Military commissary shoppers now won't have to pay the almost $5 service fee to use the system's "Click2go" online ordering and curbside grocery pick-up service, as officials look for ways to lure more users for the program.
The service initially was offered free at three bases as a pilot program in 2013. A $4.95 service fee was added when it expanded to additional stores in 2019, and officials announced early this month sweeping plans to offer the option with the fee at all domestic stores by the end of 2021.
Now officials say that service cost, which is typically only waived for a 30-day introductory period at new locations, will be eliminated at all stores until further notice. The 5% system surcharge applied to all grocery purchases will continue.
"We're just weeks into the rollout and internet grocery shopping has continued its dramatic growth nationwide, so we are pleased to be able to waive the service fee for a limited time to encourage this increasingly popular convenience for our patrons to enjoy their commissary benefit," Bill Moore, DeCA's director and CEO, said in a release.
Twenty-five stores offer the program today, with 62 more locations slated to come online in July, with most of those on the U.S. East Coast. Additional locations will be announced in mid-July, said Kevin Robinson, a commissary spokesman. OCONUS roll-out will begin after the stateside program is in place, he said.
To use the system, patrons must first register on shop.commissaries.com using their DoD ID number. After selecting their groceries via the online store system on that website, users pay for their orders online and pick up their purchases at the designated drive-up area outside the store. While substitutions for out-of-stock items are allowed, unlike some civilian grocery chains, the final price will be adjusted to reflect the new item.
Orders must be submitted at least six hours in advance of pick-up time and can be canceled within 4.5 hours of pick-up. Unlike commissary baggers, who work for tips only, curbside commissary workers are not permitted to accept tips. Only digital coupons are accepted, and online orders must be paid for by credit or debit card. Cash, check and assistance vouchers are not accepted. There is no minimum order amount.
The Defense Commissary Agency operates 236 stores in 13 countries.
A full list of stores offering the service is available on the commissary's website.