The clitorides voting is open until the end of April. Vote for your favourites [ X Dismiss ]
Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

PX, BX and what?

PotomacBob

If I remember correctly in the Army they have a Post Exchange (PX) for the troops. In the Air Force it's a Base Exchange (BX). Is that correct? What is it for the Navy?

Replies:   pcbondsman  AmigaClone
pcbondsman

@PotomacBob

Subject to correction by a Navy type, they're officially the Navy Exchange. I've heard two or three other names used, that's the clean ones.

FYI - they're run (or used to be) by a different system than runs the Army and Air Force Exchanges.

FSwan

And there is the Coast Guard Exchange which is separate from NEX and AAFES.

AmigaClone

@PotomacBob

While you might hear PX on an Army facility or a BX on an Air Force facility, they both are technically are served by AAFES (Army Air Force Exchange Services)

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@AmigaClone

And there is the Coast Guard Exchange which is separate from NEX and AAFES.


Aye, The Navy EXchange is also know as "the NEX" or "Nex" (not to be confused with necks) as in typical military fashion, we's tend to say the thing rather than enunciate each letter.

They're all part of AAFES, but there are(or were) subtle differences and quirks between the different Service Branches all the same.

Crumbly Writer

The key is, you should be comfortable with whichever branch of the service you're writing about, and not confuse it with the other services (or even other services in other countries).

There is nothing more likely to throw readers out of a story faster than someone describing something they clearly don't understand.

There are plenty of websites which describe, in painstaking detail, how the military works and what everything is called. So there's really no excuse to guess at it.

P.S. I'm not sure about the other services, but in most cases, rather than using either NEX or BX, most service personnel and civilians simply say "the Exchange". That works across the board, though I'd probably restrict that usage to the family members of servicemen.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

There are plenty of websites which describe, in painstaking detail, how the military works and what everything is called. So there's really no excuse to guess at it.


Great! I'm glad you know about those websites. Can you point me to the websites that describe how the Naval Exchange (by whatever name) works, who is eligible, what they have and so forth.
Thank you.

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Great! I'm glad you know about those websites. Can you point me to the websites that describe how the Naval Exchange (by whatever name) works, who is eligible, what they have and so forth.
Thank you.

Alas, I didn't actually do the research for you, but each time I have don't research about either the U.S. military or the U.S. government in general, most of the information is readily available if you can only identify the correct sites.

What isn't freely available are specifics, like layouts of specific bases or the locations and identities of individuals at any given base.

As a starting point, try aafes.com and go to the links at the very bottom of the page where it lists "Military Life", "Beyond the Exchange" and "About the Exchange".

The thing to remember is, the military is a constantly changing, fluid force, and for each new member, you've also got a civilian wives, kids and family members, so the information needed to get around and become accustomed are freely available, but it's often hidden away on fairly esoteric sites. So, as always for authors, you've got to learn to be discerning in your Google searches.

(Crossing my fingers and hoping that non-specific information is of some use to you.)

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

I went to the website of one of the exchanges. They wouldn't let me into the site unless I first joined, providing them with my name, address, etc.
Seems like a Catch 22.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
AmigaClone

@PotomacBob

Three things that might make a difference is "when is your story set", "How big is the installation/base", and "Where is the story set (within the US, on an US base in a peaceful country, in a combat zone)." The reason for that depending on those answers the situation might be different.

Also, if the base in question is a joint base serving more than one branch, you might have Marines going to an AAFES installation.

In general they function much like a Target or Walmart. Two departments AAFES and NEX have that the prior two don't is the uniform and accessories section and the memorabilia especially focusing on the branch of it's primary customers.

https://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/exchange-quick-facts/

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

I went to the website of one of the exchanges. They wouldn't let me into the site unless I first joined, providing them with my name, address, etc.
Seems like a Catch 22.

The sites generally list ongoing sales or services for specific exchanges, thus they need to know where you're shopping, and they're further limited by the previously stated warnings about NOT revealing base specifics like building layouts or who may or may not be ON any given base.

As I noted before, the most meaningful information for you, the author, are the more general information summaries at the bottom of the page, rather than the location specific shopping choices requiring you to sign in. You're NOT looking to shop, but to discover what people on post commonly do and handle life.

Ernest Bywater

Not sure if they do it on all bases, but when I used Google Maps to look at a certain US military base to check on something for a story I noticed it had the location of Exchange and other shops and services tagged and named. Of course you had to zoom into where the streets and buildings were easy to see.

I just checked a few other bases and I notice the Marine base at Yuma has a location called the Commissary MCAS Yuma as well as the Marine Corps Exchange MCAS Yuma and both are marked with the little shopping bag plus a place with a fuel pump labelled MCX Marine Mart.

Others I just saw on Google Maps are - Marine Coprs Exchange 29 Palms, Vandenberg Main Exchange and AAFES Express at Vandenberg AFB, so I'm sure most are marked.

Replies:   rustyken  StarFleet Carl
rustyken

@Ernest Bywater

The commissary is the equivalent of a civilian grocery store.

StarFleet Carl

@Ernest Bywater

place with a fuel pump labelled MCX Marine Mart


That's the civilian equivalent of a convenience store, the 711, OnCue, Speedway, Village Pantry, or whatever your local gas station that sells a small selection of stuff is called. With MCX obviously meaning Marine Corps Exchange.

