It’s no secret that UCD’s Starbucks-loving population of drowsy staff and students have not been thrilled by this summer’s transformation of campus’ two Starbucks locations into Peet’s.
For many students, coffee is essential in allowing them to mindlessly meander about the campus like ants upon a hill, and one might think that preoccupied students would happily consume their daily caffeine dose regardless of the source.
However, like ants, it turns out that there is far more to Starbucks fanatics than meets the eye.
An employee at the Silo Peet’s overheard many annoyed customers in line complaining that they wished they could still get their Starbucks without having to make the arduous trek downtown or to the Trader Joe’s lot at Russell and Anderson (apparently that is, like, too much effort). This employee, who has since become infamously known as “Mr. Mermaid,” arrived at an enterprising solution that would bring satisfaction to his agitated customers and financial enrichment to himself.
“When I ordered my drink at Peet’s, I grumbled about missing Starbucks,” said junior Joe Schmo. “The next thing I knew, the barista pulled out a bag of Starbucks dark roast and said he could ‘help me out if I paid 30% extra.’ Turns out the guy was smuggling Starbucks supplies into Peet’s, selling it there, and pocketing the extra cash!”
As word got around, Mr. Mermaid hired several other Peet’s baristas to help him out, and Peet’s customers came to learn that if they wanted Starbucks instead, all they had to do was ask to “leave a tip for Mr. Mermaid.” Demand in this new black market grew fast and the money was pouring in.
A fellow Peet’s employee, Mark F. soon became suspicious of Mr. Mermaid’s behavior, so he worked to gain his trust. After learning everything about Mr. Mermaid’s little extortion and price gouging scheme, he arranged an anonymous meeting with a member of the UCD Police Department at the Hutchison parking garage. Going by the alias “Deep Caf,” Mark F. instructed the police to “follow the beans.”
Mr. Mermaid got wise to the fact that the UCDPD were onto him, so he modified his scheme to continue making money without the risk of smuggling Starbucks supplies.
“I decided to just sell Peet’s to people at an inflated price and say it was Starbucks,” Mr. Mermaid said from his cell. “Some people actually unknowingly preferred Peet’s roast. However, most popular Starbucks drinks were sugary shitstorms, like caramel-mocha-pumpkin-spice frappuccinos with vanilla and extra whip. I didn’t have those ingredients anymore, so I lost most of my business.”
The sharp drop in revenue made it impossible for Mr. Mermaid to continue cooking the books at Peet’s while still pocketing cash himself. Sloppy bookkeeping eventually brought down Mr. Mermaid and his Starbucks-dealing empire.
If nothing else, this absurd story proves that college students are indeed nothing but sugar-craving ants.