Coffee heat rising

Shopping in the Commissary: Would it save anything?

A day or so ago, SDXB clued me that Luke Air Force Base has changed its rule about bringing guests into the commissary: your sidekick no longer has to be a certifiable family member. As we were discussing the coming tax on food, which, when it goes into effect on March 1, will hike my grocery costs by 2 percent, he suggested I drive out there with him to do my major shopping trips.

Sounds like a good deal, eh? Not only would I evade the regressive food tax, I’d also weasel out of the much higher 8.3 percent gouge charged on all other purchases made inside the Phoenix city limits. On the other hand, I’d have to drive all the way out to Sun City to meet SDXB. He would drive us to the base (since his car has the AF parking sticker), so that would save some gas…but still, according to Mapquest, SDXB lives 15.91 miles from my house.

Let’s think about that.

In a recent shopping trip to Costco, purveyor of the lion’s share of my food stockpile and household goods, I spent $38.26 on groceries and $109 on household goods, dog supplies, clothing, and the like.

Tax on the $109 came to $9.05. The proposed 2 percent tax on the groceries would add 77 cents to that, for a total tax bite of $9.82.

On a good day when prices are low, gasoline costs about $2.50 a gallon around here. My car makes about 18 miles per gallon. Thus a round trip to SDXB’s house will cost, optimistically, $4.45.

So, my net savings on the tax will be $9.82 – $4.45: a grandiose $5.37.

For that munificent amount, I will have spent at least half the day driving out to Sun City, riding from there to the base, waiting around while he enjoys himself shopping in the BX, the commissary, the Class 6, store, and getting a haircut. Somewhere along the line we’ll get hungry, and so will eat either at his house or at the relatively clean Burger King on the base. This will morph a 90-minute shopping trip (during which I would normally hit Target as well as Costco and Costco’s gas pumps) into a five-hour trek.

In other words, I would “earn” about $1.07 an hour in savings on the tax bill.

LOL! Well, shopping on the base might be worth it if you lived close enough that you didn’t have to burn much gas to get there. But unless you enjoy the serenade of F-16 afterburners (amazingly, some people do!), that’s not a very practical proposition.

Pour moi, it doesn’t look like it’s worth the effort.