US: Military Commissary Better Than Supermarket



F

Fake Name

Guest
I don't know whether to be sad or glad... but US Military Commissaries are generally better than the
national Supermarkets (Safeway, Giant, etc).

Yes.. there is the fact that the commissary is subsidized, but that doesn't account for the entire
difference. There is somekind of difference that the corporate supermarkets have that I can't pin my
finger on...

Characteristics of the commissary:

1. Freak'in crowded... but that is due primarily to the low prices, secondarily because they dust
any supermarket in the area.

2. Checkout is FAST! It isn't like your corporate place with the slow employees and constant errors
at the checkout that need price checks, managers etc.

3. DIVERSITY in food. There is food from all over the world. I think this is since the military is
very diverse overall.

4. CHEAP. Somewhat due to subsidy... but there is a stunning amount of volume in a commissary. I
think the volume keeps prices down.

5. Freindly employees. It seems that most of them are career employees, not short timers.

6. One way aisles... god I hate that. I went against the flow once and was almost kicked out.

I believe in small govt, so I am disappointed that the private sector can't hold a candle to the
commissary. On the other hand, it's nice to see the govt be better than the private sector at
something.

Yes... the sibsidy is disappointing. But, studies suggest that for the military compensation
package: each dollar subsidized into the commissary, military pay is reduced by 2 dollars. As a
taxpayer, I can live with that. No gripes here. Military as killers... go whine in some other
newsgroup sweetie.

In my travels, the best supermarkets are hands down: Wegmans (Upstate NY) and Harris Teeter (South).
A bit pricy.. but well run.

All the other places stink. In fact, I'd rather get my groceries at Sam's Club than the supermarkets
around here. Sam's meat (abuse that phrase if desired;) is pretty good.

The worst is Food Lion... what a bunch of crooks.

Walmart is merely OK, if you have a Supercenter around. Prices are decent, but selection is limited.

Safeway... sucks overall. But I love the Sour Dough and the Foccacia. Do they still mail the coupon
books... they were pretty decent.

Farm Fresh... nice, but $$$.

Giant... mediocre all around. You gotta love the name of the corporate parent. Royal Dutch A-Hole,
or something to that effect. I like the Giant brand Sugar Cookies, and Green Onion Dip mix.

End of rant. My prescription is kicking in.
 
J

Jmcquown

Guest
fake name wrote:
> I don't know whether to be sad or glad... but US Military Commissaries are generally better than
> the national Supermarkets (Safeway, Giant, etc).
(snip)

Really? My father, a retired Col. USMC, and Mom might beg to differ. Perhaps it depends upon where
you live and which commissary you shop in. Yes, they have diversified foods but I find it to be no
more than my local grocery store which caters to Asians, Hispanics, etc. My mother normally drives
to the commissary, which by the way has always been inconvenient since we rarely lived on base, to
pick up staples like canned soup, dry goods, frozen veggies, etc. But the meat and produce
departments at the commissary, at least where they live, sucks. Mom finally resigned herself to
paying sales tax and now buys meats and fresh veggies at one of the two grocery stores in town.

It took me to show her: Mom, look how great these yellow squash look! But, but, sales tax... yeah,
but look how great these squash look! Then I bought some and we went home and I made squash
casserole for them :)

Jill
 
R

Rmiller

Guest
>I don't know whether to be sad or glad... but US Military Commissaries are generally better than
>the national Supermarkets (Safeway, Giant, etc).

I think it all depends where the commissary is located. For example , the Kirtland AFB Commissary
was great, and since NM charges "gross reciepts tax " on everything, including food, it made a lot
of sense to drive to the Kirtland Commissary every once in awhile.

I recently tried the Commissary at Randolph AFB and it is very inferior to the local HEB, the price
difference is not that much, and the selection of fresh fruits and veggies is pretty bad.

Having used Commissaries all over the world, I came to the conclusion that some a a lot better than
others, some are so poor , that it is hardly worth my time.

Rosie
 
J

John Gaughan

Guest
fake name wrote:
> I don't know whether to be sad or glad... but US Military Commissaries are generally better than
> the national Supermarkets (Safeway, Giant, etc).

When was the last time you shopped in a military commissary? The prices are good. Beyond that,
they suck ass.

