Groceries on the Loop

| Staff Columnist

In their second year at Wash. U., some students begin the process of moving off campus. Many will remain on campus for their four years; however, 21 percent of the student body does live off campus. This figure only takes into account off-campus living situations that are unaffiliated with Wash. U.; many more students live in Greenway, U-Terrace and other University-owned off-campus housing. Those who live off campus are clustered in the general vicinity of the Loop/Kayak area and along Forsyth; the former is much more populated.

The lucky few who live along Forsyth have one key advantage over their counterparts on the other side of campus: Schnucks. The grocery store is only a 15-minute walk from the South 40, and, while those who live close to Clayton may have to suffer a little over half an hour, it’s not significantly longer than the walk to some of the buildings on campus.

The Loop, or that general area, needs an equivalent. From U-Terrace, where I live, the walk to Schnucks is easily an hour, and presumably much longer when one is weighed down by any significant amount of groceries. Biking is, of course, out of the question, as anyone who has attempted to bike with bags swinging from the handlebars can confirm: In addition to being difficult, it’s a good way to see your recent purchases spread across the pavement. In a cruel twist of fate, the route to Schnucks for those who do not live on Forsyth is also almost entirely uphill.

One’s woes are obviously solved by car ownership, but to suffer without one is the more frequent occurrence. Some of us are additionally inconvenienced by not living with anyone who owns a car. My friend who lives next door is down to only a gigantic box of Cheerios for sustenance, and when I asked him when he was going shopping, he responded, “Whenever you get a car.” To rely on anyone else gives rise to unsettling feelings of guilt, as at least I hate to make others feel as if they are valued only as a chauffeur service. At any rate, rides from friends are far from certain, and one is often completely unsure as to when the next opportunity will present itself.

Currently, the only (relatively) convenient alternatives to Schnucks are shopping in the Village and dining on the Loop or at nearby restaurants. The former is an expensive habit that will burn through all of one’s meal points in a fraction of the time they are meant to last, and the latter can be just as expensive with a markedly inferior quality of food; it’s a great way to fatten up.

This isn’t to say that a Schnucks needs to open near the Loop—it probably doesn’t make any sense economically—but a small convenience store in the vein of 7-11 or a Walgreens with a grocery section would have a captive market. Obviously, trips to Schnucks would be preferred, but with the exception of frozen meat, I can’t think of a single dietary necessity of mine that a 7-11 or Walgreens grocery section could not provide. It would make my life and the lives of hundreds of Wash. U. students far easier, and I look forward to the day, even if it is just a pipe dream, that I no longer have to send ashamed texts requesting rides.

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