Why is it that every mess I've been to cannot compete with the local economy, yet they have little or no overhead (i.e. infrastructure costs) to contend with like their civilian counterparts. Are we being ripped off?
It all depends on the mess in question. Mine is quite heavily subsidised because it has a lot of functions that turn a profit and are well attended. We also do a lot of "Family Saturdays" and bar-b-qs that draw a crowd in the summer. I have heard of some more profitable messes being required to subsidise less profitable ones, usually the Sgts subsidising Regt functions as they tend to be the most "liquid".
When one purchases a commission one knows that Mess life is not cheap. One has to buy enough champagne and polish for ones batman to bull ones footwear, and other incidental expenses are involved. I hope your salary goes to charity and you live of your private income. If Mess expenses are a problem, then how on earth are you going to be able to afford to provide uniforms for your regiment when you command.
Sorry, Sir. They can't all be LEs. If they were they would be costing functions before holding them. Sounds terribly un-officerlike I know, but it is ever such a help knowing if you have some of the old folding stuff to spare (or a suitable line of credit) before splashing out. Good Lord, silly me. Of course we do. It's called a mess bill........
Mess functions, as far as I am aware, are only held in the Sgt's and Cpl's messes. Any more of this appalling choice of words and it we'll soon end up hearing phrases like "Gents, please be upstanding", "a great finger buffeT" and "cash bar only".