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].