$5.99 for a box of Lucky Charms. $4.39 for an 8 fl oz container of Hellmann’s Mayo. Thousands of dollars a year in meal plans.
Located in Dinneen Hall, QuickZone Marketplace is an SPU student’s stop for snacks, cold meals and basic toiletries such as tissues, cleaning supplies and toothpaste. But many students agree, while QuickZone may be convenient, it certainly is not cheap.
“Those prices are not okay,” said Sabrina Cruz, a commuter. “It’s not even reasonable.”
Christopher Flores, who graduated in 2017, also agreed.
“I remember when I was there and it was overpriced then, so I’m assuming it hasn’t gotten any better,” he said. “[It’s] like, Great Depression Era prices.”
Maddie Milne, who attends Green River Community College in Washington State, recalls the high QuickZone prices from when she visited a friend at Saint Peter’s, who has since transferred.
“I remember Lindsey and I ended up walking to the Walgreens in Journal Square to buy cereal and eggs because it was twice the amount at QuickZone,” she said. “[At Green River] we have a little store like QuickZone on the main campus … QuickZone is definitely more expensive.”
The costly prices of each item at QuickZone becomes more apparent when comparing them to their retail market value. Some items can have their prices marked up to as high as double.
For example, a 10.5 oz box of Fruit Loops, which at retail is $2.99, costs $5.99 at QuickZone.
Cynthia Farabaugh, the Dining Services Director for Saint Peter’s, explained that prices at QuickZone are compared to surrounding retail locations.
“Well, for one, when we compare [prices], we do compare ourselves to like a Wawa, CVS, a 7/11 kind of thing,” she said.
The process of determining pricing, according to Farabaugh, is that a list of prices is created that administration -- in this case, the Vice President of Student Life and Development -- would then approve.
“We submit annually a pricing list. So we make a competitive analysis, we call it a market basket. And we present that along with what our current prices are and then what our recommended prices are for the next academic year,” she explained.
Farabaugh denied The Pauw Wow’s request to examine the pricing list, claiming the list is normally restricted between her and administration. The last person to approve the pricing list was former Vice President of Student Life and Development Anthony Skevakis who has since left the university, leaving Erin McCann as the Interim Vice President.
McCann gave no comment on the issue, and further requests from The Pauw Wow to Farabaugh to examine the pricing list have been left unaddressed.
At SPU, where both residents and commuters have meal plans, some students explain that their Munch Money is wasted by the high prices.
Evangelia Vasilakis, a member of the women’s swimming and diving team, explained that her Munch Money “just goes down the drain” due to the high prices — which makes her situation as an athlete all the more difficult.
“I always have to run and rush at the cafeteria because I cannot afford the extreme prices at QuickZone,” she said. “I don’t always get enough time to eat because of this, and that affects my performance in swim.”
Nanci Wynman, who has severe food allergies, also struggles to find food at a reasonable price. The SPU junior is unable to eat any kind of spice, pumpkin, cinnamon, oranges, meat or dairy — just to name a few.
“Vegan and vegetarian options are double in price,” she said. “And when you’re vegetarian, lactose free or vegan, your Munch Money number is still the same. So you go through it faster for just simple meals.”
Ksenia Stsepyetkina, the Unit Marketing Coordinator of Dining Services, explained that unusually high prices aren’t always purposeful.
“We always encourage students or faculty, whoever has any type of issue, if they see a bottle of water is $3 sometimes, unfortunately for us, a register system isn't perfect,” she said. “Sometimes it's as simple as a mistake. Somebody typed in the wrong number or the computer messed it up.”
Stsepyetkina expressed that if students are uncomfortable with pricing, that they can reach out either in person, online or by social media to alert the staff and that they would be met with “urgency.”