The other day I was chatting with one of my blogger friends Adrianna from NextGen Milspouse and we got on the topic of shopping at the PX onpost.

For newbies the PX equals Post Exchange. Its that store on post normally located near the commissary that sells a variety of items including clothes, shoes, electronics, books, and more.

The PX certainly has its conveniences. They offer year round layaway, have tax free shopping, and if you have a Star Card you can use it there and at the food court.

That being said Adrianna posed the thought “who is the buyer for the PX”? and “whoever it is could use some serious help in that department!”.

I have certainly scored my fair share of deals at the Exchange, but why do I feel like I’m shopping at a high end department store when I am in there?

As the average family who is looking to save a buck-does AAFES really think that I am coming in there to purchase Coach or Dooney and Burke bags on a whim? If my husband goes in there to purchase a few casual Summer polo shirts, does he damn near have to purchase Brooks Brothers or Ralph Lauren to get a shirt?

I love treating myself to the occasional brand name piece, but I truly believe that when it comes to  apparel, shoes , accessories, and cosmetics there needs to be some major revamping.

I’ll never forget the day I stepped into the NEX (Naval Exchange) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. I thought I had just stepped into Nordstrom’s. There were cases of fancy jewelry , expensive fragrances such as Chanel, and brand name apparel that I can assure you the average service member with a family cannot afford on a regular basis.

To be fair upstairs (yes this NEX has escalators) looked a little more normal with the toys and electronics section but at the end of the day I could do without all the extra.

If I want to buy an over priced fragrance I will go to Sephora or order offline where chances are I can get it cheaper. If I want clothes I can forget getting them at the PX because the “big girls” section is slim to none. If I want fancy Nautica comforter sets I will go to Ross where I can get it for about $50 cheaper.

The PX should be more affordable and not just when there is a sale or clearance. If I want department store prices I can go to the mall.

I will continue to use my PX during the holidays and as I mentioned the occasional red tag sticker sale where something is ridiculously cheap. That being said how much money are we saving when so many of the items are over priced? I find it hilarious that the military encourages service members and their families to maintain good credit-yet it would seem putting such high priced items in the faces of  some people would entice them to overspend. STAR Card anyone!

I think someone in AAFES land needs a big newsflash that the Claudia Joys and General Holden’s (Army Wives fans know who these folks are) of the military world are not shopping there daily. It would really behoove you to sell more realistic brands at affordable prices and cater to the masses who utilize the PX frequently.

Do you find you find the PX to be overpriced? Do you shop there frequently?



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Krystel is the mom of two and an Army Wife. In addition to Army Wife 101 she is the Co-Founder of a digital media agency that connects brands with the military market. She has appeared on MSNBC ,FOX LA and formerly was a weekly contributor to HLN's "Raising America". She has written for various outlets including Sheknows and Lifetime and is a big fan of cupcakes and french fries.

21 Comments on My Name is Not Claudia Joy Holden…Who Do They Think Is Shopping At The PX?

  1. We shop there sometimes for things that aren’t make up and other things, but it is overpriced. I don’t care for those fancy name brand clothes, either. I do like the Gum Ball line in the kids section.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. We are stuck overseas where we are forced to shop there or online for anything that will fit or is a style I like. I feel like it is a monopoly. They need to take a clue from target… mid end! Not Walmart but not Macys. I hate the prices in there and will not buy anything unless it is on clearance! And kids clothes… what a joke!

  3. When it comes to the clothing selection I think the buyers are off their gourd. The exchange brand clothing quality is extremely poor. We are talking about fall apart in the washing machine the first go round poor. The boys clothing is all Nike, & Polo, with a bit of UA, and camo tossed in. The ladies department who is wearing that stuff? Its awful mostly crappy department store brands, and too much polyester. Both their maternity & plus size departments are a complete joke even in remote/overseas locations like Yokosuka, Japan.

  4. I guess I am alone here because I am a CJH type! I appreciate having those options. Everyone has different tastes. We were stationed in Germany in the mid 90’s with no other option but the PX stuff! I’d have to order from Victoria Secret or JCPenny catalog if I wanted something different. We recently purchased a flat screen tv from the px and to save on the tax for that was a bonus!

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  5. Exactly! I don’t shop there because I can’t afford it. I remember the first time I walked into the NEX at CHSNWS. I thought I had gone to the wrong store! Kohl’s & Ross for this girl.

