What's the Deal with Campus Dining???

Posted by: Geoff Gloeckler on January 6, 2009

In one of Jerry Seinfeld’s old stand-up routines he jokes about airports, specifically, how expensive things are: “Do the people that work in these little shops know how much things cost everywhere else in the world? Tuna sandwich? $14. We think that’s fair…”

I was reminded of this routine this morning after I read a story in The Lantern, Ohio State’s student newspaper, about the cost of food on campus. It’s an interesting read, but what I found to be most striking was the chart included in the story, which looks at how much a handful of food items cost on campus compared to a local grocery store. I’ve always heard students—myself included—complain about how expensive food is on college campuses, but I never have seen anyone actually prove it…until now.

According to the story, a can of Pringles costs $2.25 at an Ohio State campus dining facility, compared to $1.05 at the local Kroger grocery store. Oreos are $5.85 on campus, compared to $2.74 at Kroger. And the list goes on. Stealing a line from Mr. Seinfeld, do the people working at these campus dining halls know how much things cost everywhere else in the world?

It’s frustrating because not only do young college students have extremely tight budgets, but most do not have a way to get to stores located off-campus. They’re being taken advantage of, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

They might as well be shopping at the airport.

Reader Comments

James Bond

January 9, 2009 3:04 PM

Very true. It seems as though my school and the grocery store 2 minutes away may be in cohorts with each other in price fixing because they both seem to think that us lowly undergrads have deep enough pockets to buy $5 gallons of milk.

I'd be better off milking my dog. Wait can you do that?

Greg

January 22, 2009 1:16 PM

I think it's rather obvious that universities do not get near the discount that grocery chains do on food items because they simple do not buy big enough quantities to qualify. Universities are providing a luxury to their students in the form of convenience (a factor in price). The real question shouldn't be why universities charge so much, but why every generation of college students with the same complaint still pays these "exorbitant" prices. They know very well that if they stop being so lazy and find somewhere else to shop, then the university will have to either lower prices in response, or get out of the business altogether. (I think the same argument can be used, to a certain extent, with textbooks also... especially now that it's much easier to buy books online.)

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