Mythbusters: Genuardi’s and the Co-op

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

It is common wisdom at Swarthmore College that the Swarthmore Co-op is vastly more expensive than the more distant Genuardi’s. When students have to supply study breaks or stock up on cereal, they always carefully weigh the benefits of cheaper prices with a longer walk.

A study by Gazette reporter David Pupkin ‘09 suggests that this common wisdom might not be so accurate. Pupkin visited both stores and compared the prices of nineteen popular items and ingredients. He compared brand-names he knew would be found in both stores—and only compared non-sale prices.

Over the entire list, Genuardi’s was only $2.07 cheaper than the Co-op. The Co-op saved money on local produce, like apples ($1.59 at the Co-Op, compared to $2.00 at Genuardi’s) and meat ($4.00/lb vs. $6.00/lb), while Genuardi’s offered mass-produced items like Oreos ($3.89 at the Co-op vs. $3.49 at Genuardi’s) and bottled water ($5.00/24 vs. $4.00/24) at a lower price.

If you want to see a more detailed price list, you can see it here [PDF].


  1. Yeah. But the main point this article misses is that Genuardi’s has something called…..choice.
    More choice = more options less expensive than brand names.

    You see, the Co-op replaces Condoms, Alcohol, and (starting this month) Cigarettes with Organic, Local, Expensive Everything. So it’s healthier, indeed, but more expensive than Genaurdi’s cheaper choices.

    Also, Genuardi’s has a club card but the co-op still doesn’t give discounts to students; considering our business and college-age-vulnerability, thats both absurd and stingy.

  2. The Co-op has an account number for students; it’s 999. I’m not sure how much of a discount it gives, but it should be the same as the account numbers which community members pay for.

  3. If you have a car, and are buying enough for the savings to pay for the gas, go to the PathMark on MacDade Blvd in Folsom; it’s cheaper than Genuardi’s. Or try the Acme in Media; I think it’s cheaper than Genuardi’s, but I haven’t been there recently. In all three chains, getting a free Club Card saves you a lot. At the Coop, a membership doesn’t currently save you anything. Finally, if you are buying in bulk (say for a big party), BJs in Morton is probably best, but there a Club Card is not free (last I checked).

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