Commissary surcharge helps improve
benefits for all customers
|By Courtney Rogers, Defense Commissary Agency,
Customer Relations Specialist
FORT LEE, Va. — When military servicemembers shop their commissary, they
have the opportunity to save a substantial amount of money, while
contributing to the improvement of the commissary system. That’s because
for almost 60 years, Congress has required commissaries to collect a
surcharge on purchases to make them more self-sustaining.
“Every time our customers shop at the commissary, they are not only
saving money because we sell at cost, but they are also taking care of
their own,” said Joseph H. Jeu, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
director and chief executive officer. “Their purchases help improve
commissary facilities for their brothers and sisters in uniform.”
The surcharge, which has been set at 5 percent for more than 28 years,
is used to build replacement stores, renovate and repair existing
stores, and purchase equipment such as freezers and cash registers.
These funds help maintain and modernize stores at a reduced cost to
taxpayers; by law, they cannot be used for any other purpose.
The surcharge is necessary because, unlike retail stores that mark up
their prices to account for their operational costs and desired profit,
commissaries are required by law to sell at cost to deliver the best
possible prices to customers.
At Fort McCoy, the surcharge helps the commissary keep its facility
modern, and offer goods and products at competitive prices to support
military servicemembers and their Families.
Although customers must pay the 5 percent surcharge in addition to the
commissary’s at-cost pricing, the good news is that by regularly
shopping at the commissary, they can still expect to save an average of
30 percent or more compared to commercial stores.
“Both the surcharge applied at commissaries and taxes at retail stores
are included in our savings calculations to show how much customers
actually save at the register,” said Greg Kochuba, special projects
chief for DeCA’s sales directorate.
“However, it’s important to note that the surcharge is not a tax; every
penny of that money remains in the commissary system to improve our
The surcharge is assessed on the full value of each customer’s purchase
at the register before coupons are deducted, as required by Congress.
That’s because coupons are not a discount, but a method of payment
that’s equivalent to cash. Investing surcharge dollars in the
most-needed commissary projects is one way DeCA works with its customers
to give back to the military community.
“Every time you look at your commissary receipt, take note of our
at-cost pricing to learn how much you’ve saved,” Jeu said. “But also
take pride in the surcharge you’ve contributed and know that your
support helps us deliver this cherished benefit to you and millions of
other authorized patrons.”
For more information about the Fort McCoy Commissary, visit building
1537 or call 608-388-3542.