$45 for a six-pack of Coke?

I think it was on Real Time With Bill Maher that an author claimed that U.S. troops are being charged $45 for a six-pack of Coke, as an example of the corrupt nature of military contracts.

Does a sixer of Coke really cost $45? If so, who pays it? The way it was worded it sounded as if a soldier would go to the PX (or whatever) and fork over two double-sawbucks and a fin for his Pause That Refreshes. :dubious: Isn’t the $45 figure how much (the author claims) it costs the government for the delivered six-pack?

Yeah. Haliburton delivered 240,000 cans of coke and charged for 240,000 cases. The price was $45 per case (30 cans) and included ice.


Well, at the BX here a 12 pack of coke cost about $2.50, I think.

PX prices are subsidized by the military, so that the soldiers may often pay less than the actual cost of the item.

This is often a major benefit for retired military & their families or widows – they are still allowed to buy items at military PX’s. If they continue to live near a military base, this can amount to a sizable saving to them.

According to the Chuck Schumer press release (not the most unbiased source of information), it’s not that the troops were being charged this much, but that Halliburton accidentally charged the government too much for this product. So, if anything, taxpayers, not troops, were being overcharged.

As on many things, Bill Maher’s facts are twisted to suit his comedic/political purposes.

I think this was given as an example of wasted military budget (due to lack of oversight), not ripping off individual troops. So was the “mistake” corrected? Is Schumer’s claim false? Is $45 a reasonable price for a case of coke, even with ice? The press release calls the price remarkable, is it common for us taxpayers to pay $45 for a case of coke with some ice delivered there?

$45 is reasonable for six cases of Coke. If I understood the the second post correctly, 1 can = price of 1 case.

Nevermind, I don’t think I understood the 2nd post correctly :smack:

I think people are conflating two issues here. The report says:

  1. As Gfactor says above, the price of a 30-can case of soda is said to be “remarkable” at $45. Now, around here you certainly don’t pay anywhere near $1.50 for a can of soda unless you’re using a highly-overpriced vending machine at Disneyland or something, even if you get ice with it. Seems high to me, but maybe that’s the normal price over in the desert, where ice is MORE VALUABLE THAN GOLD!!1! I don’t know.

  2. “In one,” the subcontracted company delivered only 1/30 of the amount of soda they were contracted by Halliburton to deliver. Presumably this happened “in one month,” since they were supposed to supply these cases monthly, and presumably they got paid for the full 37,200 cases instead of just 37,200 cans (although since it doesn’t say for sure, that part could just mean “Look at the incompetent morons Halliburton hired! Our troops went thirsty because of them!” rather than a money complaint, I guess.) Also, presumably they did this accidentally rather than as a sinister plot to steal our tax dollars. Still, it’s pretty stupid.

In any case, it’s not $45 for a six-pack of Coke, it’s for a 30-pack, which is less insane.

If it includes delivery to the warzone then it might be explainable - security costs, hazard pay, insurance and so on are going to make that expensive.

But cost-plus contracts are notoriously a very good way of ensuring that costs spiral out of control - even though ditching trucks rather than changing oil filters seems a little extreme.

There is no need to keep them iced down during transport. The trucks delivering soda pop to your local grocery store don’t. It’s much more efficient to just put them into a refrigerator once they are delivered.

But I can’t see that this did require delivery to a ‘warzone’. (Unless you classify the whole country as such.) Normally deliveries of supplies (especially this large a quantity) would go to a Quartermaster’s storage facility at a base camp in the ‘green zone’, and then be given out a few cases at a time to units when they get re-supplied.