And yeah, they're marked online, you can typically see things on Google maps. What you won't find is when you go to the satellite images from Google is the street view, again for obvious reasons.

richardshagrin

SX is even more popular than the PX. At least with the e between the S and the X.

Safe_Bet

It may be "incorrect" because the correct name is Marine Corps Exchange, but I (nor any of my fellow jarheads) ever called it anything but the "PX" (and I'm basing that statement having been stationed at Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms and a couple different bases in Okinawa). The "PX" is where you bought anything other than standard groceries which were purchased at the "commissary".

kimlsevier

If you go the main pages for the different exchanges:

For the Army Air Force

https://www.shopmyexchange.com/

For NEX

https://www.mynavyexchange.com

For the Marine Exchange

http://www.mymcx.com/

For the Coast Guard Exchange

https://shopcgx.com/

You can see what's available online. Though, you can't see the prices unless you log in. For the last year or so Honorably Discharged vets are allowed to set up an account at any of the sites listed above.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

General eligibility for shopping at an Exchange is:

One of the following:

1) You must be either Active Duty or Reserve (National Guard and Coast Guard also qualify), service branch doesn't matter. Navy can shop at the Air Force Exchange, Air Force can go to the Navy one, etc.

2) Retired Military, or at a sufficient level of disability that you were allowed to retain a Military ID and full Military Benefits. (Most Honorably Discharged veterans aren't medically discharged, and are not considered retired either)

3) Someone with a Dependent Identification card obtained due to being related to someone who meet criteria 1 or 2 above.

4) Depending on location/other factors, Government employees and Contractors may be authorized to shop at the exchange.(IE, they have a Government issued ID for that Base)

5) In the company of/"escorted by" someone with rights to shop there.

As mentioned, recently ALL honorably discharged Veterans can now use the online exchange websites.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

5) In the company of/"escorted by" someone with rights to shop there.

Despite it's being over 40 years since I was a military dependent, I still regularly go on bases with my mother or sister (Oceana or Foot Hood) to help them out. As long as someone has a military ID, it's as easy as pie (i.e. they don't check anyone else's ID).

AmigaClone

@Not_a_ID

1) You must be either Active Duty or Reserve (National Guard and Coast Guard also qualify), service branch doesn't matter. Navy can shop at the Air Force Exchange, Air Force can go to the Navy one, etc.


Reserve in this case means "drilling reserve". Someone who is part of the Inactive Ready Reserve can only shop at an exchange if they qualify otherwise.

5) In the company of/"escorted by" someone with rights to shop there.


If I'm not mistaken, in this case the person with the ID is the one who has to pay for the purchases - at least as far as the exchange is concerned.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Not_a_ID
Crumbly Writer

@AmigaClone

5) In the company of/"escorted by" someone with rights to shop there.

If I'm not mistaken, in this case the person with the ID is the one who has to pay for the purchases - at least as far as the exchange is concerned.

It also means the other person can get onto the base without having their identification validated, and then then wander the base on their own, without anyone noticing or observing.

It's not a problem on most bases, but if they ever wander into restricted space, watch out!

Not_a_ID

@AmigaClone

1) You must be either Active Duty or Reserve (National Guard and Coast Guard also qualify), service branch doesn't matter. Navy can shop at the Air Force Exchange, Air Force can go to the Navy one, etc.



Reserve in this case means "drilling reserve". Someone who is part of the Inactive Ready Reserve can only shop at an exchange if they qualify otherwise.


Good point, but as IRR members don't normally have a Military ID they'd fail to have the proper documentation to be able to make purchases at an Exchange. (The one exception would possibly be people who were only in the Reserves/National Guard and for whatever reason did their "2 years IIR" at some point during the initial 6 years of their 8 year contract. Prior Active duty fulfilling an IRR obligation surrender their Active Duty ID upon end of active service and don't get another one issued. Notable exception being Retires who as I recall remain in the IRR for life, and do get new Military IDs issued)

5) In the company of/"escorted by" someone with rights to shop there.



If I'm not mistaken, in this case the person with the ID is the one who has to pay for the purchases - at least as far as the exchange is concerned.


Memory is hazy on this, as I so rarely did it, but this one likely varies from base to base, and method of payment. As I remember escorting family members into the Exchange, vouching they were with me, and their paying for their own purchases.

But then, cash and/or credit card transactions which are electronically verified on the spot are a different matter than cutting a check, which I could see getting restricted-they can really go after the Service member if it bounces.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@Not_a_ID

Out of cash, I offered a check to an out-of-town gasoline station operator, who readily accepted it for payment. He stuck the check in a machine, handed it back to me and said, "thanks, I have the money from your account." The transaction took less than a minute. No cash involved. No credit card involved.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@PotomacBob

Out of cash, I offered a check to an out-of-town gasoline station operator, who readily accepted it for payment. He stuck the check in a machine, handed it back to me and said, "thanks, I have the money from your account." The transaction took less than a minute. No cash involved. No credit card involved.


Check processing has changed in the last several years, although anymore it is hard to find retail locations which will accept them. 10 to 20 years ago, it probably would be a few days before they knew the check bounced.

Replies:   anim8ed
anim8ed

@Not_a_ID

Often as not it becomes an electronic funds transfer instead of a check. The check provides all the routing information needed. I am not sure what the transaction fees are for efts as opposed to credit/debit transaction fees. Much safer for the merchant than accepting a check and hoping it clears.

Back to Top