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Welcome to Commissary Connection on DoDLive!

We’ve got some exciting news to share: Your Commissary is joining the Department of Defense WordPress blogging network, DoDLive!

Not to overhype this, but we’re pretty excited about it, and we hope you will be, too! This blog will be another outlet for the Defense Commissary Agency to connect with our authorized customers in the military community, which means we can share news and information with you and learn what you think about it.

In fact, as the agency’s Consumer Advocate, that’s what my role is: to connect with you, learn more about what matters to you and share relevant information that helps you make the most of this cherished benefit.

After all, that’s what makes Your Commissary special: first and foremost, this is a benefit that was designed to serve and support the military community, and has proudly done so for nearly 150 years. That means we have a special connection to our customers, and we are here for you.

And that is what Commissary Connection is all about: through these blog posts, I hope to convey how much we cherish our connection to the military community and learn how we can make that connection even deeper. I want to write about topics that are relevant and important to you, so I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to comment and share what you would like to see here!

If you’ve subscribed to the Defense Commissary Agency’s email list, you probably recognize the “Commissary Connection” name. This blog uses the same name because it is an extension of our consumer advocacy efforts, so the philosophy behind it is the same as our email alerts: connecting with you and keeping you informed!

We invite you to subscribe to receive Commissary Connection emails, if you haven’t done so already. We are planning some exciting updates to our email alerts, as well, and we want to help you stay up-to-date on the latest news and information about Your Commissary!

  • wildgrrl

    One thing I would love to see changed is the practice of paying baggers solely with tips. It makes me feel very uncomfortable, and I never know if I am tipping too much or too little (typically I tip $1 for ever $50 of purchases). I would happily pay a few cents more on items, or bag them myself (I already bring my own bags to the Commissary) in order not to have to keep dollar bills in my wallet for tipping. I would also shop more frequently at the Commissary if I didn’t have to tip the baggers.

    • Thanks for your comment! The reason baggers work for tips only is because they are not Commissary employees, but rather self-employed licensees of the installation commander.

      However, bagger service is always voluntary and optional, so tipping is not mandatory… just notify your cashier before checkout begins that you will be bagging and carrying out your own groceries!

  • Donald Van Buren

    1. I also would like to see the baggers get compensated (pay and benefits) via slightly higher prices rather than rely on tips. I do not recall reading why the baggers are not paid commissary employees but I would like to see that in the highly likely event that status quo continues for at least the near term. 2. I would like to see the posted (shelf) prices bumped up by the 5% surcharge so that we know the real price of each item. I would also like to know why the surcharge is an added cost rather than built into the cost per item.

    • Thanks for your feedback! You can find more information about baggers on our website’s “Frequently Asked Questions” section here: http://www.commissaries.com/documents/contact_deca/faqs/bagging_carryout.cfm.

      As for the surcharge, this is a legal requirement. Congress has also mandated the amount of the surcharge and the purposes for which these funds may be used.

    • cocoa c

      Those who would like to see the baggers get more or be on the “payroll” should then inurn tip them more. I for one am not a socialist and can’t see paying someone’s wages. If the baggers or others think the baggers don’t get enough then get another job. There is way to much of a free ride in this county and to many people are offering other peoples money to pay for what they want.

  • Yvonne smiley

    I would like to have a way to get a list of the items offered in a case lot sale and prices. This is a need for patrons traveling from out of town. We have no way of knowing if it is worth the drive. Also I have seen prices different at different bases for same item. So you have no way of knowing if you should wait and purchase at another sale.

    • Thank you for sharing your suggestion, Von! Unfortunately, we are not able to share case lot sale prices publicly at this time.

      However, store directors select their case lot sale products from a national promotional package and other sources, so I would encourage you to contact your store director to discuss the product selection and your request for a product list . You can find your store’s contact information on our website here: http://www.commissaries.com/realign_maps/alpha_list.cfm.

    • Mama J

      Ours included the Easter outdated items, regular prices on most items and cases of cereal at regular price. The real kick in the pants, one cereal was at a “sale” price in the tent but almost a dollar cheaper inside!
      Actual discounts were Coke products and Presto brand plastic bags and other products!

      Langley secret handshake croud was active as normal too! That is a whole different story though! Hard to fix when those in charge are the main culprits!

  • NF CJ

    I agree with comments from previous posts, especially those about the baggers. It’s frustrating to realize you forgot to get dollars, or deciding how much, etc. I often choose my local Aldi’s over a trip to the commissary for a few items. If nothing more, at least remove the tip can from the express lane and let me bag my own items.

    • Hi NF CJ, we don’t want you to feel frustrated! We want shopping at Your Commissary to be a pleasant experience!

      You can rest assured that bagger service is voluntary and optional at any checkout lane… just notify your cashier before checkout begins that you will be bagging and carrying out your own groceries! I hope this helps!

  • Von

    Should prices vary from one commissary to another on same item in case lot sale.

    • Von, I would encourage you to ask about this through our customer comment form and share any specifics regarding the product(s) and commissaries in question so we can look into this for you. You can find that form on our website here: http://www.commissaries.com/contactdeca.cfm. Thanks!

  • Mama J

    DOD Live: is this just going to be another way to ignore us just on a national level and at a faster speed?
    How about just giving one answer of “We don’t care because we have a regulation that says we can do it this way” and connect that to a hyperlink with numbers 1-10. All the numbers can link to the same statement but with different numbers. You answer with rotating numbers which are hyperlinks and when we click it we get sent to your standard reply.
    Like this, us minions or whatever you refer to us as, will feel we had your attention long enough to get a reply.