  6. When it comes to electronics, appliances and certain toys, yes. The px is awesome. However, I do agree, the clothes, make-up, perfume and jewelry are far too overpriced. I preferred shopping at walmart or the mall for my kids’ clothes and my hubby and my clothes.

  7. Yes it is overly priced on a lot of stuff. Especially clothes. I shop for clothes at Catos for myself, Walmart for the kids or maybe the mall. I only get my electronics from the PX because they are cheaper for that, dog food, auto stuff, hardware and lawn stuff.

  8. I thought it was just us over here in Korea (or anywhere overseas) that noticed how expensive prices are at the PX/BX! What stinks is that this is the only place we really have to shop. So it’s either suck it up and pay the price, or order online and wait/pay shipping. When we get back to the States, it’ll be back to Target for this girl!

  9. I thought it was just Bragg but apparently every PX or NEX or wherever u are is like this. I go in occasionally but never buy clothes unless its for my son( he’s 5months old). We are usually getting electronics or looking at odds and ends. For clothes I goto Kohls!! Way cheaper!

  10. I couldn’t agree more with this post, I walk into our PX and I’m like SERIOUSLY!!! If I was going to buy a Coach purse, I would be going to the outlet and getting it on sale and if I was going to actually pay full price for it, I’d go to a Coach store! You can’t beat the cost for kids clothes though, other then that everything is totally over priced, I’d rather go to Target and shop.

  11. I like the fact that D&B & Coach purses are a lot cheaper. I appreciate that. I wouldn’t own one if they weren’t. I feel like we deserve those luxuries sometimes. But, I agree with you…in most cases, it’s not necessary. Especially here in the States.

  12. As a Coast Guard spouse who lives off the economy completely, I feel like you are OH SO lucky to have the PX. In our area, our closest CGX consists of uniforms and alcohol. I don’t mind shopping sales for clothing elsewhere, however many military spouses are afforded the luxury of a PX and Commissary and complain, it makes me sad, I would GLADLY trade with you. I’m sure many of the people complaining have a Walmart nearby :)

  13. I think there is a common misconception that “Joe” has a good paying job and more than enough money to spend. The reality you don’t become a soldier to get rich. It is hard to raise a family on an enlisted salary. Your right they do need to lower the prices on things and get more down to earth with their purchasing.

  14. I appreciate being able to purchase Lancôme, Smashbox and Clinique at a discount.
    The VS and BBW stuff is cheaper as are all the prestige cosmetics and purses. Maybe not cheaper than buying at an outlet or on semi-annual sale clearance but you get what you pay for IMHO. I love me some Target but if I want Target quality I can go to Target. Crazy.

  15. I’m a new military wife and heard so many people talk about the PX, so the first time I walked into the one on Lewis I laughed. Seriously? I told my husband we can find a better deal elsewhere on a lot of the items. I’m sure there are some nice deals every now and then but it isn’t for me.

  16. In my experience, the value of the PX is dependent on the items for which I am shopping. For example, I wanted a Dyson DC 35 multifloor vacuum for a while, but not enough to pay full retail price plus tax. The PX recently ran the vacuum for $279, and included the hand attachments kit for free. That kit alone normally retails for $59.99. The vacuum alone, if I remember correctly, retails at $329.99. That is quite a significant savings, and I use that vacuum everyday now. (It puts a DustBuster to shame!)

    I have lucked out several times on apparel during Buy More-Save More sales, and have saved literally hundreds of dollars over the past 18 years of affiliation with the Army. Brands like Yankee Candle, Vera Bradley, Godiva…they are always discounted, and tax-free.

    I acknowledge that there are many merchandise items that aren’t “a bigger, better deal,” however, so buyer beware. It’s a shame that a PX shopper can’t simply take for granted that PX prices will always be equal to, if not lower than, local retail prices on the economy.

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  19. I can totally relate! I rarely buy clothes at the Exchange because they are way overpriced. Plus the selections are terrible. The Ladies department carries mostly mature women’s fashion (stuff my mom would wear)and the Juniors department carries stuff I wouldn’t let my daughter walk out the door in. (You call those shorts?!?) There is nothing for those of us stuck in the middle.

    I did purchase a Fossil bag at Fort Sam Houston while on vacation recently…but that was a birthday splurge and I carry that bag every day. The only other things I buy there are Clinique, books and the occasional DVD.

    I do try to buy at the Exchanges as much as my budget allows because that’s where MWR gets its money. If you’ve ever visited a Shades of Green resort, you’d appreciate the Exchange a little more.

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