Is selling liquor at the commissaries a good idea?
A study is currently being conducted to determine the feasibility of selling distilled spirits at the commissaries. At the end of July, 12 commissaries began selling beer and wine as part of a 90-day trial. So far, the trial has gone well.
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) reported $70,658 in revenue from beer and wine sales by mid-August. That’s simply from 12 commissaries. When the trial ends, all commissaries will begin selling beer and wine.
DeCA does not need approval from the government to add distilled spirits to its shelves. That means you could be seeing liquor in the commissary in the near future.
Is Selling Liquor at the Commissary a Good Idea?
Alcohol abuse is common in the military. It isn’t just the service members that have a problem with alcohol. Military spouses do as well.
One of the reasons members of the Defense Department cited for wanting to add liquor to the sales floor was convenience. They said it was inconvenient for people to have to make multiple stops throughout their day to buy groceries and liquor.
Yes, it would certainly be more convenient to buy everything you need in one location.
The question though is, is selling liquor at the commissary a good idea?
If the commissary sells hard liquor, does the government become an enabler for service members abusing alcohol?
Problems stemming from the misuse of alcohol have cost the military greatly in terms of both money and productivity.
A study found that alcohol abuse costs the government $1.12 billion annually. That includes medical costs, the loss of 320,000 work days, 10,400 active duty service members becoming unable to deploy as well as 2,200 that separated from the military for alcohol-related reasons.
There are as many as 34,400 arrests each year of service members that involve alcohol.
These numbers are staggering.
Those on Capitol Hill said that of course the military does not condone excessive drinking and therefore, commissaries are not to glorify it. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokeswoman, had this to say,
Like all other activities on the installation, the commissaries will fully support the department’s programs, policies, and procedures to deglamorize the use of alcohol and discourage its irresponsible use. To this end, the commissary stores will offer only a limited assortment of beer and wines, and will be prohibited from engaging in marketing practices that would glamorize the sale or use of alcoholic beverages.”
A lack of advertising isn’t going to prevent a service member or a family member from binge drinking. The military has not provided any information on the effects of having liquor readily available at commissaries.
Hopefully this feasibility study will include information about alcohol abuse and not just profit potential.
The proposal to sell liquor at commissaries should not necessarily only focus on the people that have a problem with alcohol. There are many patrons of the commissary that are responsible drinkers.
Should they be given the opportunity to purchase liquor in the commissary?
Would shoppers prefer to keep liquor in places such as Class Six stores?
That’s what the feasibility study is really about. The results of the study are expected to be delivered by the end of next month.