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thedrifter
10-01-02, 06:24 AM
P R E S S R E L E A S E
Defense Commissary Agency
Corporate Communications
1300 E Avenue, Fort Lee, Virginia 23801-1800
Tel: (804) 734-8061 DSN: 687-8061 $ FAX: (804) 734-8248 DSN: 687-8248
www.commissaries.com

Release Number: 63-02
FOR RELEASE
Date: September 25, 2002
Contact: Flo Dunn, Media Relations
Tel.: (804) 734-8768
E-mail: florence.dunn@deca.mil

Give the gift of groceries this year
By Bonnie Powell, bonnie.powell@deca.mil

FORT LEE, Va. - Want to make sure your grandchildren in Germany are getting
a bountiful dinner this holiday season? Worry no more. Commissary gift
certificates are now available online through the Defense Commissary
Agency's Web site. The new gift certificates can be purchased 24 hours a
day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It's all through a link at
http://www.commissaries.com.

"We are continually seeking ways to improve customer service and we hope
this program proves to be a great addition to the commissary benefit," said
DeCA Director Major General Michael P. Wiedemer. "The certificates are ideal
for family and friends to give to young service members and their families
as gifts," he said. "For instance, parents living in New York can purchase
one for the upcoming holidays or other occasions and 'give the gift of
groceries' to their son or daughter wherever they are serving their country,
as long as there is a commissary available to them." Anyone may purchase the
gift certificates with a U.S. credit card, but only authorized commissary
shoppers can redeem them at the store.

The new customer service is made possible through a business agreement with
CertifiChecks, Inc. DeCA does not derive any income from the agreement.
The commissary gift certificates, available in a variety of denominations
ranging from $5 to $100, may also be purchased in the United States through
a toll free number at 1-877-770-GIFT (4438). Purchasers overseas should use
the online link at http://www.commissaries.com.

Order forms will also be available at commissary customer service desks or
can be downloaded from http://www.commissaries.com as an additional option.
The forms may be filled out and sent by mail or FAX to CertifiChecks.
Customers may pay with a check if they use the order form.

A standard charge of $4.95 pays CertifiChecks' costs for printing, mailing
and handling of up to 20 certificates - as long as all are going to the same
address. Typical delivery of certificates is 4- to 10-days. Additional
charges apply for bulk orders and for special handling or delivery.

"We've been seeking a gift certificate program for some time now," said
Patrick Nixon, DeCA's deputy director, "and this program has the portability
we have not been able to offer in the past."

Commissary gift "cards" have been available for sale in stores since fall of
2001 and have been well-received by installation programs such as food banks
or chaplain funds, as well as by commissary vendors to use for customer
shopping sprees. But, the major drawback for the gift cards has been lack of
portability - they had to be spent in the same commissary in which they were
purchased. "The new gift certificates are good at any commissary location
worldwide," said Nixon.

The Defense Commissary Agency operates nearly 280 commissaries worldwide,
providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families.
Authorized commissary patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent
surcharge, which covers costs of building new commissaries and modernizing
existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their
purchases compared to commercial prices - savings worth more than $2,400
annually for a family of four.

A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay
and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the
quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit
and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
- DeCA -