The Penmen Place Credit(Rosa Valente)

While catching up on school work a couple of weeks before break, I received a text from one of my roommates informing me we need more toilet paper for our pod. Eager to help, I put my work on hold and walked to Penmen Place in the Student Center to pick some up.

Penmen Place is located in the heart of campus, making it convenient for students like myself who do not have cars to travel to local stores to purchase toiletries and snacks.

I never bought toilet paper from Penmen Place before, however, so I didn’t know how many rolls were in a pack or how much money I needed to spend. I knew I needed to purchase at least six rolls as toilet paper goes fast when you live in a pod with five other people.

I reached the rear of Penmen Place and noticed individual rolls of toilet paper on a bottom shelf surrounded by other toiletries like Windex. Just beneath the stash of rolls was a price tag. I was astonished.

One roll of toilet paper cost over $2.

As a broke college student, I put the roll down and quickly left the store annoyed and dissatisfied. I was not going to spend $12 on six rolls of toilet paper. That’s absurd.

I still needed toilet paper, so I asked my friend if she could give me a ride to CVS. CVS is relatively reasonable with its prices, so I figured I’d save some money. And I sure did.

She and I took a quick spin down to the local CVS on Whitehall Road in Hooksett. CVS sold a variety of packs of toilet paper, in addition to individual rolls. I chose to purchase a 12 pack of Scott toilet paper for a total of only $8. If I bought 12 individual rolls of toilet paper from Penmen Place, I would’ve spent over $24, and toilet paper is not worth that amount. So not only did I spend less at CVS, I received more.

This annoyance prompted me and my Penmen Press colleague, Devin Pouliot, to do some research.

If Penmen Place is significantly overcharging students on necessities such as toilet paper, we knew it was overcharging us on other items too. So, over break, we set out to compare the prices of items at Penmen Place with those at CVS and the local Hannaford, Market Basket and Target. We looked at the prices of Kind Bars, popcorn, Wheat Thins, cereal and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, among others.

In total, we compared the prices of 19 items sold at Penmen Place with the other stores to see just how much students like ourselves are overspending at school.

We were absolutely astonished by what we discovered.

Penmen Place has the most expensive prices for 12 out of the 19 items we looked at.

Once Devin and I combined our findings, I created an organized chart to easily determine where the best bargains are. I color coded everything, with dark green resembling the cheapest price, light green resembling the second cheapest price, yellow resembling the third cheapest price, orange resembling the second most expensive price and red resembling the most expensive price.

The chart can be found below.

Chart comparing prices at different stores around the Manchester and Hooksett areas. (image credit: Catherine LaChance)

The most shocking observation we found was the price of the popular stain remover, Shout. Shout costs a whopping $7.29 at Penmen Place, but only $2.69 at Market Basket. Because this is such a huge price difference, we didn’t feel it was necessary to look at the price of Shout at other stores.  This was enough for us to know that Penmen Place is ridiculously overcharging us.

A price of $7.29 for a bottle of Shout is ludicrous and no one should pay that kind of money on a stain remover. So, if you need to purchase Shout, take the extra ten minutes and go to Market Basket to save $5.

As a matter of fact, do all your shopping at Market Basket. As noted in the chart, Market Basket has the cheapest prices for 12 of the 19 items we observed, and the second cheapest prices for five of the 19 items. You will save $2.29 on individual Kind Bars, $3.99 on Oreos, $2.49 on Wheat Thins, $2.80 on sandwich bags, $1.20 on individual rolls of toilet paper and $3.00 on individual rolls of paper towel. That’s a total of $15.77 in savings on just six items. Imagine what else you could save money on at Market Basket.

Hannaford on average has the second cheapest prices out of all the items we looked at. If you are a popcorn connoisseur like me and my roommates, your best bet is going to Hannaford where a box of popcorn only costs $1.69. If you were to choose to purchase popcorn from Penmen Place, you would be spending $4.99.

The only item that Penmen Place ranks first in terms of cheapest price is Windex, which is sold for $3.29. Although, if you’re doing the rest of your shopping at Market Basket, which you should, you might as well purchase Windex there and spend the extra 20 cents. You’ll save more money on your trip there anyway.

You should also keep in mind that Market Basket, Hannaford, CVS and Target all have sales, meaning you can save even more money on these products and many others. Penmen Place does not have sales, so you will be forced to continue to pay the absurdly over expensive prices on days these stores are having five for five deals.

Take the extra ten minutes out of your day to take a trip to any one of these stores. If you don’t have a car, ask someone who does and he or she will gladly take you. No one wants you to overspend when you don’t have to. We’re already spending thousands of dollars to attend this school. We can’t afford the extra charges on necessary items such as toilet paper when there are local stores that sell them for much cheaper.

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