The P.O.D.: Truly worth the price?
Being stingy about money is a necessity in college when you are practically broke and your bank account endlessly weeps for some money. Therefore, spending money on pricey food items is not ideal for constantly shrinking wallets. Unfortunately, options can be somewhat limited when cooking is too much of a hassle or dining hall food just doesn’t cut it. Although the pod is very convenient, the hefty price tag may not be worth it when there are less expensive options available.
The pod offers a wide variety of food that agrees with the sophisticated palette of a college student: frozen burritos, mac and cheese and pop tarts. Although these food items are typically considered cheap, the price tags in the Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) would certainly disagree. One frozen burrito costs $4.39, a frozen packet of mac and cheese costs $5.29 and a single pop tart costs $1.09.
Although these items may not seem overly expensive, compared to the prices at a typical grocery store, specifically ShopRite, the discrepancy is surprisingly significant. One frozen burrito costs $2.99, a frozen packet of macaroni and cheese costs $2.99 and a box of eight pop tarts is only $2.88. The P.O.D. clearly succeeds in overpricing even the cheapest of its items — some items cost nearly twice or three times as much as those available in a grocery store.
Cheap food is definitely not as affordable as it should be at the P.O.D. and unfortunately the trend continues in other food items as well.
Even basic snack items such as popcorn, chips, candy bars and granola bars vary greatly from the standard prices. At the P.O.D., 2.6 ounce bag of chips is $1.69, a small container of Pringles is $1.79, a single piece of string cheese costs $0.99 and a box of Oreos costs $5.29.
ShopRite easily beats the P.O.D. with its significantly lower prices. For instance, a box of 32 bags of chips is $8.99, 18 containers of Pringles cost $6.59, 12 pieces of string cheese cost $3.99 and a box of Oreos costs $3.79. These snack-sized items at the POD practically cheat students with their meal-sized prices.
However, the greatest discrepancy lies with “health foods,” which range from granola bars to diet ice cream pints like Halo Top. A box of 4 Kind bars at ShopRite is $4.99, while just a single Kind bar at the POD costs $2.49. Therefore, a Kind bar at the P.O.D. costs nearly three times as much as one found outside the campus. Similarly, Chobani yogurt at the P.O.D. is twice as much as one found in ShopRite. The most costly food product at the P.O.D., Halo Top, obviously varied greatly in price to its grocery store counterpart. When browsing the freezer section, you can find this pint for a mere $2.77 compared to the pricier $6.79 found in the P.O.D. This drastic increase in price was especially surprising considering the health halo surrounding these items, and these unreasonable prices practically discourage students from eating healthy.
In general, glancing at the prices at the P.O.D. was rather discouraging and disappointing, especially when I realized that these same items were significantly cheaper elsewhere. Although it is difficult to avoid shopping at the P.O.D, as it is the most convenient location, possibly the wisest decision to save your bank account from sinking would be to buy in bulk or shop at a grocery store located near the campus, such as the Newark Natural Foods co-op.