Facing the Commis-scary

Four tips to help prepare you for shopping at your local Commissary.

This is embarrassing, but I fully admit to being scared of shopping at the Commissary when I first got married. I’m not really sure what it was about it that scared me. Maybe it was the guards at the gate that I had to show my shiny new military I.D. to, maybe it was the fear of navigating the maze of aisles by myself…maybe it was even just the silly fear of being frazzled, loaded down with groceries and running into one of my husband’s “co-workers” or bosses. Whatever it was, it kept me from utilizing the commissary very frequently, if at all. However, I quickly discovered that there was a significant difference in the cost of a trip to the normal grocery store and the cost of a trip to the Commissary. I decided for the good of our bank account I had to suck it up and learn to brave the Commissary’s halls. Here are four tips I’ve learned from shopping at my local Commissary that will hopefully help your next, or first, Commissary experience be not so Commi-SCARY:

  • Do not, I repeat, do not go to the Commissary on payday. When I first heard someone give me this advice, I laughed, thinking that they must be joking. After all, how bad could it be? Oh, how naïve I was. I chose to ignore that advice when I received it and went unthinkingly to the commissary on payday a couple weeks later…and I am still shell shocked from the harrowing experience. From the long voyage to find a sole available shopping cart, the ruthless battle over the last can of chicken broth, to the life shortening length of the check-out line, I have learned my lesson. Take it from someone who learned the hard way, do not go to the Commissary on payday. Or the day after payday. Or the weekend after payday. Don’t even look at the Commissary on these days. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.
  • Don’t forget to bring some cash for tips. This is an obvious one to seasoned spouses but it is also a mistake often made by new spouses. You will never feel more shameful than when you realize that the person bagging your 50 million bags of groceries at the Commissary works solely off tips and that you don’t have any cash on you. Save the embarrassment and show some gratitude by always having a few dollars on you for a tip when you head to the Commissary.

Is commissary shopping the BEST way to each healthy?

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