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April 17, 2014

Students complain about inflated snack store prices

By Jordan Gonzalez and Josh Hoover

Kaitlyn Long, a sophomore studying biology at Cleveland State University walks out of Outtakes, the snack store in between the Student Center and the Communication Building, with a fresh cup of coffee.

“The prices aren’t good,” Long said, referring to the coffee. “I just go to [Outtakes] because it’s close and I don’t have to walk.”

She said she often packs a sandwich for lunch to help combat the prices during the school day.

Senior Tiara Fulton, a double major in psychology and criminology, shares Long’s sentiment.

“It’s expensive as hell,” Fulton said. “But I’m not going to walk all the way down the street – it’s convenient [to stop at Outtakes].”

When she can she will stop at Subway to get more for what she pays. She said she doesn’t pack lunches because it doesn’t fit well with the college student’s lifestyle.

“It’s harder to bring something with me, especially if you’re rushing,” Fulton said. “And where are you going to put it? It’s not like there is a refrigerator here.”

Many other students like Long and Fulton complained about the hiked up prices of snacks, gum and beverages, and many came to similar conclusions.

Despite the student complaints, food and drink prices were generally found to be comparable to other local convenience stores. Outside of a few exceptions, most notably Nature Valley granola bars, the prices at Outtakes were around 10 percent more than the prices found at the 1900 Food and Beverage Store.

Some emergency items were priced above the normal price. For instance, at Outtakes a travel-size women’s Secret deodorant was $3.79, and a men’s full-size Axe deodorant was $7.99 (roughly double the price than in a supermarket).

An Aquafina 24-ounce water bottle at Outtakes cost $1.50, but at 1900 Food and Beverage one can buy a 24-pack for $6.

James Razzante, the director of dining services, said that dining services tries to benchmark their prices with 1900 and with other similar local stores. Additionally, the secret shoppers that come through Outtakes and Fenn Shoppe have consistently scored the value of the products in the good range.

In an effort to be more transparent in their pricing, Dining Services will be rolling out a new informative campaign comparing prices for common items on campus, at 1900 and at Speedway. Most of the prices are very similar, with Cleveland State even having a better deal on some things. (double check with infographic).

The prices aren’t completely set by Dining Services, as they get their products through another vendor. The prices are marked up, but they aren’t increased any more than any other business does.

“We don’t even carry some products,” Razzante said. “We can’t justify charging students that much.”