The cost of the Munchies: What you’re really paying for

By Drew Matlovsky /// Staff Writer

Lets face it. We’ve all been there. It’s 11:19 p.m. on a Saturday, or perhaps 4:26 p.m. on a Friday, and for some reason — maybe you’ve taken, smoked, or drunk something, or maybe you simply skipped lunch — an undeniable urge has taken over you. You’re hungry. But you’re not just hungry in the liberal sense of the word, your stomach’s got the rumblies that only Maggie’s can satisfy. You crave a meal worthy of an olympian — or a bag of family size Funyuns and a squishy chair to gobble it all down.

It’s generally accepted knowledge that Maggie’s is overpriced compared to, say, Fred Meyer, but no one seems to ask why it’s such an pricey antidote to that Saturday night fever. Sure it’s expensive when you dish out $3.50 for a bag of Chex Mix when the lovely mega-chain charges you the same price for the Family Size version of the bag. It also certainly feels overpriced when Synergy Kombucha is given the same price as a bridge toll, ($5) or a lonely bag of 30 cent ACT II popcorn is hiked up to a dollar.

But we need to look at the price of Maggie’s groceries in the larger context. Maggie’s, at its heart, “is more comparable to a 7/11 — it’s a convenience store” General Bon Appétit manager Mac Lary mentions, and therefore it charges (inflated) convenience store prices. We are sadly paying for the convenience of buying pop-tarts and kombucha in our underwear at 11:15 p.m., and therefore aren’t given the savings when buying from a big-store chain. Maggie’s also doesn’t have the purchasing power of larger chains such as Target or Fred Meyer’s. “We purchase in much smaller volumes, we do individual pricing for Maggies, they do pricing for all their stores,” Mac mentions, leading to an upwards in cost, as Maggies can’t buy in bulk and charge cheaper prices, like larger stores can.

The solution to $5 Kombucha fees and dwindling flex points? Take a bus. Or don’t drink Kombucha. There’s a magical world out there for people who leave campus and travel to grocery stores to buy items in bulk. They charge less and you’ll save a ton of money. Maggie’s is there for convenience and they know it. They charge a higher price because they can’t afford to compete with Fred Meyer’s, and because they know students will pay for it. If you’re spending $15 on Oreos every time you go to Maggie’s, maybe it’s time to start shopping somewhere else, or give in to the fact that you’re paying not only for the food, but for the convenience.

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