Laugh if you will – but I love strolling the base exchange. Depending on the installation it can be a BX, PX, or NEX…but they’re all the same department store owned and operated by AAFES.
No matter where you are in the world, the exchange will offer very similar experiences with local flair when possible. It’s this familiarity that can be relaxing, so whether I’m waiting to get a haircut on Luke AFB, or using an ATM on Fort Shafter I can expect to see a familiar layout and products – and that’s what this post is about – five favorites in the BX that I can expect to see and buy almost anywhere in the world (but more likely CONUS).
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links; I may earn a tiny commission from purchases.
So the following five favorites are things that I really do buy on base – or at least enjoy seeing when I walk through with a coffee.
- Clearance clothing
- Body Shop products
- Pacifica products
- Eco-conscious shampoos
- Sonos speakers
This one is self-explanatory, because we all like to save a few dollars when possible.
I don’t buy clothes on base often, but when I do I always check the clearance racks first. One of the nice things about being petite is that small sizes are often available, but I don’t count on it. For women’s clothing I can expect mid-range designers like Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. The children’s section has a lot of Osh Kosh and Carters, the activewear section is full of Nike and Underarmor. I don’t shop the men’s section often enough to recall any brands, but that’s only because Mister Jupiter is tall and slim – I buy most of his clothes online.
The junior’s section may be disappointing for actual teenagers because the options are (not surprisingly) conservative. But I happen to like Union Bay, on clearance or full price.
-Body Shop products
I just really like Body Shop – especially their tea tree line.
I use products so sparingly that they last a long time (probably too long to be honest), but I like giving Body Shop as gifts. Most exchanges will have a fixture full of options – and there’s always something new for me to see and smell.
I’ve written about my love of Pacifica here and there – especially their coconut probiotic cream that my skin loves.
I can buy some Pacifica at my local Target, but the BX has a far greater selection. I enjoy trying new-to-me products every few months – not all are a hit, but that’s okay. If I buy something that isn’t amazing I can always go back and buy a known favorite. I usually stick to face creams, but I’ve tried some hair product and body spray too.
I’m kind of late to the sulfate-free shampoo buying, but better late than never!
Aafes buyers know that people want cleaner options, so they are making sure that we have those options in our local exchanges. I already like Love Beauty and Planet, but I may have to try Not Your Mother’s Naturals (after reading the label of course). I generally prefer Japanese and French shampoos (like this Mango butter shampoo by Klorane), but that’s just because I haven’t really fallen in love with any American brands. Luckily there are many options and I just need to start trying these.
We’re a Sonos family. We have a speaker in almost each room of our house and love the volume and sound clarity.
Since shopping at the exchange is tax-free shopping this really helps with Sonos purchases (well, for the speakers that aren’t sold by IKEA – we have one of those too). Our local BX has a few models on the shelves, but not always the color we want…this is where shopping the BX online really shines. Same prices, same tax-free privilege, wider selection online. We prefer white speakers, so we check out the size and styles in-store, then buy online because our BX carries more black Sonos than white. Anybody with a military ID can shop aafes.com, but you really need your ID handy to log in.
And that’s it for this little glimpse into some military-life creature comforts! I’m always curious to see what sections or features speak to you and bring you calm – so comment below if you care to share.