Just because the U.S. military remains on high alert during the government shutdown doesn't mean it is less affected by it. Essential services for them -- including commissaries -- have been cut off until Congress gets its act together, putting a real crimp on military family budgets.
The commissaries may be closed on base, but Sam's Club has a solution by offering free memberships to its members-only stores to all active military, retirees, and their families until the shutdown is done.
"In appreciation for the service that military personnel provide our members and communities, Sam's Club locations near military bases will waive membership requirements for military personnel, retirees and their families so they may continue saving on everyday goods and groceries," Sam's Club officials said in a statement.
Commissaries are military-run stores much like retail warehouse clubs where service members can get groceries and other consumer goods below market price, as well as services such as tailoring (for uniforms and such). Commissaries are not only important to people in the military, but their families depend on them too.
All Sam's Club locations are now participating in the military waiver program. This is how it works: anyone who has access to a commissary, which includes active-duty military, their spouses or family and retirees, would have to present their ID cards at the door and will essentially be allowed to shop in the store. They must show their ID one more time at the checkout counter.
There is a shopping program that allows you to shop at Sam's Club without a membership card, but you must pay a 10 percent service fee at checkout. The military program will not charge a fee.
"Any proof of past or present service can be shown at Member Services desks or at checkout to waive membership requirements," said Carrie Moore, a Sam's Club spokesperson. "Greeter associates are happy to help anyone with questions as they enter the club."
There are at least five Sam's Clubs located in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Check the Sam's Club locator website to find the club nearest you.
This is a new thing so it may be the case that not all Sam's Club employees know about this. It may also be the case that the military waiver program works differently at each club. Make sure you check before you shop.
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