Dunkin’ Drives me Nuts
I don’t get it. I really don’t. And I’m hoping someone can help me understand this. I’ve talked about Dunkin’ Donuts in passing here and there over the past couple of years. But I have never come out and said it explicitly.
Dunkin’ Donuts really sucks.
It sucks in a way beyond simple mass American fast food chains. Because McDonald’s still has delicious French fries, Wendy’s has the Frosty, Taco Bell has a bean burrito that actually resembles nutritious food, and Auntie Anne’s makes some tasty soft pretzels drenched in fat and salt. Even White Castle’s “burgers” are a magnificent delivery device for onion-flavored beef fat.
But Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t have good anything. In fact I view what they sell as both an insult to donuts AND to coffee.
What do I mean by that? Well, their coffee is thin and acrid unless you allow them to add copious amounts of cream and sugar (which they are more than happy to do). Or unless you pair it with one of their stiff, heavy donuts that have an odd factory-made taste to them. Their eggs are nasty. Their bagels are a joke. And despite their claims, they do not serve anything that remotely resembles espresso.
On top of it all Dunkin’ Donuts charges a premium for these inferior foods. And still people line up every morning as part of their daily ritual.
As far as I can tell, the only thing Dunkin’ has going for it is location. It may be bad, but there are a lot of them. So if you need something caffeinated and sweet, you are only a stone’s throw away from one of these pink and orange beacons.
But really, it’s not just that. Because time and time again I hear people say that Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is cheaper than Starbucks. Now you may not like Starbucks coffee and that’s fine. But one shouldn’t conflate the two arguments. And the swill at Starbucks is actually less expensive than the swill at Dunkin’. No joke. Starbucks has a serious marketing problem.
Sure, they may not be convenient, but donuts are terrible for you. They are. White flour, deep fried and covered and filled with sugar. That is what makes them a treat. And dammit, if I’m going to be eating something like this, I want it to be superdelicious.
I’ll even accept that at one point in the past Dunkin’ Donuts were superior to what you could get elsewhere. This could be revisionist history, created by the fond memories I have of Dunkin’ Donuts from my teenage years. But back then every shop made its own donuts in-house. Regrettably this practice has given way to centralized kitchens that truck donuts out to almost every store.
But maybe it’s not about any of that.
Maybe it’s just about wanting some thin coffee with cream, sugar and something to nosh on. Okay. But then why don’t people opt for the convenience store instead? It’s cheaper and just as bad.
The whole thing leaves me scratching my head.
I really hope someone who reads this and is a frequent visitor of this most popular local eatery will be brave enough to stand up and be counted. I do want to understand. And perhaps if I can figure out this phenomenon, I will be one step closer to figuring out the culinary desires of the Capital Region.