I hope the all-caps wasn’t too much. I just wanted to make sure I got your attention right away.
That article going around from Coupons in the News (which, by the way, has been changed since it first went up) was, when it was first circulated, blatantly false. It still muddies the issue, in my opinion, but whatever.
The problem is now there’s the concept out there that someone wants to shut down commissaries to save the government money. In the revised article, CITN tries to have it both ways, admitting the report doesn’t actually say that (in fact, says the exact opposite), but that that’s what it really means. Um, okay.
Two things: First, no. Just…no.
The report – which only briefly looks at commissaries, or “grocery stores” for the benefit of the civilian audience – actually covers a long list of weird and wacky DoD spending. For instance, spending money researching whether or not a school of fish will all go the same direction if only some of them know where they are going, or whether or not Jesus died for Klingons.
I’m dead serious. While we were wondering whether or not we would get paid last summer, the Department of Defense was throwing money at projects determining which parts of the country use “y’all,” “koo” and “hella” most often on Twitter.
But the portion on commissaries actually has a lot of interesting statistics in it, and compared to the rest of the report was handled very respectfully. (Because how respectful can ANYONE be when they’re talking about testing whether a person looks more masculine holding a caulk gun or a paint brush? Yup, that’s in there, too.)
The point of the commissary section was that, the PXs and BXs are run without taxpayer subsidy and are successful programs, so why not restructure commissaries to function behind-the-scenes like PXs, save some money, then use that money to increase military pay?
Now, look, I don’t know whether restructuring commissaries is a good idea or a bad idea. But what I do know is that nowhere in the report did it once suggest shutting down a single commissary. In fact, the exact quote is: [U]nder this proposal the on-base grocery store would not close down, it would just lose its taxpayer subsidy, operate like the on-base retail exchanges, and soldiers could then decide where to shop with additional money in their paychecks.
Gee, that’s a little different than what everyone has been led to believe, isn’t it?
Now, CITN has since updated their article to suggest that perhaps initially this wouldn’t shut down commissaries, but insist that that would most likely be the final result, without any facts to support that assertion. They also (in the comments) admit the report “doesn’t outright” propose shutting down commissaries. How generous! Especially considering the report says the exact opposite.
Which leads me to point #2:
Trust, but verify.
They linked to the report in their article, in the opening line. But from the comments on the (original) article, and on various other places around the internet, it was very clear that no one had even read the report.
Y’all, that’s bad. I say it on here all the time, “Don’t take my word for it.” Fact-check. Do your own research. Sure, probably 95% of the time, your favorite sources for news and information are telling you the truth. But even still, whether through malice or through mistake, people get stuff wrong. And of course it’s almost always on the big things.
So, no, don’t believe me. Don’t believe CITN. Click here and read the report for yourself. Scroll down to page 66 and find the section referring to grocery stores. (Again, intended for civilians.) See if you think the end game is eliminating commissaries.
And while you’re at it, read the rest of the thing, too. You’ll bounce between laughing and fuming at the ridiculousness, but it’s a good read. An important read. After all, this is YOUR money we’re talking about.