My favourite local comedienne, Marlene, of the Assaulted Fish clan, had this very disappointing experience when she wanted nothing more than a good, sustaining bubble tea (for readers who haven’t heard of bubble tea … it’s the asian (Taiwanese?) answer to lattes, but tea, with the extra twist of tapioca tossed in. looks weird. tastes wonderful). The story raises the question: When do you take the loss and when do you ask for your cash back? Here’s the episode in her words:
I love bubble tea. I don’t need an IV of the glutinous goodness, but I like a refreshing, colourful beverage from time to time. Unfortunately, there’s a dearth of quality bubble tea shops in Kits. I’m not talking about slushies – even I can whirl those up at home. But sometimes, only a regular pearl milk tea will do.
It was a cold and un-stormy night. I was dying for a bubble tea fix and the Dragon Ball Tea House – reputed to have THE best bubble tea in Vancouver – was the closest dealer of the stuff. I’ve had their drinks before and was always sort of disappointed. But desperate cravings called for desperate settling.
The place is empty and kinda messy. Behind the counter, some dude (presumably the owner) is yakking away on the phone. He sees me and gestures to someone at the back. This older woman, wearing bright yellow cleaning gloves, comes out and starts speaking to me in Mandarin. I don’t speak Mandarin. She soon realizes this and calls for someone else in the back.
A floating head appears. Seriously, this girl is so tiny they have to redesign a car for her. She also looks like a victim of child labour, but I’m pretty sure it’s just the Asian genes manifesting.
“Yis?” she says.
“Could I get a regular pearl milk tea, hot, to go?”
“Yis.” And off she goes.
Now, I’m sure there are different ways to make bubble tea and I’ve never made one so what do I know? But I’m preeeeetty sure you don’t make it like this:
Floating Head first pulls on a pair of gloves. Not the ones Subway Sandwich Artists use to slap together bun and meat, but these huge, bright yellow, heavy duty, rubber gloves. The kind I use when I’m going to be scrubbing toilet scum for hours.
Naturally, I start to think the bubble tea might be radioactive.
Floating Head takes a cup and proceeds to fill it with tea from three, THREE different tea tanks. Then she puts my cup into the microwave, THE MICROWAVE, and dings it for a minute. Then she takes the cup over to the bubble vat…and well, I can’t really see anything anymore because of the way the counter is designed. But I do hear a couple of “plops”, which I take to be my pearls slopping into the cup of microwaved tea. I hear some stirring…then some more stirring…then one more for good measure.
Suddenly, a yellow gloved hand appears on the counter. It gropes around like some dis-membered thing until it manages to latch onto a lid. This is when I notice that the glove is wet and kinda discoloured. A second later, my bubble tea complete with spoon and napkin, appear on the counter.
“Yis.” And off she goes.
At this point, I’m still hopeful. Maybe the microwaving and multiple tea pumping are just some ancient, long-forgotten methods for making the perfect bubble tea…
But no. There, on the white lid, are these black flecks of god knows what. They’re all over the lid, the spoon, the napkin. They look like maggots that have undergone some crazy cell division. There are tons of them!
I can’t believe I left the place without demanding my money back. I actually carry the abomination to my car, where I stare mournfully at it, lamenting the loss of four hard-earned dollars, before pitching the cup of evil into the garbage.
I ended up consoling myself with a spinach and feta crepe. I have had bubble tea since…but only from Richmond.
Readers: I bet you’ve had something similar happen. For me, if it’s under 5 bucks I seem to just do the same are Marlene – leave bummed but without making a fuss. How much does it take for you to ask for your money back?
Photo Credit: phoosh