Overpricing at the U-Store: processed food kills (your wallet, that is)

‘The U-Store is too good to be true,’ I remember thinking during move-in day. It had the felt hangers I forgot, the sugar for the coffee grounds I brought from home and imitations of the baked goods my Mom makes better.

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Six months later, I found myself dragging a massive Amazon Prime Pantry box back to my dorm with items I could have bought at the U-Store, just a minute walk from my Mathey residence, but chose to buy from Amazon instead. How did my relationship with the U-Store get to this point, where I walk an extra 25 minutes to avoid it?

Turns out, I was right that first day. The U-Store is too good to be true. After a few trips back first semester, I realized how overpriced many of its items were. This is likely since it is the only supplier of grocery-like goods in all of Princeton and Nassau St.’s mix of specialty groceries and expensive restaurants.

Motivated by my walk with the heavy box, I set out to find out just how overpriced the U-Store was.

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The Experiment

I wanted a broad sampling of goods that students could buy other places, so I kept my sampling to the cosmetic and hygienic items, pre-packaged food and drink, and dorm goods sections. I went through each aisle and chose two items randomly, recording their sizes in ounces and their non-member prices. Then, I found two comparable prices for each item online, excluding Amazon’s prices since they are unusually low. (The comparable prices were usually from Target or Walmart.) I averaged the comparable prices and compared the difference in the U-Store price with the competitor price in percentage. Some items were thrown out of the experiment because there were no comparable prices online.

Findings and Theories: the Good, the Bad, the Booty

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On average, U-Store goods were priced 67.33 percent over their usual prices. That’s 57.33 percent over their prices for members.

Only one good out of 30 was priced below the market price: a four oz. bag of Pirate’s Booty was 10 percent cheaper at the U-Store. Two goods were priced at their market price: a four-pack of men’s Jockey Classics Full-Rise Briefs and Nissin Cup Noodles. Wet Ones were priced two percent over their usual price.

The most overpriced good was a 12.4 oz. box of Cheez-Its, priced at $6.29, 213 percent over its comparable price. Hunt’s Pudding priced at 150 percent its usual price, and a 13 oz. box of Chip’s Ahoy cookies were 90 percent over its competitor’s price.

Generally, as I moved from the food aisles closest to the University Place entrance toward the aisles closest to the pre-packaged meal section, items seemed to become more overpriced. They seem to place the most profitable goods closest to the main entrance for easy access by students in their most desperate and zombie-like state after hitting the Street or pulling an all-nighter.

Processed food was the most over-priced category, followed by cosmetics and hygiene-related items and by dorm goods and necessities, like underwear.

Another shocking revelation from this study: Hot Pockets are not sold online. Not even on Amazon.

This was not a perfect study, but the findings are clear. Generally, follow the booty for the best prices. Thank the U-Store for your Hot Pocket consumption. Drop your Cheez-Its habit.

-ECS

Conspiracy Theorist for NJ Governor (Also, Do 90% of Princeton Students Work for the NSA?)

 

For those who are already preparing to cast their vote in the 2017 New Jersey Gubernatorial race, there’s an underdog who should not be ignored: Jeff Boss.

Mr. Boss has run for elected office over a dozen times, often with the slogan “NSA did 9/11.” Most of Boss’s campaigns are focused on his claim to have witnessed the U.S. Government organize the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, offering little in the way of policy positions. Boss’s last candidacy for New Jersey senate received 9,877 votes.

On Boss’s website, he claims to possess DVD recordings of “550+ people, 20 military in uniform, and a former Vice President all confirming [Boss’s] story on camera with 40 sworn affadavits (sic).”

When the Press Club requested an interview with Boss, he promptly declined with a bold statement via email:

“almost 90% of the students at Princeton work for the nsa, no thanks”

His response made a claim that—if true—would be astonishing. But, after some preliminary fact-checking, it seems that 90% of Princeton students in fact do not work for the N.S.A. (at least not officially).

When Boss was asked how it could be proven that his interviewers do not work for the N.S.A., he did not respond for comment.

It can be assumed that Boss is particularly emboldened by the recently released Wikileaks documents which allege that the C.I.A has conducted widespread espionage on U.S. citizens (it remains unconfirmed, at the moment). In his YouTube videos, Boss has suggested that the U.S. government uses “massive computers” to spy on citizens.

In addition to his 2018 New Jersey Governor’s candidacy, Boss will be on the ballot for Mayor of N.Y.C. in 2017, as well as the 2020 Presidential ballot. He has asked Edward Snowden to be his Vice President on the 2020 ballot.

In the meantime, those Princeton students who do work for the N.S.A. should be wary of this not-quite-new-comer on the political stage.

[Correction: An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect date for the upcoming New Jersey gubernatorial election. The election will be held in November 2017, not 2018.]

The Nassau Weekly just trolled The Daily Princetonian, big time.

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The Nassau Weekly‘s latest cover features a gibberish-filled article, with four incorrect spellings of “Nassau Weekly” circled in aggressive red ink.

Nassau Weakly. 

     Nassuh Bleakly. 

           TASA Weekly.

                   Nasal Weekly. 

What gives?

Well, it’s all a huge joke — and at the butt of it is the Daily Princetonian. 

Two Wednesdays ago, the Daily Princetonian ran an article on undergraduate food co-ops on campus. Featured in the story was Alex Gottlieb ’18, the co-president of the Real Food Co-op.

But alas, Alex Gottlieb never made it into the article. The Daily Princetonian, somehow, managed to spell his name wrong three different ways, four times.

 

Gottlie.

    Tottlieb.

         Tottlieb (again).

And, enlarged, in a pull-quote, Tottlie.

The actual name, Gottlieb, never appeared. How that happened is a mystery.

But the Nass took it upon themselves to memorialize the Prince‘s series of unfortunate typos, and thus was born this week’s cover.