Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Trip to the Commissary

Some of my old readers may remember the days when my husband first joined the Army, it was over 4 years ago!  Can you believe it!?  Do you remember when we looked like this?:
Dec 2009
Nephi calls this picture "The time that Daddy was a pirate."
Our glorious Pre-Army days... *wink*

You may remember my adventures on Hill Air Force Base and Fort Douglas.  How scared I was so go on post all by myself while Ben was in training.  And you may remember my adventure when I went to the Hill Air Force Base commissary... I was pretty positive about it in my post (only mentioning they had some good deals), but mostly I was disappointed at the dinkiness (I know that is not REALLY a word... but it fits) of it.  I had heard a lot of hype up about the commissary, and was curious to see it.  What I found was a small store that didn't carry ANYTHING I needed, the produce was old and browning, and the meat wasn't properly wrapped.  Maybe I just went on a bad day.  But I am one of those people that judge a store by the quality of their produce (just as I judge a restaurant on the quality of their salads).

Needless to say, I never went back!

When we moved here, I was all about NOT going to the commissary.  I didn't care if their prices were lower than usual... but honestly, they weren't much better than Walmart anyway.  And Ben and I privately poked fun at the people who were mobbing the commissaries when they heard they were shutting down with the government.  I was all "Hello, there is a Walmart right outside the gates, people.  It isn't THAT big of a deal... you will survive!"

Now, here I am in Oklahoma.  There is no Smith's Food Town or Albertson's!!  There are no other supermarkets around other than Walmart... unless you count this shifty little spot that looks gang infested.  No thanks.  Then there is the commissary.  I picked to shop at Walmart for my food.  But Walmart has such a POOR selection of produce it makes me nearly cry every time I am looking for fresh bananas or lettuce.  As much as I love Oklahoma, I was suffering in the food quality department and my life felt unbalanced!  Sam's club had some mighty fine grapes, but that was about it.

Then today the boys and I took a trip to the PX to get some shoe laces.  Of course, I got more than I originally planned.  I feel in love with a running jacket, I HAD to have.
(Now, I know there are some military wives out there that like to poke fun of other military wives that like to sport their branch's swag... but they can kiss it, because I like to show my support of my hunky soldier hubby and his branch... and I like pink... a lot... and running too!)

The boys and I then ate at the food court along with a billion of other soldiers... today was a Basic training graduation and a LOT of privates were there with their families.  It was kind of fun to see them all so excited and happy to be together.

While we were eating, I realized that I needed a few food items for dinner tonight.  I didn't want to go all the way to Walmart.  Well, the commissary was right next door, and pay day was on Monday.... so it should be safe (I have heard all the horror stories of the commissary on pay day and I was NOT going to even tempt fate on that one!)  So I thought, what the heck, we can pop in and see what it is like.
The minute I walked in, I was stunned speechless.  There in front of me was the BIGGEST and FRESHEST produce section I had EVER seen!!!  I tried to take a picture, but only got less than a third of it!!  It stretched out far behind me and then out to the right as well.
They had every single type of fruit and veggie you could possibly think of plus a bunch of stuff you probably have never heard of too!  I even found fresh Horseradish root!!  No kidding!  I loaded up my cart like there was no tomorrow!  With no regards to whether or not I was going to be able to fit it all in my fridge!

The Ft. Sill commissary was freaking huge!  They had everything!  The boys and I wandered around for well over an hour just taking it all in.  And the prices WERE great!  The milk was a dollar cheaper, the produce was cheaper, and I literally almost started crying when I found a liter and half bottle of olive oil for 8 bucks!!! HOOAH!!  No wonder people were devastated when they shut down!!  I would be crying too!!

I was supremely satisfied with it all as we made our way to the check-out stand.

I did find it odd that there were these elderly Asian ladies rushing about vying to be the bagging ladies.  Two of them almost fought to bag my food... seriously.  I was all thinking, "Ladies, it doesn't matter who bags my sweet potatoes and pears... it's all the same anyway, right? Good grief!"

So one of the little ladies demanded to push my cart out to my car.  I felt like a total douche having this little grandma pushing out all my purchases.  We made it to my car and I even tried to help load them in and she was all slapping my hand away.  I was like, what the heck!?  Whatever....

Then as I got my kids in she was still standing there just staring at me.  I thanked her for her help and I told her that I hadn't been to this commissary before and I sure appreciated her bagging enthusiasm. She smiled and said that she did it for free.  She didn't get paid.  She was a volunteer.  BUT she accepted tips.


It all made sense now.  The fighting for the bagging job... the refusal to let me take out my own groceries... the standing there staring at me.  The HUGE hint, hint.

"Oh, well then, I had better tip you then, huh!?" I said with a smile.  I handed her a few bucks.  "Thank you so much for telling me, now I know!"  She smiled and took off.  I was really glad she told me, I would have felt like a bigger douche had I just driven away only to find out later we were suppose to tip!  I know in Utah every time I tried to tip a bagger that took my groceries out, they refused, so I stopped doing it.  But things are different at the commissary I suppose.

That's okay.  I don't mind tipping the baggers if I get my olive oil for dirt cheap.

So off we drove with our van full of fresh produce feeling happy!  It's been a good day!!

Walmart who?



Heidi said...

I used to love going to the commissary. It was a bummer when my ID card expired and I couldn't go anymore. I loved the cheaper prices and no tax!

Kayli Sue said...

I am such a humbug when it comes to tipping... But I always feel bad not tipping them! They are so sweet!