AAFES Dissatisfaction Page
The AAFES articles below are linked. The articles "aafesgas*.jpg" pertain to AAFES' recent gas price hike and were scanned from Pacific Stars and Stripes' Letters/Opinions section. Credit goes to the authors of the articles. Their names and affiliations are included with the articles. The articles are also dated, with the acception of aafesgas5_may122001.jpg:
Camp Zama's PS2 Release Foul-tasting
Impressions of Japan
I want to offer my opinion on AAFES' (Army and Air Force Exchange Services) raising of the local gas prices.
Last October, we saw a rise in gas prices to $1.62 a gallon. AAFES supposedly changes the pricing every October to reflect average yearly pricing in the United States. I didn't like the fact that the gas price rose but didn't mind it so much because it was only a yearly change. Evidently, AAFES has been doing this for awhile.
Recently, gas prices in the U.S. rose to $2.00 a gallon and some places are over that price. Instead of AAFES waiting until October to change their prices to the national yearly average, they immediately decided to change to a monthy price change, with the new gas price being 1.76 a gallon.
This is very suspicious. The U.S.'s current gas prices are the highest in decades and AAFES decides to take advantage of their customers, the U.S. military. Aren't they supposed to be a non-profit organization? It seems they are going to make quite a bit more money since they changed their pricing policy early. AAFES pays $1.13 a gallon for their gas thru a contractor and that price is locked until Sep 30. They are now charging $1.76 a gallon, a 14 cent hike from last year. They are making 63 cents for every gallon of gas they sell, and that's for THIS month (May). Next month, the gas price may very well increase, making their profit margins even more.
AAFES states that their customers asked for the change in pricing. They stated that their Pacific customers wanted prices to be equivalent to the U.S. pricing policy, that they wanted the same pricing on a monthly basis. I find this hard to believe, especially when the price of gas in the U.S. recently skyrocketed. American servicemembers and their families don't have a choice of gas vendors. Gas on the Japanese economy is double what it is in America. Japanese gas stations charge on the average of ¥105 a liter for gas. That equates to approx $3.50 (¥120/$ exchange rate). Maybe the problem with AAFES is that there's no competition. I've said this before, on my page where I rant about AAFES charging $30/month for 90 hours a month of access for substandard internet service (and once you go over your 90 hour allotment, the pricing per hour becomes $2 for every hour over 90). Here's where I rant about AAFES and the internet: http://members.tripod.com/%7EWIGGLIT/Japan.htm
I cannot understand why AAFES, a non-profit organization, are gouging thier customers. Why is the U.S. military's top brass letting this happen? Compared to most American citizens, military soldiers earn next to nothing, less than the current minimum wage standard. Quite a hefty percentage of America's military need governmental financial assistance, just to make ends meet. AAFES is supposed to be the government's pay equalizer. Pricing is supposed to be lower than most other department stores in America, but that isn't the case. AAFES usually matches their competition's prices but only that: they won't lower pricing. Why do they even have competition? They are there to server US, not make profits for profit-sake. Competition from other stores shouldn't be a factor at all, considering that AAFES' mission shouldn't be making a profit, but benefiting the soldier.
If I were back in the U.S., I'd give my business solely to non-AAFES stores. Soldiers shouldn't have to put up with price gouging from AAFES, especially when they are overseas where there is no other competition. You can bet I'm going to be writing my Congressional representatives on this situation. People who join the military nowadays immediately gives away any financial hope and advantage. The pay gap between the military and civilian employment is very wide. AAFES is supposed to balance this out.....what happened?
Any opinions on this, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated on 5/23/01
By Ron Sinclair
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