FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. — Sgt. Malcom Jones was surprised and underwhelmed when he asked a Fort Huachuca Post Exchange employee when they would restock plain white socks, and employees responded by throwing confetti and balloons as a piñata popped out from between the aisles.
“We’re not restocking medium white socks, only men’s XXS,” shouted store manager Morgan Ellison over a warbling boombox. “Surprise!!! You’re the AAFES 10 millionth disappointed customer!”
The party, organized by AAFES to get some of the cool social media content the kids are talking about, featured $8 balloons, black confetti, and a piñata full of advertisements for a military star card.
“AAFES has a long and storied history of disappointing America’s finest young men and women, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the historic 10 millionth disappointed service member walk through our half-renovated doors,” said Ellison. “Going all the way back to the Civil War, when the commissary service only stocked stale chicory and laudanum, or to World War II when the combined exchanges would only sell husky ‘n’ hairy Soviet pin-ups for the boys in the front, we’re proud to carry on this mediocre tradition.”
The most enthusiastic attendees at the party were the combined kiosk venders, who stood ready to berate Jones with demands that they try their essential oils, wigs, Buffalo Soldier art made my kindergarteners, interracial romance novels, ceramic knives, and hand crocheted yoga mat bags, all at substantial mark-ups.
Still, a group of retirees had gathered, frustrated that Jones had gotten first pick of the free pill bottle opener keychains.
In addition to the party, Jones will get his own special reserved parking space, just behind the General Officer, base commander, E9, base senior enlisted, handicapped, expectant mother, wounded warrior, Gold Star Mother, Gold Star Father, Soldier of the Year, Soldier of the Quarter, GS-15 and Officer Spouse’s Club president reserved parking spaces. The space is marked at the end of the row, next to the dumpster that blocks the most rational way out of the parking lot.
“I really just wanted to grab some socks for PT without having to drive into Sierra Vista, but I guess this is kind of alright. Can I leave now?” said Jones.
“No,” said Ellison. “This gift card is for you.”
“But it’s for Target,” said Jones.
“We know. That’s probably a better option for you.”
“We know that, too,” said Ellison.
And with that, the surprise party faded away as quickly as it appeared.