An Ode to Perks

In 2007, Perks Coffee Shop opened in the UC San Diego Bookstore, immediately becoming a popular location for students to grab a cup of coffee and study between classes. However, at the beginning of Winter Quarter 2019, it was announced that Perks would be closing permanently in the summer of 2019.

“I’m sad,” says fifth-year Roger Revelle College student and Perks worker Raphael Lagoc in response to Perks closing. “Even if Perks might not have been the best coffee shop on campus, I still think that having more student-run spaces like this is big.”

Perks is well-liked among the student body for its centrality, decently priced drinks, and friendly staff.

“I think the crew here is super cool; everyone is very nice,” Lagoc said. “It’s been like a sort of avalanche effect where really cool, nice people happen to get promoted and then they hire more people [like them]. It’s a crew that’s been built up, lots of friends and lots of mutual relationships across the board.”

The closing of Perks is part of a larger Bookstore renovation to make way for a small on-campus Target store. “Target kicking us out, Starbucks being the main spot now, it kind of feels like just a lot of corporatization of the campus,” Lagoc stated. “I think it represents a direction that the campus is heading toward that I don’t really like to see.”

The story behind Perky, Perks’ squirrel mascot, is explored in a minute-long video posted by the UCSD Bookstore’s YouTube channel. Perky’s parents died in a forest fire, and  Perky, devastated, discovers Perks soon after. There, he drinks so much green tea that he turns green. However, this story also hints at another facet of Perks’ identity: Perks exclusively serves Barefoot-Coffee-Roasters coffee, which is direct trade and small batch. This connection to sustainability is not something that all coffee shops on campus can boast.

Perks will be remembered not only for its lime-colored mascot, corner fireplace, and amiable workers but for its promotion of conscious consumption ahead of its time. Make sure you stop in one last time before Perks’ doors officially close on June 16.

The Lifestyle editors would like to offer up their own eulogies in honor of Perks.

Many of my first trips to Perks were admittedly because of its convenient location. Between classes, I would venture into the back of the Bookstore in the hopes that I could grab a table near a power outlet. Despite the questionable neon walls and spotty lighting, it’s become one of my favorite places to work. The staff are always extremely friendly and the corner fireplace makes everything feel just a little bit cozier. Perks has seen me through frantic article writing, last-minute midterm studying, and catch-ups with friends I haven’t seen in a while, and I’m grateful that it’s given me a place to both study and recharge. I’m definitely going to miss everything about Perks next year — including that lime green aesthetic. – Annika Olives, Lifestyle Editor

Thank you, Perks, for being there to caffeinate me before every evening/night class in Center Hall or Warren Lecture Hall. Thank you for your unique Nutella lattes, cozy fireplace, and especially for your pepperoni pizza panini. You were also one of the first spots on campus to have Yerba Mate, always there for me to feed my addiction. I will terribly miss collecting your Drink of the Month pins, featuring the celebrity himself, Perky the squirrel. You and your incredibly spotty service/wi-fi have been there for me for meetings, interviews, and Vampire Diaries binging in between classes. You deserved better, Perky. We salute you! – Colleen Conradi, Lifestyle Associate Editor

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