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DeCA starts test run for curbside commissary pickup

Aug. 6, 2013 - 10:14AM   |  
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Have you ever dreamed of getting the benefits of low commissary prices without the hassle of the crowds?

That dream may come true in the near future.

It’s not home delivery, but it’s the next best thing: A “CLICK2GO” test began at the Fort Lee, Va., store on July 10, allowing customers to order online, then pick up their groceries curbside at the commissary.

It will expand to commissaries at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., on Aug. 20, and Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., on Sept. 24. The test at Fort Lee will last for at least 12 months before it expands to more locations. Officials want to evaluate its popularity with customers and its operational effectiveness.

Customers are charged the price of the item at pickup, plus the 5 percent commissary surcharge. For the first year, there will be no extra fee for curbside pickup, but the commissary agency may decide in the future to charge a fee once test results have been evaluated.

Customers can choose from a wide variety of items sold in the commissary, with most grocery, dairy, frozen and produce items being offered. For example, in the diaper section, 48 options were being offered for pickup at Fort Lee the day I checked, with a variety of brands, types and sizes.

A more limited assortment is offered on meat, deli, bakery and seafood items. In the fresh meat department, 21 choices ranged from 80 percent and 92 percent lean ground beef, cubed steak, and stew beef, to beef tenderloin, steaks and rump roast.

You pay curbside using Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit cards; debit cards that process as credit cards and don’t require you to enter a personal identification number; or commissary gift cards.

Curbside pickup personnel can’t accept cash, checks, debit cards requiring a PIN, SNAP (formerly food stamps) debits, or WIC (Women, Infants and Children) vouchers.

The commissary rewards card and paper coupons are accepted at curbside.

Orders must be placed at least four hours before you plan to pick up, and you select a time based on what’s convenient for you and what time slots are available. Orders can be placed up to six days in advance.

Keep in mind that the price for each item is based on the price at the time of pickup; prices may go up or down from the time you placed your order. Pickup hours are limited to weekdays during the stores’ normal hours of operation. There are no weekend pickups.

Once items are plucked from the shelves, they’re kept in a “temperature-appropriate” holding area, according to DeCA officials, and are loaded into the customer’s vehicle upon your arrival.

Commissary employees perform this service, and they are not allowed to accept tips.

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