Aramark-owned stores unfairly exploiting students

There is a bothersome problem regarding the Andros convenience store that anyone who has been fighting through the cold and flu season can attest to. At the store, a pack of Sudafed PE, Nyquil and a box of Kleenex cost $18.37. At your friendly neighborhood Walgreens, those same items cost $11.97. But that’s not all: Nearly every item in the store suffers from insufferable price gouging.

Who is capitalizing and ripping off already-broke college kids? Finding the answer turned out to be a wild goose chase. Speaking to managers and employees was fruitless. According to company policy, employees at the Andros convenience store – which is officially called “Convenience to the Third Power” – are not allowed to give statements to the Oracle.

Upon interviewing one employee, he stated that the store takes the product and adds 10 percent to accommodate profits that go to the school and Aramark, the company that owns the store. Minutes later, he claimed that he wasn’t allowed to be quoted and took the interview notes. His boss then stated that Aramark cannot talk to the Oracle because the company isn’t affiliated with the school.

What is Aramark? According to its Web site, the company owns every food location on campus, including the Tampa Room Argos’ Fresh Food Company and Java City. The company’s reach is not just campus wide, but national in scope – it owns operations at hundreds of colleges across the country. It is also nationally despised. The Internet is peppered with countless message boards and articles bashing the price gouging associated with Aramark.

Sadly, this reprehensible amount of price gouging is legal. The Florida statute that addresses price gouging states it’s only illegal if prices go up drastically during a period of economic crisis or a natural disaster, such as a hurricane. However, that doesn’t make price gouging during times of calm acceptable.

Making nearly double profit, Aramark is not only putting a hole in students’ pockets, but is also monopolizing universities around the country. Advice to those looking to buy a meal plan next year: Plan accordingly, and purchase your goodies off campus. Saving the money is worth it.