camera and hobby shops. Those days are now long gone and have been gone for almost 20-25 years now.
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:16 AM
Status: "Trump's worst is still better than Hill's best!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Kansas
17,889 posts, read 11,673,100 times
Reputation: 16810
I have signed up with 2 of the branches and get constant flyers on sales, some look like they might be worthwhile. Be forewarned that they send a LOT of email flyers if you sign up for them though.

It is my understanding that opening the online shopping to veterans is their attempt to beef up sales. We haven't purchased anything yet.

While in the military, back in the 70s, I did shop the BX frequently for quality items.

I don't know how many got the "promotional" thing where shopping privilege have already begun, but both my husband and myself got in that group.
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