Why are the prices at The Grove so high?
“The Grove is too expensive.”
All Pacific students have surely heard this opinion repeated all throughout campus, and many are likely to agree with it wholeheartedly. Let’s start by looking at a brief price comparison between The Grove and the nearby Target on Pacific Avenue:
At The Grove, a tray package of Oreo cookies will cost a student $7.94, while at Target, the same size box will only run you $2.99. A similar price hike can be seen with the cold and flu medicine DayQuil, where an eight ounce bottle at The Grove costs $13.40, and the same bottle at Target sells for $7.99. If a student wished to purchase some Fabreze air freshener to improve the smell of their dorm, they can pick up a bottle from The Grove for $6.43, unless they prefer to make the trip to Target, where they will pay less than half that price (the same size Fabreze bottle at Target costs $3.12).
However, not all products are as outrageously overpriced. Some food items tend to be somewhat similar between the two stores, as an apple at The Grove will cost you $0.85 and only $0.79 at Target., a difference of just six cents. A few products are even slightly cheaper; a bottle of water from The Grove costs only $1.54, and a bottle of the same size costs customers $1.67 at Target, and tomatoes are less expensive from our little market than the chain retailer.
From this comparison though, we can see that The Grove is quite comparable in some categories, and quite a bit more expensive in several others. Many students have expressed displeasure about the high cost, inconsistent stocking and out-of-date or incorrect price tags.
The Grove is managed by Bon Appétit, the catering company affiliated with University of the Pacific. A student Grove employee who wishes to remain anonymous sat down with us to provide a great deal of helpful insight into Bon Appétit, who oversees and controls all Pacific food sales.
“The Bon Appétit monopoly provides the school with a stable food supply that’s reasonably healthy and that requires little University oversight,” they pointed out. “Yes, it’s a shame that Bon Appétit has to charge high prices, but they have to cover their business costs too, including contractor fees, supplies and equipment and transport and shipping.”
Another factor in high Grove prices on certain goods is their sporadic, small-scale weekly deliveries and small storeroom. “Unlike a large grocery store, The Grove is very small and receives many weekly shipments,” added the student employee, who handles such shipments daily.
Additionally, there seems to be confusion amongst students as to who The Grove’s primary intended consumers really are. “Students who pay cash or credit forget that Bon Appétit is on campus to provide food for the needs of campus residents,” the employee explained. “If non-dorm residents come on grounds and buy from Bon Appétit, then they are paying higher prices because Bon Appétit has to replace their purchases for dorm residents who can’t buy elsewhere.”
College students hate paying high prices, especially for their food. Due to the business’ size, management and role, The Grove’s prices on certain goods will always be high. What can students do to avoid being overcharged for everyday goods?
To start, students should run a cost analysis of their own. As it would suggest, the most reasonable purchases to make at The Grove are for small snacks, individual fruits, vegetables and freshly made food. For medicine, hygiene items, large snacks and frozen/packaged meals, students are advised to check larger chains close by campus or even back home to avoid the inflated costs. For students without vehicles, Pacific’s campus shuttle program can take students to Stockton’s most popular shopping plazas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
As a final point, students are also encouraged to review their remaining meal plan balances regularly. Even if price tags at The Grove may seem high, Pacific meal plans are paid for in full at the start of each semester. Only 300 credits transfer over from fall to spring, and any remaining credits after spring finals are completely lost.
Because of this, saving one’s meal plan credit can be detrimental. With this in mind, paying “more” with one’s meal plan on campus is often more advantageous than paying “less” for an item via cash or debit off campus.
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