Whether students are looking for a quick morning bite before class, or just want to avoid venturing out to the dining hall during a snowstorm, having food conveniently available in their room is an essential.
While having a dorm room stocked with snacks is central to a successful semester, maintaining one on a college budget can be tricky. There are multiple different places to buy your inventory, so the Torch decided to investigate the most affordable place to do so.
The most convenient place to shop for resident students is clearly the Marketplace, the small convenience shop behind Montgoris Dining Hall. Just a few steps from the dorms, it’s a quick and easy trip on the way back from classes or after a Montgoris visit. However, convenience comes at a cost.
To compare the different options, the Torch compared the prices of seven popular dorm room food products at the Marketplace, 7-11 and a local C-Town Supermarket.
The items chosen were bananas, a gallon of milk, a family size bag of Lays potato chips, a box of strawberry Pop Tarts, a Nature Valley granola bar, a box of Hot Pockets and a Yoplait yogurt. In some instances, prices were fairly adjusted to account for differences in quantity.
Across all seven products, the supermarket was the cheapest option, with products from the Marketplace averaging more than double those prices at $26.28 compared to $12.33. The convenience store 7-11 came in almost exactly between them at $18.20.
Some products, such as the potato chips, only costed 25 percent more on campus, but others including milk costed more than three times as much as their supermarket equivalents.
The price for convenience is generally attributed to longer turnaround times and limited shelving space, but there is still a significant gap between 7-11 and the Marketplace, both of which operate under similar conditions. The Marketplace also offers no sales tax and a 10 percent bonus when more than $250 dining dollars is purchased, which lessens this gap, but doesn’t completely close it.
For students looking to save, the research shows that while it is convenient to utilize the Marketplace as a last-minute option when necessary, in order to capitalize on better deals and a larger selection, students should buy as much as possible from large supermarkets in preparation of the long semester.