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Consumer Watch: Online exchange adds new footwear lines

Aug. 5, 2010 - 02:18PM   |   Last Updated: Aug. 5, 2010 - 02:18PM  |  
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Nike and Under Armour shoes are coming to the exchange online store by mid-August.

The initial selection will be fairly small — but those selections are considered best-sellers in the exchange brick-and-mortar stores, according to exchange online mall footwear merchandise manager Erica Cordova.

These offerings are added to the 275 different styles of men's, women's and children's athletic shoes already available online from a variety of manufacturers such as Asics and New Balance.

The online prices will match prices in brick-and-mortar stores — a discount of 15 percent off the manufacturer's suggested retail price. There is no tax, but you do have to pay for shipping, unless you use the Military Star card or if your purchase is more than $49.95.

It's the exchange online store's first foray into Nike and Under Armour footwear, using a conservative approach to gauge customer reaction, Cordova said.

The store will offer eight Nike shoe styles — four men's and four women's — and five Under Armour shoe styles — two men's, two women's and one kids'.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service operates the exchange online store for all the military service exchanges. Visit the store at www.aafes.com, www.cg-exchange.com, www.navy-nex.com or www.usmc-mccs.org. Any authorized exchange customer can shop at the online store through any of these websites, regardless of branch of service.

As always, comparison shop: Check for sales in local civilian department stores and discount stores and online.

Commissary savings revisited

If you haven't visited your commissary lately, you might want to stop in.

Defense Commissary Agency officials have honed their method of comparing their prices with prices in civilian stores — separating food items from nonfood items. The overall savings of 31.7 percent, reported earlier this year, remains the same. But savings in the food-only category is 32 percent, and for the nonfood category, 30.5 percent, commissary officials said.

Savings rates traditionally have been based on comparisons between commissary sales figures and the Agriculture Department's moderate-cost food plan statistics, a continuous survey measure of household grocery-store purchases, according to commissary officials.

Those statistics are based on food purchases only, while the commissary data included both food and nonfood items, such as paper products and beauty items.

When you separate the cost of edibles, an average single person saves $1,158.08 per year on food items by shopping at the commissary. An average family of four saves $3,351.22 a year, and a family of five saves $3,720.22, according to commissary calculations.

Add in the savings on nonfood products, and a single person saves $1,530.26 a year; a family of four saves $4,428.24; and a family of five saves $4,915.82.

Save for the holidays

If you live near a Navy exchange, check out the new holiday club saving card.

It's a pilot program offered at most main Navy exchanges worldwide, so check with your exchange to make sure it's participating.

You deposit money on the card as often as you like to save up for holiday purchases. A one-time, 3 percent reward will be credited to all active cards based on the card balance as of 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Oct. 2.

The minimum value of the card is $5; the maximum is $1,455. The card has no fees or expiration dates and can be used to pay for most merchandise at exchanges on Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps installations.

Green but clean

Reusable shopping bags are a big hit with commissary patrons, but remember to keep them clean, says Kay Blakley, home economist for the Defense Commissary Agency.

Think about it. You're putting meat and poultry, produce and dairy items in the bags. You bring the bags home, unload them, reuse them. A few bits of lettuce mixed with a couple of drips of raw meat or poultry juice … not so good.

Blakley's tips for staying safe:

• Designate certain bags for different groceries. Perhaps mark some bags specifically to be used for produce, and some for meat and poultry.

• Use plastic bags in the meat and produce aisles to wrap and enclose items before placing them in the reusable bags.

• After emptying the bags at home, wipe off the table or counter surface where the bags were sitting.

• Try to choose bags that can be washed with hot water and laundry detergent, and let them air dry.

• For nonwashable bags, spot clean with a clean cloth and soap, rinse with clear water and dry thoroughly before using or storing.

• Store bags in a clean, dry place.

———

Questions or comments? E-mail staff writer kjowers@militarytimes.com?subject=Question from ArmyTimes.com reader">Karen Jowers at kjowers@militarytimes.com?subject=Consumer%20Watch:%20Online%20exchange%20adds%20new%20footwear%20lines">kjowers@militarytimes.com.

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