About every three months, I bring doughnuts to work on a Friday, thanks to a “buy a dozen get a dozen free” coupon our only doughnut purveyor, Krispy Kreme, runs in a throwaway coupon magazine that thrives in a town with two universities.
Although I normally get in and out with my doughnuts in less than 10 minutes, that was not the case Friday. It was a 20 minute wait and I was staggered by how many boxes were going out the door. One woman ordered six dozen, claiming they were for teacher appreciation day at a high school. Riiiight! (Clue #1: anyone who gives you an “explanation” is obviously feeling guilty and should be suspect. No innocent person cares whether a dozen strangers think you’re inhaling six dozen doughnuts while watching Oprah.)
When someone asked if the wait was always this long, I answered “no” but the clerk said that Fridays were always “crazy.” Nobody was buying just a doughnut. Two dozen was the minimum order and four dozen the predominant one. I’m convinced there’s a relationship between the economy and doughnut consumption, but I’m not sure whether it is a direct or inverse one. What I am sure of is that there’s apparently no recession at the Krispy Kreme.
I noticed that I was the only one of about ten folks who had the coupon. At seven dollars for a dozen assorted, that’s over 50 cents a doughnut. No way I’m paying full price! If I was buying just for myself, I’d put that 50 cents into a hot dog at the Circle K convenience store where I can load it up with any combination of chili, slaw, kraut, jalepenos, lettuce, tomato, onion, relish, salsa and condiments I can pile on. Relatively speaking, that hot dog is nutritionally superior to a doughnut.
Obviously, I’m not a doughnut fan. But when I do crave one, I prefer a cake style doughnut, which are almost non-existent at Krispy Kreme. So I favor Dunkin’ Donuts, which was once present here, disappeared, but, like Gen. MacArthur, promised to return. MacArthur took about 2 ½ years to return to the Philippines and it’s been longer than that since Dunkin’ Donuts fled. (Wondering what happened to Mr. Donut? It was acquired by Dunkin‘ Donuts‘ parent.)
For half a century, Krispy Kreme was a “Southern thang.” It was born in North Carolina in 1937 using a yeast-raised recipe that its founder obtained from a relative who had a doughnut store in Kentucky. As its flagship glazed doughnut achieved cult status, Krispy Kreme expanded beyond Dixie during the ’90s. New store openings often required security procedures akin to when the Beatles arrived somewhere for a concert.
I remember reading about the hoopla when the first Las Vegas store opened. Folks waited in line for an obscene time to buy a few dozen to bring on their flight home to initiate local Krispy Kreme virgins, thereby pollinating new sites for future growth. That Vegas store became a portal to the rest of the country.
Unfortunately, Krispy Kreme’s rapid growth imploded. In August 2003, four years after the expansion was at its height, it’s stock hit about $48. By April 2004, it had slipped to $33 and by February 2005 it was only about $6. Today, it’s a bit above $3.
Friday’s doughnut expedition turned out to be duplicative. Although I had spread the word earlier in the week about my impending largesse, it apparently failed to reach some new staff in the suburbs of our office area. When I arrived with the two dozen, I found four dozen awaiting their fate.
So, I brought a dozen home. They’re all for Susie, of course. I think she watches Oprah. 😉