> 1. Freak'in crowded... but that is due primarily to the low prices, secondarily because they dust
> any supermarket in the area.

Crowded, yes. But not because of the prices, because of the convenience. Those of us who live on
base are a convenient 3 minute drive away.

> 2. Checkout is FAST! It isn't like your corporate place with the slow employees and constant
> errors at the checkout that need price checks, managers etc.

Checkout is never fast. Obviously you don't shop at one. It is not uncommon to see people with *two
shopping carts* loaded to the point that they cannot hold any more food without toppling over. You
think this makes for fast checkout times? Think again.

> 3. DIVERSITY in food. There is food from all over the world.

********. My commissary is diverse in the sense that it has taco seasoning and soy sauce. Selection
is not very good beyond the common and staple items.

> 4. CHEAP. Somewhat due to subsidy... but there is a stunning amount of volume in a commissary. I
> think the volume keeps prices down.

The subsidy does help, but they do not sell at cost like they claim to.

> 5. Freindly employees. It seems that most of them are career employees, not short timers.

I hope nobody is a career commissary employee unless they're the manager. But the employees are
friendly. Given the non-corporate environment, they are about as motivated as "normal" government
workers, meaning civil service and military (commissary is NAF, or non-appropriated funds, making
them quasi-governmental like the USPS and IRS). Anyway, they don't have overbearing supervisors
pissing and moaning about the bottom line, so they tend to be pleasant people.

> 6. One way aisles... god I hate that. I went against the flow once and was almost kicked out.

Mine does not have this. I know most do. Even at other commissaries I didn't care, because nobody
else did. Every once in a while some retiree would ***** to me but I would ignore him.

--
John Gaughan http://www.johngaughan.net/ [email protected]
 
S

stan

Guest
fake name <[email protected]> wrote:

> I believe in small govt, so I am disappointed that the private sector can't hold a candle to the
> commissary. On the other hand, it's nice to see the govt be better than the private sector at
> something.

As you said, military commissaries are heavily government subidized. Comparing a government run
business that is available only to a select group of people to a privae one that's open to anyone
who can pay is silly.

> In my travels, the best supermarkets are hands down: Wegmans (Upstate NY) and Harris Teeter
> (South). A bit pricy.. but well run.

Wegman's is branching out. They have a few stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I heard from a
Wegman's corporate representative that they are looking to open a Wegman's in Cherry Hill, near were
I live in NJ. I can't wait for that to happen.
 
T

The Joneses

Guest
fake name wrote:

> but US Military Commissaries are generally better ...

> Freak'in crowded Checkout is FAST! DIVERSITY in food. CHEAP. Friendly employees One way
> aisles...End of rant. My prescription is kicking in.

Well after shopping at commissaries in both the US & Europe, I can definitely say it depends where
you live and which service is the sponser. And whether or not the shipments come as expected. I've
found AF commissaries to be marginally better. But the meat here at Ft Bliss is pretty darn good and
the prices are very competitive. As in all stores, you havta shop around. The prices for staples
such as coffee, rice, flour & sugar are great. Our produce department needs help. And being able to
find dried chile peppers, 5 brands of soy sauce, peanut butter and your favorite cheese while you're
overseas makes up for all of it. Edrena
 
S

S.Dunlap

Guest
[email protected] (RMiller) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> >
> >I don't know whether to be sad or glad... but US Military Commissaries are generally better than
> >the national Supermarkets (Safeway, Giant, etc).
>
>
> I think it all depends where the commissary is located. For example , the Kirtland AFB Commissary
> was great, and since NM charges "gross reciepts tax " on everything, including food, it made a lot
> of sense to drive to the Kirtland Commissary every once in awhile.
>
> I recently tried the Commissary at Randolph AFB and it is very inferior to the local HEB, the
> price difference is not that much, and the selection of fresh fruits and veggies is pretty bad.
>
> Having used Commissaries all over the world, I came to the conclusion that some a a lot better
> than others, some are so poor , that it is hardly worth my time.
>
> Rosie

I second that. It depends on the location. When I wasat Kirtland AFB the early 1980's, I'd say the
commissary was just "ok." Nothing spectacular. When in Washington state, The commissary at Ft Lewis
was excellent but the commissaries at the sub base in Bangor and the Naval Station in Bremerton were
only 1/2 the size with limited selection. It was worth the drive to Ft. Lewis every other week for
groceries. Using either of the two naval commissaries necessitated an extra trip to civilian
supermarkets to complete the shopping list.

