Unkind Donuts

The title of this post is taken from the fun new crossword puzzle documentary “Wordplay” which I saw on Friday and which features the observation that if you move the first letter of the first word in “Dunkin’ Donuts” to the end of the first word you get Unkind Donuts. The reason for this post is that I woke up sick today–a nasty springtime cold–and on my way to Whole Foods to buy ingredients for chicken soup I stopped into my favorite secret anti-gourmet hideaway, Dunkin’ Donuts, to eat a sacreligious bagel and to read the Sunday Times. Ever since my Atlanta years, when Dunkin’ Donuts was a regular habit (now it’s just a twice a year kind of thing) I always ordered the #3: a bagel and coffee for $2.99. In winter I’d get a regular hot coffee and in summer I’d get an iced coffee. That is until today when this exchange happened.

Me: Can I get a #3 with a sesame bagel toasted with cream cheese and an iced coffee.

Employee: No iced coffee, only regular coffee.

Me: I’m sorry?

Employee: It doesn’t come with an iced coffee. Only a regular coffee.

Me: Do you have ice?

Employee: Yes.

Me: Do you have coffee?

Employee: Yes.

Me: So can you give me a cup of ice and a coffee and I’ll pour the coffee on the ice?

Employee: Ok, but I’ll have to charge you.

And she did charge me. Thirty cents. Unkind Donuts indeed.

12 thoughts on “Unkind Donuts”

  1. Did you ever see “Five Easy Pieces” with Jack Nicholson, the scene in the diner where he asks for wheat toast? Same thing, only you got what you ordered. Hope you get well soon, early summer/late spring colds are a gigantic bummer. Ciao, Christine

  2. order an iced americano next time. it will be mucho better than iced drip coffee. love the site. come visit portland soon.

  3. Too weird that you mention Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee. I’m about to head over there now. I’m in my second week of a new job. I can’t find any independent coffee places and there’s not even a Starbucks, so I’ve been going to Dunkin’s.

    Last week, I made the mistake of asking for a Large iced coffee. It was huge, huge,huge. I took it to a meeting with me and somehow there was so mcuh condensation dripping down the side of this cup all over the conference room table. Embarassing.

    I was expecting that Dunkin’s iced coffee prices would be lower than Starbucks, but they are about the same, you just get more.

  4. It reminds me of some coffee shops where you can see:

    Espresso : $2.50

    Americano : $3.00

    The difference between an espresso and an americano : a shot of hot water. Talk about profit margins. :/

  5. Great story, it’s so true. It’s these little things that count, too. At the airport where I worked, we charged for ice too. Too many people asking for ice and cups, but in the end, probably creating good customer relations is still most important. A little ice won’t hurt, I think ;)

  6. that’s obnoxious! one time i was eating from mcdonalds in downtown LA (very very long time ago) they had a sign that said “1 ketchup per fries”.

    whatever happened to customer service! cheapos!

  7. On a family trip to Boston years ago, my Southern mom ordered iced tea at a nice sit down restaurant. Waitress: “We don’t have that mam.” Mom: “Well can I have hot tea and a glass of ice please?” Waitress: “No, that isn’t how we serve tea in Boston.” She hasn’t been back.

  8. These issues really aren’t related to service. It’s related to policy as a result of costs and customer wastefulness and/or greed. Fast food places try to discourage people from grabbing handfuls of packets of condiments because most people won’t use them or take them to use when eating other food (from other places that don’t provide condiments).

    The same issue occurs with ice and water. Restaurants have to charge a nominal fee for the cup in many cases. When you get take-out food, the biggest expense in regards to the drinks is the cost of the disposable cup.

    The reason you don’t see the level of “service” you used to in this regard is that competition is much fiercer than before and restaurants can’t afford to both keep prices low and offer free “service” items. They never were free anyway. The overall price of the extras was covered by raising prices overall. Unfortunately, Americans have shown they’d rather pay less than have quality (with a few notable exceptions like Starbucks).

    It’s a choice the masses have made. They’d rather pay as little as possible on the whole and have those people who want extras pay for them as they need them. It’s a fair situation but it doesn’t stop people from whining when they have to fork over a few cents for ice or water or whatever.

  9. Well, I would have never charged you for the cup or the ice and happily substituted…whatever happened to the phrase “the customer is always right”? Anytime your near Youngstown, Ohio, stop by The Daily Grind in Austintown and I will happily give you the best iced latte you have ever had (eat your heart out, Starbucks!) and take you on a tour of the best pizza, pierogi, cavatell/gnocci and wedding soup this town has to offer! Hope to see you soon!

  10. Well, maybe DD would be out the cost of a paper cup and a handful of ice, but when I read something like this, it makes it less likely that I would frequent their business. (Of course, Krispy Kreme ran all the Dunkin Donuts stores out of our town, but if they WERE around, I wouldn’t go there!) If your customer WANTS their coffee on ice, you should GIVE them their coffee on ice. Or pretty soon your customers will go somewhere where they can get it their way.

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