Why You Should Be Tipping the Commissary Baggers
There is something special about the Commissary. This is the place you can go on your duty station to buy groceries. In a lot of places, you will save money by doing so, although that isn’t always the case and isn’t the case for every item in the store. Some Commissaries are pretty big, and some are pretty small, depending on your duty station.
The Commissary is one of the many military benefits your service member receives when they start serving their country. This started back in 1825 when Army officers could make purchases. In 1841, they could start buying for their immediate families too. In 1867, enlisted service members could start buying at the Commissary.
The first overseas Commissary opened in 1899/1900 in the Philippines and China. While just the Army had Commissaries at first, the Navy and the Marines Corp opened their first stores in 1909/10 and the Air Force in 1947/48. These days, all service members, including the National Guard and Reserves as well as Retirees can shop at the Commissary.
You can read more about the history of the Commissary on their website!
The Commissary is meant to be comparable to what you can find in a regular grocery store.
But for a cheaper cost. While this, of course, isn’t always the case these days, and not for every product, overall shopping there can save you a bit of money.
The Defence Commissary Agency (DeCA) was established in 1990 and they are who run the Commissary today. Commissaries sell at cost and we pay a surcharge which helps with new stores and renovations. Baggers work for tips only and they are not government or commissary employees but considered self-employed.
Baggers at the Commissary are not the same as baggers at your local grocery store.
So why should you always tip your bagger?
I have heard some pushback about having to tip the baggers. Do you have to do so? What if you want to take the groceries out yourself? What if they don’t do a good job?
The thing to remember is that while the Commissary can resemble and look like your regular old grocery store, they are not. They are a military benefit to help you save money on your groceries. Because of this, things are done a little bit differently. The only money the baggers make is what they get from tips.
If a commissary bagger brings your groceries to your car, please tip them.
Do you have to? Well no, if you don’t, no one is going to write you up or give you a ticket but it is not a nice way to treat your baggers. If you don’t have any cash to give them, know that you can get cash back when you pay, and the cashiers are pretty used to people asking for that.
If you can’t do that or don’t want to use the baggers, you also don’t have to do that either. Most Commissaries have a self-checkout section that you can use.
I have been using the Commissary since 2006 and 99% of the baggers I have met have been good at what they do and are simply trying to earn an income. They range from high school students to stay at home moms to older spouses. They do the best they can and tipping them is so important.
How much you tip really depends on what you feel is comfortable.
Most people tip between $3-5 depending on how many groceries they have. Some, of course, give more and some give a little extra when the weather isn’t as nice or on a holiday. Some pay by the bag or dollar amount spent.
In the end, if you go to the Commissary and use a bagger, make sure to tip them. If you don’t want to do that, if you don’t feel comfortable with that, don’t use the bagger or shop somewhere else. Don’t stiff your bagger, be nice to them, it’s the right thing to do!