Sandi
 
S

S.Dunlap

Guest
"jmcquown" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> fake name wrote:
> > I don't know whether to be sad or glad... but US Military Commissaries are generally better than
> > the national Supermarkets (Safeway, Giant, etc).
> (snip)
>
> Really? My father, a retired Col. USMC, and Mom might beg to differ. Perhaps it depends upon where
> you live and which commissary you shop in. Yes, they have diversified foods but I find it to be no
> more than my local grocery store which caters to Asians, Hispanics, etc. My mother normally drives
> to the commissary, which by the way has always been inconvenient since we rarely lived on base, to
> pick up staples like canned soup, dry goods, frozen veggies, etc. But the meat and produce
> departments at the commissary, at least where they live, sucks. Mom finally resigned herself to
> paying sales tax and now buys meats and fresh veggies at one of the two grocery stores in town.
>
> It took me to show her: Mom, look how great these yellow squash look! But, but, sales tax... yeah,
> but look how great these squash look! Then I bought some and we went home and I made squash
> casserole for them :)
>
> Jill

I think it depends on where you live Jill. The commissary was much better at Ft. Lewis then either
of the two grocery stores in the town in which I lived. Neither of the two stores in town carried
ANY significant Asian products. The commissary was the closest place to get a wide variety of Asian
food products.

Since we make our own dog food and used rice by the 25 pound bag, the commissary was also the place
to go. None of the markets in town carried it in that large a quantity - and would not order it
even though we went through 2.5 bags a month. We also used canned mackeral at $1 a can in the
gorceries but 69 cents a can in the commissary. The commissary, BTW, ordered it in for me by the
case - something my local grocery store refused to do even though I didn't even ask for a discount
or anything.

The commissary also carried local produce, local cider fresh pressed at area cider mills, local
salmon in season, etc. Milk was from local dairies. I gues it just depends on how committed the
commissary manager is to serving his customer base.

I've alsways found commissaries on Naval Stations inferior to Army and Air Force Commissaries - and
that's after almost 30 years of using them.

Sandi
 
N

Nancy Young

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
>
> fake name <[email protected]> wrote:

> > In my travels, the best supermarkets are hands down: Wegmans (Upstate NY) and Harris Teeter
> > (South). A bit pricy.. but well run.
>
> Wegman's is branching out. They have a few stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I heard from a
> Wegman's corporate representative that they are looking to open a Wegman's in Cherry Hill, near
> were I live in NJ. I can't wait for that to happen.

Darn it! I keep meaning to take a road trip to Wegman's (okay, it's not all that far) to check it
out. I just never think of it on a good day to go.

nancy
 
F

Fake Name

Guest
John... I shop at the commissary weekly.

I guess what I learned here: it's dependent on what commissary you have, and what local
markets you have.

I have good commissarys... and the local markets in Southern VA stink.

I imagine it's reversed for other people, including you: poor commissarys and good local markets.

Until this post, I didn't know how much commissaries varied across the board.
 
N

Nancy Young

Guest
The Joneses wrote:

> But the meat here at Ft Bliss is pretty darn good and the prices are very competitive.

My parents used to stop by unexpectedly on Saturday mornings on their way to the commissary to buy
meat. That struck me as funny (not the unexpected visits, I HATE that), oh, time to buy meat
again, is it?

Being an Army brat, I have many memories of commissaries and PXs. My favorite was in a fort on the
NYC harbor, it used to be a walled fort and it had grass on the roof. These are the things that make
a kid happy, grass roof camouflage.

nancy
 
M

Marecat

Guest
On 15 Feb 2004 14:35:31 GMT, [email protected] wrote:

>fake name <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>> I believe in small govt, so I am disappointed that the private sector can't hold a candle to the
>> commissary. On the other hand, it's nice to see the govt be better than the private sector at
>> something.
>
>As you said, military commissaries are heavily government subidized. Comparing a government run
>business that is available only to a select group of people to a privae one that's open to anyone
>who can pay is silly.
>
>> In my travels, the best supermarkets are hands down: Wegmans (Upstate NY) and Harris Teeter
>> (South). A bit pricy.. but well run.
>
>Wegman's is branching out. They have a few stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I heard from a
>Wegman's corporate representative that they are looking to open a Wegman's in Cherry Hill, near
>were I live in NJ. I can't wait for that to happen.

