Students' guide to local prices

By Laura Crowley

Arts & Life Editor

For college students on a budget, buying products at their lowest price is essential. A comparison of prices reveals that Wal-Mart and Weis offer many common items at much lower prices than CVS and the Bison Café.

For instance, a 14.2 oz bottle of Head & Shoulders Shampoo at Wal-Mart costs $4.72, while the same bottle costs $4.99 at Weis and $5.99 at CVS. This gradual increase in prices from Walmart, Weis and CVS is seen across several products.

A 3.25 oz Old Spice deodorant costs $2.18 at Wal-Mart, $2.39 at Weis and $2.99 at CVS. The same 3.25 oz Old Spice deodorant costs $4.19 at the Bison Café. This means that deodorant is about twice as expensive in the Bison Café than it is at Wal-Mart.

Even more astounding is the price of Advil. A bottle of 200 Advil pills costs $14.28 at Wal-Mart and $15.49 at Weis. At CVS, 24 pills cost $4.29, and at the Bison Café, 10 Advil pills cost $9.97. Based on this, 200 pills would cost $199.4 at the Bison Café. Advil at the Bison Café costs almost six times as much as Advil at CVS and about 14 times as much as Advil at Wal-Mart.

Food costs across these stores mirror this trend. One box of Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers costs $2.78 at Wal-Mart, $3.19 at Weis and $3.99 at CVS. The same box of on-the-go pasta costs $6.99 at the Bison Café. In this case, the Bison Café’s prices are two and a half times higher than Walmart’s.

Another stark price difference is seen in Nutri-Grain bars. A box of eight Kellogg Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars costs $2.86 at Wal-Mart, $3.19 at Weis and $4.19 at CVS. The price of a single Nutri-Grain bar at the Bison Café is $1.05. This means that a typical box of eight Nutri-Grain bars would cost $8.40 at the Bison Café. In this case, you could buy three boxes of Nutri-Grain bars at Wal-Mart or two boxes at CVS for the same price of just one box at the Bison Café.

To save money, students should clearly shop at Wal-Mart or Weis and avoid CVS or the Bison Café as prices in these places can be more than double those of Wal-Mart or Weis. However, buying cheap introduces the problem of accessibility.  Of all these stores observed, the cheapest (Wal-Mart) is also the farthest.  Similarly, the most expensive (the Bison Café) is the closest to the majority of the student body.

This fact poses a problem for students who don’t have cars. Such students will be more likely to buy goods at inflated prices due to accessibility and convenience.

Perhaps because of such accessibility and convenience, the Bison Café can charge such steeper prices and still expect sales. Another reason may be our readiness as students to constantly swipe our BUIDs that seem to hold imaginary money usually provided by our parents. It is hard to blame the Bison Café for having such high prices as students seem overwhelmingly willing to swipe their cards in large ignorance of the enormous costs.

Students attempting to save their own money or their parents’ money should avoid succumbing to the convenience of the Bison Café and CVS and buy in bulk at Wal-Mart or Weis.

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