Monday, November 15, 2010

AAFES - An Organized Criminal Enterprise

OK folks.  Something has to be done with AAFES (Army and Air Forces Exchange ‘Service’ for you non-military types).  I’ve been sitting on the sidelines far too long.  Maybe this is just an isolated experience, but I’d appreciate a comment if you’ve had a similar experience.

The PX at Panzer Kaserne habitually sells products that are factory seconds (and obvious ones at that) with no disclaimer, at full price, and with complete abandon.  This will continue until we servicemen and family members, who constantly get screwed by AAFES, do something about it.

1.  About two years ago my German wife bought (and returned) an article of clothing at the PX.  It was a German-manufactured article and had a small label on it.  It read “Zweiter wahl.”  That means “second choice” in English.

2.  Also about two years ago, we purchased an Hitachi plasma TV, 42 in.  I know… Sweet right…  Well, it worked for about two months, then developed a fatal flaw.  AAFES would not accept it as a return, but sent it off to get ‘repaired.’  Three months later, we got back out TV which worked for about one week and then experienced the same flaw.  Thankfully, the AAFES people took back the TV and refunded the money in the form of a gift card (hey, no competition has its benefits!).

3.  A month ago, my wife bought a pair of Buffalo shoes (a popular German brand name).  There was a strap loop completely missing on one of the shoes.  It wasn’t broken.  It showed no signs of damage.  It was just not there.  Factory second.

4.  Tonight, I’m reading a classic to my son (my first book successfully read, incidentally).  It’s called “Are You My Mother?”  I’m sure many of you have read that book too.  After a few pages, I completely loose where I am in the story.  Why?  Well, probably because it skips from page 20 to page 45.  It goes to the ‘end’ of the book and then starts over at page 20 or so again.  Oh, and the classic “Fish Out Of Water” had such horrific binding, I’m surprised I got through it without tearing the over-glued pages together, or tearing out the other loose-hanging-by-a-thread pages in other sections.  The books, by the way, were up and sold out in a matter of days, as those kinds of old, sentimental books are hard to come by here.
AAFES 'Quality'

Four times is NOT a coincidence.  This is ridiculous.  Who is ordering this stuff???  I want an audit.  CID fraud agents need to take a good hard look at this store’s operation.  I smell kick-backs.  Do any of you have ideas on how to actually combat this?  ICE will not work.  I don’t know how many times I’ve made complaints to them with no action.  These jerks get to run a tax-subsidized organization (poorly, I might add), charge us the equal price to anything anywhere (seriously, how many of you stateside shop at the PX???), sell us factory seconds at full price, offer horrific customer service many times (all in the name of hiring unqualified locals), and display disgusting self-righteous smugness when confronted with these things and answer with the company motto of “We are her to ‘serve’ you.”  Please sir!  May I have another?!?!  THWACK!!!

If I ever get to run for Congress, I will make it my platform to abolish AAFES and start over.  It is corrupt, inefficient, and unnecessary for the most part.  And you apologists who think it’s philanthropic, try to tell me they do not make a killer profit.  Don’t give me that “It goes to MWR stuff.”  Sorry.  I don’t golf.  And if I did, I’d rather pay a higher greens fee than subsidize these officers’ courses with my, and especially, my junior soldiers’ meager salaries.

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