Commissaries support agent shopping for installations that establish a program to recruit, connect volunteers with patrons who need service
FORT LEE, Va. – The Defense Commissary Agency recently announced it will support an agent shopping service at local commissaries where installation leaders establish a process to recruit volunteers and connect them with the customers who need this service.
“We and leaders on the installations we serve recognize that during this pandemic there are some customers who for personal safety reasons should avoid public places and shopping for themselves,” said James “Jay” Hudson, principal deputy director of DeCA’s Store Operations Group. “So at some locations, volunteers organized and managed by installation leadership are shopping for those who can’t.”
Local store directors have reached out to their installation leadership to let them know about the agent shopping program. This is how the program works: The installation identifies a group to manage it. Some posts, for example, selected the chaplains’ office, or a spouses club. The installation’s managing group finds volunteers and advertises the program. Then they inform their local commissary that they have established an agent shopping program.
The following installations are currently participating: Ansbach, Stuttgart (Kelley Barracks, Panzer Kaserne and Robinson Barracks) in Germany; Aviano Air Base, Italy; Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland; Fort Hamilton, New York; and Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
The installation is responsible for:
- recruiting and registering volunteers who are authorized to shop
- providing a dedicated telephone number or command website/email inbox for patrons to call in or electronically submit orders
- briefing volunteers on the process and providing instructions and order sheets
- assigning each patron to a volunteer shopper, who contacts the customer, takes their order, goes to the store to complete the shopping transaction and arranges for the delivery or the pickup of purchases by customers
The commissary is responsible for:
- ringing up the order. Once completed, a designated commissary employee calls the customer to get credit card information.
- printing two receipts once credit card has been processed – one for the customer and one for the commissary’s records.
This agent shopper program will be available while DOD is in health protection condition (HPCON) C or D, Hudson said. However, the program may be terminated at HPCON A or B because of Department of Treasury policies that govern DeCA’s telephonic credit card transactions.
PHOTO CAPTION: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Sherraye Carter, 606th Air Control Squadron unit deployment manager, bags produce at the commissary on Aviano Air Base, Italy, March 30. Carter volunteered to help pick up and deliver groceries to people who can't get them themselves. (Air Force photo: Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.