Inflated market prices rip off Aztecs

by Marissa Ochoa, Staff Columnist

Every week, I buy something from various Aztec Markets and every week, I find myself mystified at how little money I have in my wallet. It turns out most of my money throughout the week goes toward the markets on campus. It’s a savior for those who need something quick. However, convenience comes at an expense. These expenses are not only high, but are exploiting students in the process.

I see it as a bit of a trap. Students are, in some way, forced to comply with high prices Aztec Markets offer. One either buys said items or goes hungry for the rest of the day. Students are being taken advantage of even when they think they’re just enjoying a nice snack. In the long run, purchasing food from Aztec Markets will become a burden on one’s finances.

There are currently eight markets that are up and running with a new addition set to open spring 2015 near Arts and Letters. With all the transactions going through these markets, students don’t necessarily look at prices.

When compared to local grocery markets, one will see students at San Diego State are being squeezed for every penny they have. The director of dining services, Paul Melchior, said Aztec Markets are considered convenience stores, so it doesn’t compare prices to grocery stores.

No matter which stores are being compared, that still doesn’t change the fact students are paying $1.49 for a Clif Bar when Vons is selling the same Clif Bar for $0.99”


When it comes down to it, students are only going to care about who and what has the lowest prices. Unfortunately, there’s no grocery store in walking distance that can compete with Aztec Markets.

Compared to the local Vons, Aztec Markets are doing it’s best at making sure students pay more for less. For example, Naked Juice at the markets are $3.89 while Vons carries it for $2.99 to $3.49. Poptart packs of two are $1.19 while a 12-pack at Vons is $3.99 — that’s almost a 50 percent markup. It’s even gone as far as pricing Cup Noodles as little as 10 cents more than Vons’  just to get that last dime out of the pockets of students. It’s like a conman keeping track of every opportunity he has to get some sort of profit out of a situation.

Let’s not forget about the medicine Aztec markets carry. Medicine is sometimes needed in emergencies and when the markets are the only place within distance providing it, students have no choice but to fork over what was supposed to be their lunch money for the small packet of Aleve on the shelf.

Medicine ranges from the appalling prices of $2.29 to $3.69 (that’s a whopping $1.07 per pill when taken from the average price). Let’s remember I’m not talking about a bottle of pills here. This is a moist-towelette-packet sized container carrying about two pills. A 50-count bottle of Aleve from Vons costs $5.99. That comes out to about 11 cents per pill. You can do the math from here to figure out these price mark ups aren’t just small raises here and there. It’s a whole system of exploitations that SDSU students are falling victims to.

I get it. Aztec Markets isn’t a huge grocery chain, so it needs to price high enough to stay standing. However, with so many new renovations coming to campus, one would think these markets could find some wiggle room to lower prices in some respects. I’m not asking for a free for all, but one has to admit paying $1.89 for an Aztec water when the same thing can be purchased for 99 cents or less is pretty ridiculous.

When “I’m a broke college student” is the mantra of SDSU students, every penny counts; and the markets are well-aware of that when setting prices.