Friday, October 30, 2009

Princeton Price Comparison: CVS v. Wawa v. U-Store (Round 1)

CVS. Wawa. The U-Store. Princeton’s very own triumvirate for food and school supplies. Yet not all members of this holy alliance were created equal.

In what will hopefully become a weekly staple of The Prox, your very own resident economist (with a comprehensive education in Introduction of Microeconomics) will compare prices and try to dispel myths associated with each store (e.g., "The U-Store has higher prices," "CVS is cheapest" etc.). We’ll analyze the benefits and detriments of each, and hopefully, by the end of this, we’ll gather enough empirical evidence so that you’ll know whether it’s worth the time to schlep all the way to CVS to buy a stapler or just head over to the U-Store. Maybe we’ll even learn something about the way prices operate in a (relatively) closed environment. Today, we’ll compare the price of various junk food and drink items.

Red Bull, 8.4 oz

CVS: $2.19
Wawa: $2.19
U-Store: $2.20 (Why the extra cent?)

Advantage: Even.

Gatorade, Lemon Lime 32 oz.

CVS: $1.99
Wawa: $2.19
U-Store: $2.20

Advantage: CVS.

Coca-Cola, 67.6 oz

CVS: $1.99
Wawa: $1.99
U-Store: only sells 50.7 oz bottle for $1.75 --- converted into 67.6 oz. terms, this costs $2.33

Advantage: CVS, Wawa.

Pringles, 6.38 can

CVS: $2.43
Wawa: $2.59
U-Store: $2.39

Advantage: U-Store.

Tostitos, 13 oz. bag

CVS: $3.99
Wawa: $3.99
U-Store: $3.99

Advantage: Even.

While this is only the first set of data collected, the prices seem to be relatively stable across the stores, with onlycola slight fluctuations. In fact, the only real anomaly in prices is the 40-cent increase in the converted price of Coca- at the U-Store. Perhaps the perceived gap in prices between each store is closer than it appears. The search continues next week.


Anonymous said...

For food items, how does the U-store membership factor in? (there is a discount if you use a card).

Anonymous said...

good point anon.