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Tammy Moody - DeCA
FORT LEE, Va. – Easter is coming, then there’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and numerous other holidays on which gift giving might be in fashion. That’s where the Defense Commissary Agency’s Virtual Commissary can help, as you can conveniently sit at your computer and shop online for gift baskets for all occasions.
Authorized commissary shoppers can find 64 items on the site, with a number of new items for children coming before Easter. To use Virtual Commissary, visit www.commissaries.com and select the “Shopping” tab, then Virtual Commissary from the drop-down box.
“We have some really cute things for children on there, such as Tinker Bell and princess tea sets,” said René Vitikacs, commissary management specialist in charge of the site. “Along with the seasonal items, we also have everyday gift baskets filled with gourmet coffees, chocolates and cheeses.
“These are great ‘day brighteners’ for your loved one downrange or from them to you,” she added.
DeCA sells these baskets at cost plus the 5 percent surcharge, with an additional fee for shipping and handling.
To gain access to Virtual Commissary, a customer must be entered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System or DEERS. Command–sponsored Department of Defense civilians assigned overseas are also eligible to use the shopping venue. Customer information, it should be noted, is not archived by DeCA.
Once inside the secure portal on commissaries.com, shoppers make their selections and provide payment and shipping information before being transferred to the manufacturer’s site. There, they finalize their purchase, which includes shipping and handling fees.
Like most Internet shopping sites, the shipping and handling charges vary depending on the size and weight of the item, shipping method, location and speed of delivery. By clicking on the image of the gift basket they want, customers can find out more about what’s in the package as well as the availability for overseas delivery to APO and FPO addresses.
“According to our vendor, they make all of the gift baskets on site at their facility,” Vitikacs said. “At the time they receive the orders, their processing team selects the boxed gift, applies the shipping label and sends it out the same day. So you can shop anytime and give a great gift to your loved ones, wherever they are.”