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Prices & Savings

Question Answer

Do commissaries raise prices for payday?

Stateside commissaries change prices twice a month, as opposed to the private sector, where prices are changed weekly or more frequently. Commissary prices are changed on the 1st and 16th of each month and are usually in effect for 30 to 45 days. These price changes are generally about a 50-50 mix, with some prices being lowered as items go on a special promotion or sale and some raised as items come off a special promotion or sale. The number of price changes will vary, according to the size of the store, but prices throughout the store will always – and only – reflect the cost of the items to DeCA. Commissaries are required by law to sell products at cost plus surcharge, so we never make a profit on the products we sell.

You may see a product that was on a special promotion or sale revert to its regular commissary price on the 1st or 16th of the month, giving the impression that the price was raised for payday; however, this is not the case. All of our business systems and future price changes are geared toward these price-change dates, and our manufacturers have worked these dates into their pricing schedule as well, months in advance. DeCA has been a model for fiscal efficiency and accountability within the Department of Defense, delivering more than $2 in savings to customers for every taxpayer dollar used to support the system. Adjusting the dates of price changes in our business systems would require a substantial outlay of funds for DeCA, as well as our manufacturers and distributors, and would not result in greater savings to customers.

Question Answer

You claim that commissaries sell items at cost, and that I can save 30% or more by shopping in commissaries rather than in commercial stores, yet I can find items in commercial stores that are cheaper than in commissaries.

How can this be?

Commissaries are required by law to sell items at prices set only high enough to recover item cost, with no profit or overhead factored into item price, and our pricing procedures adhere rigorously to this legislative requirement.

You may find selected items at lower prices in commercial stores for several reasons.

One reason is that commercial stores often sell items as "loss leaders" at prices below their cost prices to attract customers who they hope will buy other high profit items during their shopping trip to get the low price "loss leaders."

Because commissaries are required by law to sell items at cost-neither higher nor lower – we can't offer "loss leaders."

Another reason is that commercial firms may buy into "deals" offered by suppliers that are not available to DeCA, or that DeCA does not buy into some "deals." Although our buyers negotiate vigorously to get the best possible price on every item sold in commissaries, there are times when our buyers cannot develop a good business case for accepting certain "deals" offered by suppliers.

However, although you may find selected items at lower prices in commercial stores, our price surveys provide convincing evidence that-if you shop regularly in a commissary for all or virtually all of your grocery needs--you will save 30 percent or more on your grocery bill versus what you would pay in a commercial store for the same array of items.

Question Answer

What's DeCA policy if - during checkout - I notice that an item scans at a higher price than the price for the item posted on a shelf or display?

DeCA personnel will honor the posted price. If an incorrect lower price is displayed, the patron pays only the displayed price.

Question Answer

How can I view promotional prices for my commissary?

Our customers who live in the continental United States may view promotional prices for their commissaries by hovering over the above "Shopping" tab and selecting "Savings Aisle", then clicking the "Login" link on the following page. Please note that customers may view the percentage of savings for sale items without needing to log in. Customers are only required to log in to view prices. Promotional prices for commissaries in Alaska and Hawaii, as well as stores overseas, are not available on Savings Aisle at this time, but we hope to add this capability in the future.

Question Answer

Why am I required to enter the last four digits of my Social Security Number, date of birth and name to log into the Savings Aisle?

We are required by DoD Instruction 1330.17 to assure we only share our prices with authorized customers. Therefore, we must use the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, database to verify your status as an authorized customer and grant you access to our promotional prices. This process requires customers to provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number, date of birth, first and last name. However, we do not store the information we collect, and we only use it to verify your privilege. When you submit your login information, it is encrypted via Secure Sockets Layer, commonly known as SSL, for security purposes. Rest assured that the Defense Commissary Agency is dedicated to protecting you and your privacy and that your communications on are secure.

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