Campus markets aren’t cheap

Oct 17th, 2013 | By
| Category: 2013-10-17, Editorial, Fall 2013, Opinion, Top Headlines

Written by: Sarah Turner

It is obvious that items such as produce, canned goods and other dinners and snacks in Sustella and Langdale markets are overpriced. No matter how much we complain about this, prices show no promise of dropping in the future. However, there is a way to save your money.

One might assume that the markets raise their prices to increase their own profit. However, there is a lot more that factors into the price of an item than just item cost and store profit.

“It’s not like I’m paying $2 for an item and marking it up 1,000 percent,” Pete Harkness, resident district manager of V-State Dining, said. “It doesn’t work that way. One of the problems is we have other costs involved in running the business. We have an added cost that we have to pay the university that has to be figured into the equation.”

Harkness explained that aside from giving the university their commission, the markets also have to pay their employees and supply them with benefits.

Another reason prices are higher than grocery store prices is because the markets cannot buy in the same magnitude as other stores.

There are some items in the on-campus markets that cost about the same price in grocery stores. Frito Lay and Coke products have a pre-sale price that the markets abide by.

“We’re locked into corporate pricing,” Harkness said. “Meaning Frito Lay has a cooperate pricing that they do with everyone, so we’re able to pass that same pricing to the consumer; same with coke.”

Other items, however, are marked up around 65 percent, which is not affordable to most college students, even with Blazer Bucks and Flex accounts.

If you live on campus, you are required to have some sort of meal plan. For example, Centennial Hall adds $475 of Blazer Bucks to the original costs of living there. One might expect that much money to last throughout the semester; however, if you are doing your weekly shopping at the markets, then you will see that your bucks are gone in a month or so.

Our advice is to only use your VSU accounts for items such as Frito Lay and Coke products. For everything else, hop on the special VSU bus that goes to Walmart and the mall to get your bread, produce, milk, etc. By using your cash and accounts simultaneously for specific items, you will save money in the long run.

Not only will you save money by doing the above, but it may also send a message to VSU. As if going to school here isn’t expensive enough, we shouldn’t have to over pay for on-campus grocery items. Therefore, VSU should consider not asking for a share from the markets’ profits.

We can’t blame the markets for their heavy prices. However, we can shop smarter.

Express your opinions by sending the staff a tweet at @vsuspectator.

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One Comment to “Campus markets aren’t cheap”

  1. Rickey Hooks says:

    Food services at Valdosta State, including the on-campus markets and dining centers, are indeed expensive in comparison to off-campus options. As a current commuter student residing off-campus, with access to a personal vehicle, using Blazer Bucks to shop and eat at on-campus dining centers and stores usually does not make sense, considering my resources.

    However, I was once a resident student at Centennial Hall, back when VSU was contracted with Sodexho. I also did not own a vehicle, did not have a job or a steady income source, and the schedule for Wal-Mart runs via VSU shuttle were in conflict with my class schedule. In this past situation, the Unlimited plan was an excellent option to ensure that I would have access to food and beverages, regardless of the amount of cash or Blazer Bucks I had available to spend. Whether I wanted a full meal or just a drink, the Unlimited plan allowed me to pop inside of Hopper or Palms and find something to snack on at most hours of the day. Of course, what was on the menu wasn’t always what I had a taste for, but a stomach full of stir-fried tofu was still a full stomach. Demonstrating this point, near the end of a past semester, I can recall being approached by two female students who attempted to “tease” their way into having me pay for both of their meals at Palms, the ladies apparently having run out of Blazer Bucks and/or meals swipes for the semester.

    With that memory in mind, I would encourage students that lack dependable access to a vehicle, a constant income source, and/or are short on time and availability for the Wal-Mart runs to consider the Unlimited option. Chik-Fil-A sandwiches, Starbucks smoothies, and Papa John’s pizza are indeed delicious, however, it is far more important to ensure that you always have a dependable nutrition source in Valdosta. Additionally, the Blazer Bucks provided with the Unlimited plan should be enough for students to occasionally treat themselves to other campus dining options throughout the semester.

    Perhaps just as beneficial is your preservation of dignity and self-respect, in not having to go “gold digging” for Blazer Bucks at the end of the semester. Street walking for campus dining dollars is unlikely to be an experience you’ll look back upon with fondness.

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