By Susie Ngo, February 3 2020—
By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard that a new Gong Cha opened by Mount Royal University last September. This new store, located a mere four-minute walk away from the MRU campus, boasts plenty of well-lit seating — a dramatic improvement from their original downtown location. On top of this delicious gift from the bubble tea gods that is the Gong Cha corporate office, MRU now also has a brand-spanking-new Chatime up and running in their cafeteria! Being mortal enemies, it is no surprise that Chatime would follow its competition to the furthest ends of the earth — MRU. But my question goes back to the root of the problem — Why MRU? Why, Gong Cha? Why them and not us?
It’s not that I’m bitter. I’m happy for MRU. They have unlimited, extraordinarily convenient access to two of the biggest bubble tea chains in Calgary, and that’s great! Good for them. The only thing that I am scratching my head about is the fact that, despite having plenty of available retail space, neither Gong Cha nor Chatime considered coming to U of C. We have a current student population of over 33,000, whereas MRU has only 14,562. Despite having double the customer base and plenty of dedicated bubble tea drinkers, we were still passed over. Asians don’t even go there!
U of C needs to have a more accessible bubble tea place on campus. We deserve the same attention and investment from boba giants like Gong Cha and Chatime as MRU. Not only would our student body be a more profitable consumer base, having them on campus would also provide valuable job opportunities for the boba connoisseurs who live among us.
Bubble tea as a drink has given serious recognition and validation to the Taiwanese food scene in Calgary. For many students, it is not just a tasty treat, but also a nostalgic taste of home. Having a Gong Cha or Chatime on campus would have been a win-win situation for everyone involved, and the fact that we have been passed over for MRU is a snub I shall not forget.
Some of you may be thinking, “Calm down, Susie! We have a Chatime close to us too, don’t we? The one by Brentwood? What’s the big deal?” Though I do acknowledge that a Chatime exists vaguely in the same postal code domain as us, I don’t consider a 26-minute walk “close.” I didn’t even know it was there until I was in my third year. As far as I’m concerned, we don’t have a bubble tea place, but we sure have one heck of a craving.
This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.