The Commissary: Tipping and Being Proactive
The Commissary (base grocery store) here is the smallest one I have ever seen. It is difficult to turn around in this store it's so small. But, are the people who work there are incredibly friendly!

When we moved from Elemendorf AFB to Grand Forks AFB I went into shock, from a lot of different things, but mainly from the size of the Commissary. The difference was immense.
When we were living in Vermont, once in awhile we would drive down to Hanscom AFB to grocery shop and enjoy Boston. The Commissary at Hanscom is huge. I loved it! Here, not so much. But size isn't a big deal for me - it's the availability of products that really matters.

I found that the Commissary here had a fair amount of healthy and organic products, for the size. But, I wanted more. I'm a 'Gimme Jimmy' when it comes to grocery stores. I saw that my store, and I'm quite sure all Commissaries, had these little cards that you could fill out requesting them to carry a certain product. Right away I grabbed one and filled that baby out. I requested that they carry the Rudi's brand whole grain tortillas. I had seen and tried them them while we were visiting Holloman AFB. They were delicious and a product I couldn't find anywhere in my town. I knew asking my Commissary to start carrying these tortillas would be a safe bet - if DECA has already approved Rudi's brand of bread products to be sold, adding another product in the brand line would be simple. And sure enough, it was. My Commissary now carries the tortillas!

Now, let's talk about organic produce. There was a sprinkling - a light sprinkling - in my Commissary. It was rather depressing for a girl coming from Vermont, where everything is organic, to New Mexico where they say: Huh, what's organic?!

So, what did I do? I started asking to talk to the produce manager. I found her and we talked about organic produce and how it all worked. She said she would e-mail me the list of organic produce that would be coming into the store each week.
This was a major score! Now I know ahead of time what organic produce to expect - even how much it will be costing me! She also told me to let her know if I wanted her to look into buying and carrying anything else. So, I did. I asked her about organic potatoes. She looked into it and now.... my Commissary sells organic potatoes on a regular basis. And bananas. That was another thing I asked about.

Proactive is my method. It doesn't always solve the problem all at once, but I strongly believe by the time we leave this base, the Commissary will be geared more towards the healthy eater.
And as we all know, the grocery prices at the Commissary are low, low, low. And the prices they put organic food at follows that same rule. It is cheap to buy organic at the Commissary.

Now, I have a question for you. I want to know how much you tip the bagger. Do you have a method? Or, do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Personally, I go through the self-checkout. This is a sticky point between Daniel and I. He loathes the self-checkout lane while I love it. Not only do I get to bag my groceries just the way I like them, and no one else's germy hands are touching my produce or slamming my tomatoes on the belt, I don't have to tip anyone to bag. This opinion may not sit well with some of you. I just don't like having to tip someone for a job I'd rather do myself, or is free at any other store I shop at.

If I, for some reason, have to go through the checkout lane and a bagger takes care of my groceries, I will tip 2 dollars. Across the board. I'm stingy like that.

Talk to me - what do you do?

*Post from 1 year ago today: "Safety First, People"
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