    • We received your submission to our customer comment form regarding the issues you mentioned in your other blog comment. Thank you for sharing this feedback with us, because we certainly do care about your Commissary shopping experience and we want it to be positive! We have been researching these issues and understand that store management will be contacting you directly to address the concerns you raised.

  • Cherie Dixon

    We had our case sale this month and I was told that it would probably be our last. That they can’t afford the tent and don’t make any money on the sale. Looked like there was a lot of people buying a lot of stuff to me.

    • I apologize for any misinformation you may have received claiming that we have decided that we will no longer hold case lot sales, as this is not accurate. We are still in the midst of wrapping up our current case lot sales, but when we have more information to share about any future sales, we will certainly make an announcement.

      If you would like to fill out our customer comment form and let us know which commissary told you that, we would be glad to follow up with store management to prevent any further confusion. You can find that form on our website here: http://www.commissaries.com/contactdeca.cfm.

  • Major Tom Daly US Army Retired

    1st=Customer Service needs to improve dramatically, you all need highly identifiable store representatives mixing with the customers inside and outside the store identifying/ and solving problems plus answering questions. Not with clipboards and stupid questions, but with person to person contact. (The stores contracted stockers etc are not store representatives).
    Actual Commissary employees/representatives need to realize that their performance/jobs depend on the customers using the store!

    2nd=The latest flyer lists % saved only, not the final cost to a customer, list both. There is no mention of Produce/Meat/Deli/Dairy savings ever in the flyers but we the customers know there are some usually. The customers need these to plan their shopping/meal experience. The latest flyer start date was the 5th of June however I received it the 9th.

    3rd=Are the shopping carts and baskets ever steam cleaned and inspected for problems, what is the procedure? Broken or missing child restraint straps seem to be a problem especially on the carts specifically designed for one or two children.

    4th=In my experience as a bagger, it is the bagger who talks to and is the most interactive with the customers. The baggers tips only situation should be highly recognizable to the customers, and the baggers should not be treated as second class, the store owes you nothing people.
    My experience as a bagger who reported problems to in store representatives were mostly go see somebody else, not my job, or I’ll report it with little action.
    Sadly if I posted the problems to Facebook things usually happened for the better but it was obvious that it took pressure from above not smart employees to solve the problem.

    Finally I identified a major tripping problem on one of the disabled ramps leading to the store, that had and was causing people to trip and carts to overturn. The store Rep said not our problem call the base personnel, and I did! After a series of e-mails to base ops it was fixed, but it took aggressiveness on my part to get a satisfactory result.

    Thanks

    • Major Daly, thank you for your service and for visiting the blog! We produce two versions of the sales flyer – one with savings percentages and one with prices – because customers are required to confirm their commissary shopping privileges to access the version with prices. You can find links to both versions in our Commissary Connection email alerts and on our official website.

      What you may have noticed is that, in the most recent email alert, I did remove the “Savings Aisle” link that had been under the “Sales & Promotions” block, because the Savings Aisle is currently offline due to software issues that we are working to resolve. However, the version of the sales flyer with prices is still accessible by clicking the image in that block.

      As for the timing, the most recent Commissary Connection email was distributed on June 8. While these emails often share current promotional information, they are not intended to announce when the sales flyer is released. However, we do post that information on Facebook and Twitter, and we keep both versions of the sales flyer updated on our website.

      Regarding the other items you mentioned, we previously received and addressed these comments through our customer comment program. If you have any further questions or concerns about those issues, I recommend that you discuss them directly with your store director or head bagger, as appropriate.

  • Major Tom Daly US Army Retired

    A few questions come to mind;
    1) What is the Commissaries boss, which organization, Chain of Command so to speak!

    2) Why are there so few actual Store Representatives not in the aisles talking to customers and getting the customer input. No clipboards and surveys, just, Hi how are you, can I be of help! How can we make things better. And least not forget outside the store, helping disabled customers who should be a priority, and not met with a sign on a electric cart emphasizing, (Not To Be Used Outside of Store). So they hobble in and out. The parking lot is a extension of the commissary.

    3) Sanitary Inspection Score Cards, where are these in a Commissary, have never seen one at the Deli or Meat Dept. These scores should be well posted, as in big enough for the customer to read. If Commissaries do not fall under Local State Inspections prodigal then how are they inspected and where are the results posted.

  • Major Tom Daly US Army Retired

    In reply to David Van, I, an experienced bagger would not ever expect Commissaries to make baggers part of the workforce! In fact, I believe, if the roof caved in at a Commissary the baggers are on their own. The fact you are required by the Commissary to sign a document stating that you are just short of being a Human Being for the privilege of working there is the deal.
    Tipping is essential to the baggers and the response you received from Commissary HQ, as in pack your own groceries shows their lack of Customer Care and arrogance, (Consumer Reports Customer Care rating for Commissaries is Not Good as in Not Good).
    Here is food for thought;
    1) A bagger gets no other compensation other then tips

    2) A bagger spends 15 minutes or more, not adding the wait time to be primary bagger, packing groceries and delivering these to a customers vehicle on a typical order of let’s say $150.00. 15 minutes = 25% of an hour and at $10.00 an hour would = $2.50. It should be noted that $2.50 is 3.75% of $150, much less then a customer paid in taxes and surcharges that were not present in human effort.
    3) Some customers know what is appropriate and basically give about $2.50 per $150 and some give a $1.00 for $300.00 worth of effort.
    4) Baggers are not there to get rich they are there to help you and make some money why not?
    5) So a $3 tip would be nice but a $5 tip would be nicer, or Commissary HQ says pack your own.

    By the way pack your own does not make sense, (not that the Commissary does much of that), because it would take much, much longer for the customer to clear the check-out therefore they would have to hire more checkers. Thanks