When the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) announced several weeks ago that they were launching a test run at Fort Lee of the new commissary coupon scan card could hardly believe my eyes. At long last there was a glimmer of hope that this mythical benefit, which we had been told would launch last year, was out there. But when would it be coming to ME and YOU and, well, anyone not stationed at Fort Lee?
A quick phone call to DeCA (and several weeks of waiting for them to call me back) brought this answer: they are continually rolling out the card to more and more bases and so it will be coming to you (wait for it ...) ... soon.
The coupon card works similarly to cards used at civilian grocery stores in that it stores a variety of coupons on it. A scan at the checkout will pull the applicable coupons off, and deduct them from your bill.
But that’s where the similarities end. Unlike those cards, coupons are not available at a variety of sites – you can only load them from this part of the commissary website. Additionally, you are not able to use both an e-coupon and a paper coupon for the same product. (Bummer, right?) And the coupons available electronically will likely be the same ones available on paper, according to a spokesman with DeCA. So having the card will simply mean less paper in your pocket – not more savings.
Since I’m all about making life easier and eliminating the chances of me leaving my coupons home yet again, that’s OK with me. But my personal opinion is that it would make more sense if those on the e-card and those available on paper were different.
“When can I get my card?” you ask."WHEN???"
According to DeCA the card is currently available in 27 stores. They are: NAS Oceana, Va.; Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah; NAS Key West, Fla.; and Sembach Air Base, Germany; Eglin AFB, Fla.; Fort Carson, Colo.; NAS Whidbey Island, Wash.; Beale AFB, Calif.; NAS LeMoore, Calif.; Moffett Field, Calif.; MCB Camp Pendleton, Calif.; MCLB Barstow, Calif.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; NS Newport, R.I.; NAS Patuxent River, Va.; Fort McCoy. Wis.; Langley AFB, Va.; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Vogelweh AB, Germany; U.S. Army Garrison Bamburg, Germany; Edwards AFB, Calif.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; RAF Mildenhall, England; Izmir AB, Turkey; Fort Lewis, Wash.
As you can see, that’s quite the variety of locations. And since they are continually rolling the commissary coupon card to more stores, the chances of it getting to you in the next several months are pretty high.
Sadly my commissary is not yet included, or I would be out there in a hot second testing the card and reporting back to you. But I know we have readers in many, if not all, of these locations. Has anyone used the card? How did it go?
The good people of DeCA would like to note, for the record, that this is still in the pilot stages and that they are still working out kinks in the scanning system. So if you do use the card, please be patient with your friendly cashier – just like I know you are when using any coupons.