By Staff Writer Sonia Su
Ah, CityCo. Just months in the semester, the one-stop convenience store, also known as City Convenience, is already known to Boston University freshman as…a rip-off. From the waist-up mannequins sporting BU gear not sold in stores to infamously overpriced items, CityCo confuses us all. With the cheaper alternative convenience store, CVS and its “2% back” ExtraCare® rewards program, it is no wonder that CVS is the go-to convenience store for a college student’s basic needs.
But how much do the prices of everyday items really differ? Is there even a difference?
It’s time to do some investigative reporting.
Assuming the majority of the population over 2 years old no longer drink whole milk, I’ve chosen to compare fat free, 1%, and 2% milk. It turns out that CityCo charges $1.99 for all quart-sized Garelick milk, while CVS charges a cheaper $1.59 for Fat Free, 1% and 2%, but a shocking $2.59 for whole milk. Therefore, unless you drink whole milk, stick to CVS to save $0.40 per quart.
Now, for those environmentally-unfriendly who do not own magical Brita® water filters, here is a helpful comparison of water bottles.
The cheapest water bottle you can find at CVS sells for just $0.99. However, unless you walk all the way to the back of the store, you won’t find this deal. Small fridges are found right at the front of the store, but the cheapest water bottle found there is $0.60 more! SmartWater, indeed. Notice how the SmartWater is nearly sold out, while the hidden, cheaper water bottles are fully stocked. Compare those prices to CityCo’s cheapest of $1.69.
College dorms are germy—and I mean, germy. The cold weather doesn’t help either. When you’re sick and need tissues, CVS is the place to go. As long as you have a handy, sleek red ExtraCare® rewards card (for which you can sign up at the store), you can save $1.11 per box! (The rectangular boxes cost the same in both stores.)
I find that index cards definitely help when studying for exams. I even use them as “desk notes” instead of using Post-it® notes (I have a lot of personal reminders that just can’t fit on small pieces of paper). And since October is generally “midterm month,” index cards are a good investment.
I know that yogurt seems to be another popular convenience item, but coming from a suburban town full of stores such as Target and Walmart, I think almost $2.00 per cup in both stores is truly a rip-off. You’re better off simply helping yourself to the yogurt in the dining hall during meals. Or better yet, purchase other “convenience snacks.” LAY’S® Classic and Baked Potato Chips cost the same in both convenience stores, and other brand name snacks should as well.
With Halloween coming up, you can finally find an excuse to splurge on candy—sort of. CityCo sells small bags of brand name candy for $2.59 each and $1.29 for candy bars. CVS boasts an entire aisle selling a variety of candy, including a cheap $0.88 per small, store-brand candy bag. Small, brand name candy bags at CVS cost an average of $2.50. Despite the price jump, with an ExtraCare® rewards card, you can usually find great deals on larger bags of brand name candy. For example, the 8-pack of “fun-sized” Snickers bars has a deal of 4 for $5. Many others are 2 for $4.
CityCo charges too much. If this investigative report doesn’t convince you, look at the poll responses the “Official Boston University Class of 2015” Facebook group. I asked the group members what they usually buy at convenience stores. Almost half the people chose the member-created option of “nothing because cityco charges too much.” Of course, the only exception is the whole milk.