It’s no secret that the prices at the University of New Haven’s C-Store are quite high. Students are constantly complaining about the prices and most don’t understand why they are so steep.
The Campus Convenience Store, normally referred to as “the C-Store,” is located on the ground level of Sheffield Hall. The C-Store offers a variety of different products, ranging from cereal or candy, to packaged meats, and different toiletries.
Linette Perkins, Manager of the C-Store and Sandella’s, and Dawn Noble, Assistant Manager of the C-Store, acknowledged that the prices of many items can be pricy. However, she explained rather than buying in bulk like supermarkets do, they buy by piece.
“We’re not as big as a normal supermarket,” Perkins said. “Supermarkets buy in bulk, but we buy by the piece.”
According to Perkins, the small size of the C-Store and its storage room is what leads to expensive products. Because of the limited space, Perkins can’t buy in bulk, and Sodexo, the company that provides all food on campus, is forced to raise prices in order to make profit.
What many students don’t know is that the C-Store was previously located next to Sandella’s, where the dining area is now. “The prices were much higher back then,” Perkins said. “Maybe if we expand again, the prices may go down again.”
Products such as milk, eggs and bread, the staples of all meals, are priced much higher than those of ShopRite, Target and CVS, all similar stores in the vicinity. A carton of large eggs at ShopRite is $2.99; at the C-Store, eggs are $3.29. A loaf of bread from the campus convenience store ranges anywhere from $4 to $6, but won’t cost you more than $3 at an outside supermarket. At ShopRite, butter is sold two for $5, while at the C-Store, butter costs $3.69.
Senior Danielle Martinez joked about the prices of food at the C-Store, claiming “a bag of tortilla chips cost more money than if I traveled to Mexico and bought them there.”
Students are not bound to the campus store; both ShopRite and CVS are less than ten minutes away by foot and offer the same types of goods for cheaper prices, but for some students, convenience triumphs costliness.
“It is convenient to have a store right there,” sophomore Kyle Pickard said. “Then it becomes a debate of whether the higher price is worth not walking as far.”
For other students, the C-Store isn’t an option. “The prices are simply not worth the quality or convenience of the food they have,” said sophomore Ryan Elblein.
“I like the idea of the C-Store because it’s convenient, but the prices make it not worth it,” said sophomore Kayla Walsh.
The issue comes down to the amount of dining dollars each student has. Freshman are required to have the Charger Unlimited dining plan, leaving them to start with $525 dining dollars. Upperclassmen can choose between four different plans, providing them with, at most, $825 dining dollars.
Many students, even those who start with $825, find themselves running low on money quickly, and put the blame on the C-Store.
“This is why people are out of dining dollars so fast,” said sophomore Tatiana Branch. “You buy three things and it cost $20. Meanwhile, at ShopRite, $20 can get you food for a few days.”
For sophomores Samantha Higgins, Jared Ensling, and Erin Start, the poor customer service bothers them more than the prices at times.
“There are no ‘hellos’ or ‘have a nice day.’ [The C-Store employees] are more worried about their phones, than they are about a paying customer,” Start said. Higgins agreed that the cashiers’ constant use of cell phones is troubling.
Ensling described a scene he saw once where a student stole over $40 worth of products and wasn’t caught. “I was in the [C-Store] two weeks ago and, as usual, it was crowded after a big event on campus, but this time I watched a student walk around the store, stuffing things into his backpack.”
According to Noble, there aren’t a lot of cases of shoplifting. If caught shoplifting something small, she said, the student will just be reprimanded. If caught stealing large quantities of food, Campus Police will be called and that student will be banned from the C-Store.
In one instance, Perkins said, a student made it out of the store with packaged meat hidden under his sweater, and Campus Police was waiting for him when he got out. He was suspended and banned from the C-Store. “We missed it,” she said of the shoplifting, “but the police saw it and they were there.”
Students would prefer an increase in variety at the C-Store to an increase in price. Sophomore Victoria Stearns wishes the C-Store offered more healthy food choices, like frozen veggies and foods of that nature, while student Caprisha Richards wants more options for “the gluten free folks.”
Perkins and Noble try their hardest to work with the students; they understand that money is hard to come by as a college student. Perkins puts items on sale when a new shipment of the same item is coming in. The C-Store has also been putting up different sales of the week, which can be found posted to the front door of the store.
“Whatever can do for the kids, we do,” Perkins said.Tweet