• October 11, 2019 |

    a short ode to shiru

    you will be missed

    article by , illustrated by

    After months of bated breath, semesters of “how is this economically feasible?”, and at least 67 gloriously free-of-charge chai lattes, Shiru—our beloved campus café—has closed. 

    Shiru was the perfect place to go if you wanted to awkwardly navigate an extremely crowded space, sigh heavily, and then leave after counting an approximately negative number of available seats. When it came to the WiFi you were told worked, Shiru was matched only by Tealuxe (R.I.P.). It was always a constant struggle between basking in abundant natural light and living without the internet, or surfing the web in the distinctly cave-like rear of the café. 

    Remember when everyone lost their collective mind over Shiru harvesting our data? Remember when we thought they were going to take our emails and career aspirations and sell them at unimaginable profit to a swath of hungry bidders? That was a bust, huh. In a way, Shiru was a supervillain that never got its big break (See: Gru, Despicable Me, 2010). I have to wonder—does Shiru’s inability to sell our data say something about the inherent value of Brown students’ information? I’m not saying I’m insecure that nobody is trying to deeply dive into my personal life in an effort to more effectively advertise products and political candidates to me, but I also wouldn’t mind if someone cared.  

    At the end of the day, this foreclosure hasn’t surprised anyone. In the same way that you feel a sense of dread when your friend texts you “do you still want to go…” half an hour before the pregame, we all saw the writing on the wall. Once Shiru started charging for anything that wasn’t a black coffee—and promptly halved their clientele—it was clear that something sinister was afoot. However, even though its physical manifestation is closed and will no doubt soon be replaced with Bajas #3, Shiru will never be forgotten. The warm memories of ever-cheerful baristas, delicious PVDonuts that were always sold out, and random picture frames substituting for décor will certainly stay in our hearts forever. There might be no such thing as a free lunch, but for a marvelous 20 months on Brown’s campus, there was such a thing as a free coffee.  


    Hard to get a seat
    U will be missed