YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The military’s discount shopping world was rocked this week when the Army and Air Force Exchange Service posted on its Facebook site that it was reviewing its policy of accepting coupons six months past their expiration date.
For years, AAFES and DeCA have accepted manufacturer’s coupons past their expiration date – a benefit only available at overseas bases. But some manufacturers said they were no longer accepting the expired coupons, thus prompting AAFES’ review.
AAFES also noted on Facebook that its coupon policy has never officially sanctioned expired coupon usage, but that many overseas stores had adopted the practice, in line with DeCA’s official policy.
The news that AAFES would review the policy set off a firestorm of comments on its Facebook site from worried customers.
But conscientious shoppers should take note: AAFES has not changed its coupon policy.
An AAFES spokesman told Stars and Stripes in an email Thursday that all overseas AAFES stores should honor coupons up to six months after they expire and that there were no immediate plans to change that undocumented policy.
But AAFES is “prepared to adapt to industry changes as they occur,” said Judd Anstey, a spokesman for AAFES headquarters in Dallas.
“The command continues to monitor trends concerning all aspects of retail and will adjust its posture as needed,” Anstey said. AAFES is paid on the old coupons at the discretion of the individual manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, who are not technically bound to honor them, he added.
AAFES operates 3,100 facilities in more than 30 countries and all 50 states, which include 162 main “Exchange” stores and 2,000 fast food restaurants.
A DeCA spokesman said Friday that the agency had no plans to change its coupon rules.