I've been to the Wegman's near where my brother lives, in Bethlehem, PA. Very nice store. I was
impressed. We have a lot of really good supermarkets and specialty stores in the Houston area, but I
wish we had Wegman's down here.
 
Y

Yeff

Guest
On Sun, 15 Feb 2004 14:32:01 -0500, Nancy Young wrote:

> Being an Army brat, I have many memories of commissaries and PXs. My favorite was in a fort on the
> NYC harbor, it used to be a walled fort and it had grass on the roof. These are the things that
> make a kid happy, grass roof camouflage.

The first time I was at Clark AB in the Philippines was for a medical TDY. I remember looking at the
commissary and thinking it looked like a bomb shelter. Once I got stationed there I learned that my
designated shelter was, you guessed it, the commissary.

-Jeff B. yeff at erols dot com
 
N

Nancree

Guest
>I think it all depends where the commissary is located. For example , the Kirtland AFB Commissary
>was great, and since NM charges "gross reciepts tax " on everything, including food, it made a lot
>of sense to drive to the Kirtland Commissary every once in awhile.
>
>I recently tried the Commissary at Randolph AFB and it is very inferior to the local HEB, the price
>difference is not that much, and the selection of fresh fruits and veggies is pretty bad.
>
>Having used Commissaries all over the world, I came to the conclusion that some a a lot better than
>others, some are so poor , that it is hardly worth my time.
>
>Rosie
============================
That's interesting. California supermarkets don't charge tax for food items. You only pay tax on non-
food items--paper towels, aspirin, laundry soap, drug items, etc.
 
S

stan

Guest
Nancree <[email protected]> wrote:

> That's interesting. California supermarkets don't charge tax for food items.

Same in NJ and PA.

> You only pay tax on non-food items--paper towels, aspirin, laundry soap, drug items, etc.

Best is Delaware where no consumer products, other than cars, are taxed.
 
S

S.Dunlap

Guest
[email protected] wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> Nancree <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > That's interesting. California supermarkets don't charge tax for food items.
>
> Same in NJ and PA.
>
> > You only pay tax on non-food items--paper towels, aspirin, laundry soap, drug items, etc.
>
> Best is Delaware where no consumer products, other than cars, are taxed.

No sales tax in Oregeon either.

Sandi
 
R

Rmiller

Guest
>================
>That's interesting. California supermarkets don't charge tax for food items.
>
>You only pay tax on non-food items--paper towels, aspirin, laundry soap, drug items, etc.
>

Yes, it is interesting, I do not remember living anywhere else that charged this on everything! Even
services.. getting hair cuts, nails done , massages etc. This all adds up, and also NM has a
personal income tax, I read somewhere...( i do not remember where) that NM has one of the very
highest anount of taxes collected in proportion to the amount of income. Texas has a sales tax and
large property taxes but as of yet.... no personal income tax! Rosie
 
J

John Gaughan

Guest
RMiller wrote:
> Yes, it is interesting, I do not remember living anywhere else that charged this on everything!
> Even services.. getting hair cuts, nails done , massages etc.

People demand government services and entitlements, the money has to come from somewhere.

--
John Gaughan http://www.johngaughan.net/ [email protected]
 
T

Tank

Guest
"jmcquown" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> It took me to show her: Mom, look how great these yellow squash look!
But,
> but, sales tax... yeah, but look how great these squash look! Then I
bought
> some and we went home and I made squash casserole for them :)
>
> Jill
>

Sales tax on food items? What state do you live in? In Ohio, there is no sales tax on food items, in
general. This excludes prepared, ready to eat foods, and carbonated beverages.

--
Tank

This Space To Let. Tax Free.
 
N

Nancy Young

Guest
MurphAssoc wrote:
>
> we have to remember, believing in small government aside, that government workers esp. the
> military, do not get a pay rate commensurate with what they would earn perhaps in the private
> sector - as a Navy kid I always understood it was to make up in some way for the low salary, as
> was base housing. JM

I don't think anyone is insinuating that the military doesn't deserve a break on groceries.

nancy