Whole Foods Market has long been referred to as “Whole Paycheck” by students on campus, but unfortunately the Foggy Bottom grocer is one of the only full-service options for hungry students. Thankfully, for those of us with three-course meal appetites and a ramen budget, Amazon acquired the organic-laden supermarket chain Monday, and cut prices on a range of customer staples. These price reductions will have an impact on campus by helping students make ends meet and lowering the rate of student theft.
The marked down items include many popular everyday foods like bananas, eggs, avocados, kale, lettuce, apples, ground beef, salmon and tilapia, almond butter, rotisserie chicken and butter. The Seattle-based internet retailer has not produced a comprehensive list of rollback products or indicated how deeply items will be discounted, but some have already reported the discounts be as high as 43 percent. Amazon also revealed that Amazon Prime members will be inducted into a new customer rewards program and will get special savings and other in-store benefits. Students who have the Prime subscription service will benefit most from this deal, but even students who don’t will still experience a noticeable difference in their grocery bill and budgets.
Soon after the upscale grocery chain opened the doors to its Foggy Bottom location in September 2011, Whole Foods became ubiquitous as “Stole Foods” for students on campus. When the semester winds down and students’ Colonial Cash balances are lower than their GPA’s, trays of sushi and cans of off-brand soda mysteriously start to fly off the shelves without receipts. Security guards were added to the entrance in 2014 to combat theft during peak store hours. Since their implementation, many students have been caught shoplifting and have subsequently been banned from the store for five years. With lower prices after the Amazon merger, students won’t feel as torn between splurging for a piece of pizza and committing petty theft.
GW has tried to ease students’ end of semester hunger pains before. Last year, university officials announced a $200 increase in dining dollars for students living on campus during the 2017-18 academic year. The move came after the shutdown of J Street, the only dining hall-style alternative to Whole Foods and other GWorld vendors on the main campus. Even with additional dining dollars, students would still be forced to buy regular groceries at luxury prices which doesn’t get to the root of the problem. After Amazon’s price reductions, students will be able to get more bang for their buck in the long run.
The rollbacks from the Amazon buyout took effect Monday, the first day of class. And there is no better way to usher in the new school year than to stock your mini fridge with grass-fed kale and cruelty-free potato chips at newly discounted prices. So feel free to stock up on back-to-school basics at Whole Foods because at least this year, your wallet won’t feel as empty as your stomach.
Sydney Erhardt, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.