Sep 24, 2005

Yet Another Dunkin Donuts Story

I love Dunkin Donuts coffee. Chris Rock refers to Krispy Kreme as having the appeal of crack cocaine to donut lovers across America. I simply love their inventive nature because they are always coming up with some new concoction of deliciousness for me to try out and thus get hooked. The latest is their Turtle Nut Latte. It's one of their Limited Time Only drinks and alas, it's time has come and apparently....gone.

I stopped by the old Caldor Plaza DD hoping to buy Mom and I a Turtle Nut Latte this past Friday night. As I was walking in the door, this old dude who looked more like a resident drunk than self-proclaimed war veteran held the door open for me. He was tall with a lanky frame wearing a string of plastic Mardi Gras beads and a baseball cap with many, many military pins all over the front of it. His beard was greasy looking and he had a gold front tooth. I thanked him for holding the door open for me because drunk or not, you just don't get that kind of chivalry anymore.

I turned around to tell him that he should go before me because I was going to be buying two specialty drinks and it may take a while. (Can you tell I'm an old Dunkin Donuts pro?)

"Oh, don't you worry about me little girl. I've been in the army for 33 years and I've got all the time in the world 'cause now I work for the government."

"OK, are you sure?" I asked still wanting to repay him for his gentlemanly kindness with the whole holding-the-door business.

"No problem. I work for the Department of Defense. Like I said, I can wait."

I approach the counter and confidently request two Turtle Nut Lattes with whipped cream.

"What's that?" asks the white girl with the pony tail and braces. I sigh heavily. "Forget it. If you have to ask then you don't have it anymore. Just give me two small lattes with a shot of caramel and some whip creme."

So as I was standing there, the old military dude decides to just walk in the back room. He goes behind the counter and enters their bakery area. I hear everyone calling out pleasantly to him and think to myself that this guy must be one of those old regulars. Somehow he's one of those fortunate individuals who has seen their backroom and knows their well-kept secrets of donut making.

He comes out about two minutes later and starts calling out to this young Puerto Rican kid who appears to be the night manager who is overseeing the drive-thru window. "¿Hey, como esta?" he happily calls out to the old man. They start chatting back and forth and I stand amazed to see that this kid really likes this old guy. The man proudly shows the kid his Mard Gras beads and tells him that he's hip 'cause he's wearing his BLING BLING.

If I had coffee in my mouth, it would have been one of those picture perfect moments to do the 'ole spit-the-coffee-out-of-my-mouth routines because it was just that funny. "What kinda music are ya listening to tonight?" The kid hands him a few cds and I hear him say knowingly, "Oh, yea, Fidel Castro's got some good music. I used to know him."

Now I'm doing an incredulous double-take as I'm over-hearing this crazy person claim to know the Fidel Castro. He must have seen me flinch or make some sort of body language move that indicated I didn't believe him. So he walks a short distance over to me and hands me the kids three cd's.

But he got it wrong. The CD in question wasn't Fidel Castro but rather Fidel Cash Flow...


Well, I just started to laugh out loud. In fact, I made a spectacle of myself standing there waiting for my two small cups of heaven because it's these little experiences that make life worth living. They really do. I love the random craziness of these Dunkin Donut encounters. And trust me, I've had some really good ones.

I have had so many poor customer experiences at Dunkin Donuts, but yet I still return just like a crack addict. I really should compile them and write a book about the people that patronize Dunkin Donuts regularly. Where else can you find moments of old war veterans trying to appear cool wearing plastic purple Mardi Gras beads and getting down with a rapper named Fidel Cash Flow?

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