Boba ‘bandits’ steal popular drink from class fundraisers

September 25, 2018 — by Rohan Kumar and Anishi Patel

Class officers implement stricter security during boba fundraisers to prevent profit losses.

With just under 45 boba stores within 5 miles of the school, it’s no wonder that class officers have been hosting boba fundraisers for years.

Each class hosts around five boba fundraisers a semester, during which they buy and sell more than 100 cups of boba an event. But these fundraisers come with a downside: thieves who nab the drinks and deprive the classes of needed funds.

After realizing what had been going on, class officers are now positioning themselves around their boba boxes to deter theft.

“We try to have a barricade and people standing and watching,” sophomore class president Erica Lee said, “because [boba thieves] just come to the back and take boba out of the boxes. Sometimes they take the whole box.”

Other students use more indirect methods, often telling a class officer that payment was made to another person, then demanding boba.

According to junior class president Emma Hsu, the junior class boba policy prevents this type of theft by mandating that the class officer who collects the money must also distribute the boba.

Junior class officers put their policy into action during the second semester of the 2017-18 school year, and have had less boba stolen since, Hsu said.

When buying from Teatop, the junior class gets a 20 percent discount on an order of 100 drinks, which allows them to make a profit when they sell boba at school. But each stolen boba cuts into this margin.

“When someone steals a $5 boba, we have to sell six more to make up for the stolen one, losing profit on all six,” sophomore class representative Cynthia Zhang said.

Some sophomore class fundraisers have lost nearly $50 of a  possible $200 in profit to theft, Lee said.

The 25 percent loss from these thefts seems even more significant when put into perspective with class office goals. Sophomore class secretary Tyler Chu said the goal of the sophomore class is to raise around $10,000 this year. If the class was to earn the maximum amount of money during each boba fundraiser, the overall profit from the 10 events would cover 20 percent of this goal. At the current rate, allowing for profit lost to theft, boba fundraisers would only contribute 15 percent, $500 less than their potential profit.

Although no such incidents have been reported to the administration, assistant principal Brian Thompson said any reports of theft will be dealt with appropriately.

Even allowing for theft, boba remains a popular fundraiser. In fact, at a fundraiser on Aug. 26, the junior class purchased the wrong type of boba and still “sold out in two minutes,” according to Hsu.

Zhang pointed out boba thieves may not recognize that their actions are directly detrimental to their class office.

“We work really hard, using our own [class] money to buy boba, and people who steal are basically just taking away our ability to provide services and activities like prom,” Zhang said.