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Old 08-06-2017, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Hiding from Antifa?
4,776 posts, read 3,129,722 times
Reputation: 3930

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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, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Hiding from Antifa?
4,776 posts, read 3,129,722 times
Reputation: 3930
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, 09:02 AM
 
1,306 posts, read 1,884,650 times
Reputation: 1279
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, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Middletown, DE
100 posts, read 33,500 times
Reputation: 274
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 10:20 AM..
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
25,737 posts, read 21,592,665 times
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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, 03:03 AM
 
209 posts, read 117,065 times
Reputation: 695
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, 09:16 AM
Status: ""Abortion Stops A Beating Heart!"" (set 12 days ago)
 
Location: Kansas
18,343 posts, read 12,068,687 times
Reputation: 17171
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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Old Today, 12:30 PM
 
257 posts, read 610,828 times
Reputation: 207
Quote:
Originally Posted by bergun View Post
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.

While I agree that many things are cheaper at Walmart, etc. Some "large ticket" items can be cheaper at the Exchange. For example, I just got a Nintendo Switch for my grandson for Christmas. The price for the Switch is pretty much $299 no matter where you buy it. By buying it at the Exchange I saved about $20 in tax. Not a lot, but it is something. The biggest draw back to the Exchange is they don't stock the same variety of stuff that a store like Walmart does. Also, a lot of things that the Exchange does carry are the more expensive brands. So, if I am shopping for a new 60" TV, I would typically have more models to chose from at Walmart, and am much more likely to find a cheaper TV at Walmart. But if I wanted to buy a Sony 60" TV, I may be more likely to get it cheaper at the Exchange, considering it is tax free.
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Old Today, 03:39 PM
 
15,428 posts, read 7,836,471 times
Reputation: 14431
Quote:
Originally Posted by BucFan View Post
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.
Air Force bases, pretty often. Army posts, not always so much, especially for junior enlisted or anyone else living on base. It would suck to be on Bolling without a BX.


Personally, if I lived on base (and when I lived on base) I'd hardly ever go to a Walmart for anything the BX offered.
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