Armed Services Teach Customer Service Lesson

Sep 14, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

While the recent violence brought the tally of American military personnel killed in Iraq to over 1,000
since U.S. and British forces first invaded that country, less media coverage has been given to the experience of those wounded in action.

According to the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), about 7,000 troops have been injured since the war began. Many of these, reports AAFES, have been “quickly evacuated from Iraq and moved to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany with little more than the clothes on their backs.”

Sergeant Jay T. Beatty was one of those who landed in Germany after sustaining a leg wound while on duty.

Although by his own admission Sergeant Beatty had only his wallet and ID tags with him, he was pleasantly surprised to meet two AAFES employees from Ramstein Air Force Base who appeared at his bedside to give him a certificate for $250 in clothing and the offer to do his shopping for him.

These personal shoppers were on hand to assist Sergeant Beatty as part of Public Law 1559, which allows
AAFES to dedicate personal shoppers to assist those wounded in the service of their country.

Sergeant Beatty hopes to be up and about again in three to six-months and says the service provided by AAFES has made his recuperation just a little bit easier. “I think that people should know about this program and how it’s helping the service members,” he said.

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the AAFES’s personal shopper program? Do you see opportunities for civilian retailers to use personal
shoppers to create goodwill and loyal customer followings?

The AAFES has a program, “Gifts from the Homefront,” which accepts contributions for service people such as Sergeant Beatty. According to a release from
AAFES, “A ‘Gift from the Homefront’ can be sent to an individual service member (designated by the purchaser) or distributed to ‘any service member’ through the American Red Cross,
Air Force Aid Society, Fisher House Foundation or the USO. To date, AAFES charitable partners have distributed 7,462 ‘Gifts from the Homefront’ certificates to troops around the

Gift certificates can be purchased by logging on to the AAFES Web site at

George Anderson – Moderator

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