The PX or the Post Exchange is the Wal-Mart of military bases. It has everything that you could think of from designer goods, clothing, home appliances and hardware, and even though there is no tax charged on goods here, many military families go shopping elsewhere because the prices just don't seem to be any cheaper. So, here is a comparison of a selection of goods at the PX, or AAFES online store to other stores that military families routinely shop at.
The first things that we are going to compare are sheet sets. For a queen sateen 600 thread count sheet set by H N International at AAFES, it is $59.99. The set comes with a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two standard pillowcases. When looking for a similar product, I was able to found 600 thread count sateen sheets by Renaissance at Amazon for $37.65. AAFES and Amazon offered free shipping.
Designer handbags are another thing that is sought after at the PX. AAFES has the Coach Madison Leather Sophia Satchel Handbag for $286. If you went directly to a Coach store, you would find that same handbag for $398. So, AAFES is the better deal by far here.
For computers, a Sony Vaio S Series Notebook with a 13.3-inch screen and 4GB is $899. When looking for the same computer, there were many websites that were selling it, but some of them seemed untrustworthy. If you shop at Wal-Mart, the same notebook will cost you $998, but you also have to add in the $69.86 tax, with makes the computer $1067.86. Again, AAFES definitely has the better deal.
The category that I know a lot of you want to know the price difference on is home appliances. Many feel that since these are big purchases, shopping at AAFES would be the better buy because you don't have to pay tax. However, home improvement stores are routinely offering discounts and deals that are rarely seen at AAFES. The Maytag 7.4-Cu. -- FT. Maxima Gas Dryer in Cranberry is priced at $1,589 with $50 shipping and handling. The same dryer is $1,099.12 with $145.07 shipping and no tax. That makes the final prices, $1,639 for the dryer at AAFES, and $1,244.19 from Amazon. Again, AAFES wins out.
But let's also look at a washer as well. The Maytag 5.0 -- CU. FT Maxima High-Efficiency Front Load Washer in Cranberry is $1,489 with $50 shipping and handling. The same washer can be found at Rainbow Appliance for $1,029, and with shipping and tax the washer winds up being $1,185.56. So, for appliances, it looks like you are better off shopping at other stores.
AAFES does have a price match policy where they will match prices for an identical good when you email a copy of the store's online price. They will not however, match any prices that come with rebates or percentage off sales. This cuts out a lot of the products that were found here, because they were listed as sale items at these stores. So, make sure that you do your research before you shop.
Lauren Finnegan graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with a bachelor's degree in political science and has an insider's perspective on the military because of her role as a military wife who has lived around the country.
- Hawaii Pacific University