Commissary employees have just been given the approval to shop at base commissaries. Do you agree with this new policy?
There are roughly 14,000 people employed by DeCA and half already have shopping privileges for reasons such as being a military spouse, family member or a retired service member. That means there is still a potential additional 7,000 people that will now be able to shop at the commissary.
For years, there has been a debate over who should have commissary shopping rights. Do you think commissary employees have earned this benefit?
To be clear on the guidelines, commissary employees will be allowed to shop at the commissary starting at the end of the month, but their families will not.
There is no retirement benefit of continual shopping rights for commissary employees.
Once they no longer work for DeCA, they lose their shopping rights.
Commissary employees will not be able to buy tobacco or any controlled substances. Once wine and beer become available at commissaries later this summer, that will also be excluded.
Robert Bianchi, interim DeCA director and chief executive, said
Ultimately, the department believes that extending these limited benefits will further improve commissaries by giving employees a greater sense of ownership and understanding of the goods and services delivered to the millions of authorized patrons in commissaries worldwide.
I can see the reasoning behind that, but it doesn’t mean I agree with it. From an employee’s standpoint, working for a company and not being able to purchase the products you’re surrounded by would be frustrating.
Could you imagine being a cashier ringing up groceries all day and when your shift ends, you have to drive to a grocery store to buy what you need?
I’m not so much against commissary employees being able to shop where they work as much as I’m frustrated that they are the group that was chosen to receive this right. There has been a push to get the commissary shopping privilege extended to former military service members that some feel deserve the right to shop and have earned the right to do so, but do not qualify for one reason or another. Why are we denying these patriots a benefit but are OK with letting an average citizen have it?
A bill introduced in April known as the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 would expand the right to shop at the commissary to Purple Heart recipients, all veterans with a service-connected disability, Medal of Honor recipients, former prisoners of war, as well as veteran caregivers.
This isn’t the first time this proposal has been made. It was shot down before for reasons such as this is an “earned benefit” and where would they draw the line at defining that term.
Also, commissaries are funded with government subsidies. A large portion of that funding goes to pay commissary employees. If the pool of shoppers was opened up to include disabled veterans, then the need for a larger workforce and more infrastructure would cost the government much more money.
These are sound reasons, however, why did those get set aside when the topic came up of commissary employees getting the right.
How have commissary employees “earn” this benefit?
One thing I’d like to point out is that baggers are not commissary employees. They will not be able to shop at the commissary unless they have the right to do so for another reason.
Do you think a shelf stocker or custodian has earned the right more than baggers? Either way, since baggers are not commissary employees they won’t be spending their tip money on toilet paper sold at cost plus 5% at the commissary.
I hope that lawmakers take a serious look at the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018. If they can open shopping up to commissary employees, they should be able to find a way to make it work for former service members that have given so much and gotten so little.