By Julie Provost
When you are new to military life, all the rules and regulations can be a bit overwhelming. You might always be asking yourself if you are doing the right thing or making the best decisions. (And there’s sometimes gray areas, too!) But what about these seven military life faux pas?
1. Not tipping the bagger
When you shop at the commissary, a bagger will pack up your groceries and take them to your car. These workers only make money from your tips; they don’t get a paycheck. People tip anywhere between $1 to $20 based on their budgets and amount of groceries. Do you have to tip the commissary baggers? No, but you should. Even if you don’t agree with not paying the baggers, if you skip the tip, they will be making less than they otherwise would have. The baggers are often adults or teens who are looking for a way to make some extra money.
2. Posting deployment dates online
“My husband will be home from Iraq in 25 days! I can’t wait.” No, just. . . no. Do not post deployment dates on Facebook. Don’t post sensitive information on Facebook. Try not to share too much. Even if your profile is locked down, you still shouldn’t do this. Not only can posts like that put the troops in danger but they can also delay your spouse coming home from a deployment. Keep your countdowns to yourself and stay safe in your social media posts.
3. Starting drama
Although there will always be some drama in the military community–that’s life anywhere–you don’t need to be a part of it. And you certainly don’t want to start the drama. Being mature is always the best idea. News and gossip travels fast in the military world, but you don’t have to be a conduit.
4. Ignoring weight regulations
When you PCS, there will be weight regulations. Don’t go over them. If you do, you will have to pay a fee. Be aware of how many pounds you are allowed to move and make sure to stay under that amount. The amount you are allowed is based on rank. (A good rule of thumb is 1,000 pounds per any non storage/bathroom room in your home.) You should account for how much furniture you have and how heavy each piece is. Decluttering before a PCS is always a good idea.
5. Being a bad neighbor
Be a good neighbor, no matter where you are. If you are on base, most likely you are going to be living in close quarters with other people. Be respectful, watch your noise level, keep your areas clean, be aware of where your kids are playing, and watch your pets. All of this can go a long way in having a better experience while in military housing. Don’t be the neighbor that everyone hates.
6. Wearing your spouse’s rank
Your spouse’s rank is your spouse’s rank, not yours. Make friends with people you connect with, not who are married to someone that share the same rank with your spouse. Cutting yourself off because of rank can make life in a military community a lot more difficult.
7. Being rude to other spouses
Being rude to other spouses because they do military life differently than you is not okay. You don’t have to agree with what everyone says or even thinks about military life, but you can control how you respond and the answers you give. Stay away from military spouse bashing groups. You know the ones. Their only purpose is to make fun of other people, and it is a form of online bullying. Our community is better than that.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.