We love shopping at the commissary, but there are still a few things that each of us would like to see improved upon.
Here are the top 10 changes we would love to see the commissary make.
Extended Shopping Hours. Commissary business hours are not consistent across the board. Some are open 7 days a week while others are closed on Mondays for restocking. The small commissary on NSF Dahlgren is closed on Sundays and Mondays and only open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the rest of the week, with an extra hour on Tuesdays.
Bigger bases have longer hours though. Little Creek commissary in Virginia Beach is open 7 days a week. They have early bird entry at 8:30 a.m. and regular hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (on Sundays they close at 7 p.m. though). We all like shopping at the commissary, but when you need a last-minute item, the commissary may already be closed.
Wider Aisles. If you go to the commissary early in the morning, you’re going to run into retirees and parents shopping with their young children. If you’ve ever tried to pass either of these customers down an aisle in the commissary, you know it’s a hard thing to do. Most aisles are too narrow. There ends up being a line of people waiting to go around someone that is looking at a product or attending to their children.
More Free Samples. Adults and children love free samples. Giving kids something to snack on makes shopping easier as they are busy with their treats. Consumers are more likely to purchase a product once they have tried it as well, which increases sales.
Continually Stocked Shelves. Due to shipping complications, some commissary shoppers overseas have had issues with product availability. This past year, overseas commissaries were faced with food shortages that led to disappointment among those commissary patrons that rely heavily on the commissary for their groceries.
More Made in America Products. We have an International aisle, so why don’t we have an American aisle? It is really hard to find things made in America. You have to search labels for the country of origin. Some companies proudly advertise it on the front, which makes more of us inclined to purchase it. If, for example, you wanted to buy apple juice made with apples grown only in the United States you won’t be able to do that. They all contain apples from multiple countries.
Bigger Organic Selection. We are all trying to feed our families healthy meals by being better informed on product quality. More and more customers are purchasing organic items and the demand is increasing. Many markets offer large organic sections, having both an organic produce area and an entire aisle dedicated to organic products. You don’t see nearly as much of this in the commissaries.
Coffee Shop Inside the Commissary. It doesn’t have to be Starbucks necessarily, well maybe for some picky consumers it does. Some commissaries have a free cup of coffee station at the entrance, but that is just a tease. Many military installations have contracts with Starbucks, Einstein Bagels, Dunkin Donuts and more for coffee shops in the food courts, but we’re talking about getting a deliciously brewed beverage right there in the commissary. It isn’t as far fetch either as lucky commissary patrons in California already have this perk.
More Fun Kid Friendly Shopping Carts. Some of the commissaries have spaceship shopping carts or other designs with pretend steering wheels for children to ride in while their parents shop. The problem is that there are only a few of these.
Once your child has spotted one they’ll ask to ride in one each time you venture to the commissary and finding one can be difficult.
Adding a few more to each commissary would be great. Many grocery stores also have child size shopping carts so they can have their own cart to push and feel like they are truly helping shop.
No More Plastic Bag. Plastic bags are already banned in multiple states. It’s time that the commissary joins the crusade to help the environment. Paper bags are a better option and reusable bags are also available for purchase the commissary.
Order Online and Curbside Pickup. There are grocery stores that already offer this perk. It would be great if the commissary did too. It would be especially helpful to people that find it hard to get inside to shop, particularly elderly, disabled and parents with babies and small children. There is a program being tested. Hopefully it is successful and becomes a commissary benefit.