A popular campus café is in shambles today after an undercover investigation revealed years of customer defrauding.
Aeti’s, a popular stop for “coffee, sweets, and eats” in CU’s biotechnology building has been a staple for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates for years. Patrons could fuel up for a long day with healthy food options and caffeinated beverages—or so they thought. Over the last 27 months, the café intentionally served decaffeinated coffee as a ploy to drive up beverage sales. Investigators with Boulder Police Department announced arrests this morning.
“I’m just shocked and sick to my stomach,” said Emily Colis, a third-year graduate student in biochemistry. “They always smiled and acted so friendly to me. How could they do this?”
Twin undergraduate students, Sam and Ella Gross, also expressed their outrage. “This is totally scary,” said the Grosses simultaneously. “I mean, were they even feeding us real sandwiches?”
Matteo Anson, the building’s Operations Manager, kicked and punched the air in disbelief upon reading a leaked version of the investigators’ report. “Everyone was in on it. I’m so mad I could cuss!” said Anson.
City officials refused to comment, but did share a draft of their report with Science Buffs. In it, investigators describe a pattern of deceit initiated from the top, but eventually involving every member of the staff. What began as a simple experiment, evolved into a conspiratorial business strategy.
Five years ago, Chris Perbeybi applied for a part-time summer gig at Aeti’s. Perbeybi immediately loved the work and his coworkers. He stayed past the summer, quickly rose through the ranks, and became general manager in just two years. That’s when he had the idea that might get him locked up for good.
“He was a prodigy! When he suggested a little experiment he had in mind to increase profits, we were all for it,” says Graycen Wheeler, a former Aeti’s employee who spoke under the condition of anonymity. “But when he first told us the details of the plan, we just didn’t know what to think. At first we even laughed it off as a practical joke!”
They were right to be suspicious. According the draft report, Perbeybi “became increasingly disgruntled with scientists leaving bad tips. Perbeybi made numerous threats to ‘show those stingy scientists my own kind of experiment’.” Within nine months of his tenure as manager, the staff began targeting patrons with malicious decafs.
“To be perfectly honest, I feel pretty dumb for not realizing sooner,” says Devin N. Detton, who feels confident that he received the targeted decaf assault. “I just figured my caffeine tolerance went up, so I just kept buying more and more coffee.”
After the first month of a targeted “pilot experiment”, Aeti’s subpoenaed financial records show a large increase in revenue. That, according to investigators, is what motivated Perbeybi to target the whole building. By his second year as manager, profits increased 35% and a flood of tips followed.
“Everyone got seriously rich,” says Wheeler. “Right around the time I bought my second Tesla, I kind of realized this was a bad thing. So I sold my condo in Aspen and fled the country.”
Other employees weren’t so lucky. Boulder Attorney General Lois “Jail ‘em” Jalinsky told the Daily Camera that everyone on the Aeti’s staff could face 12-15 years in a maximum security prison; Perbeybi could receive a life sentence. “When people say ‘don’t talk to me until I had my coffee’, they’re not talking about [expletive] de- [expletive] caff!,” she told the paper.
As Aeti’s profits grew, so too did the portion of graduate students in their 5th, 6th, and 7th years. Scientists in the building say their productivity suffered tremendously. Analysis of the building’s listserv reveals a 20-fold increase in chemical requests, lost water-bottles, and cries for help—92% of these cite failed experiments. Aeti’s corporate spokesman rejects any accusation that Aeti’s crime contributed to these failed experiments, saying “maybe they’re just dumb.” When asked, several of the students’ research advisors added, “yeah, sounds like they’re just dumb.”
Tomorrow at 7:30—when Aeti’s normally opens—building residents expect to hear a deafening silence. The adjustment period may be brutal, but not without a silver lining. There may be no California Breakfast Sandwich, no Southwest Chicken Salad, no coffee—but at least there won’t be any decaf either.
By Max Levy
Editors’ Note: The Science Buffs writing and editing staff love Aeti’s. This is a harmless April Fools’ Day joke. Autumn—please keep selling us coffee. With caffeine.