So, Sunday evening, I drove to Augusta to return some video rentals. On the way back, I succumbed to the temptation to stop at a 24-hour Dunkin' Donuts store with the intention of picking up a delicious dozen.
Now, I probably shouldn't have stopped at all, as I'm perpetually struggling with my weight, and I'm more gigantic than ever. But regardless of whether or not I actually needed those sugary pastries (are doughnuts pastry?), the fact is, I wanted them. I don't eat stuff like that nearly as often as my squash-like physique might suggest, and I was really craving the guilty pleasure of some honey-glazed evil.
Well, I walked into the store around 8:30 PM, and the racks behind the counter were bare. There were no doughnuts, no crullers, muffins, doughnut holes – nothing but a couple of what looked like very stale bagels. And coffee, of course. Plenty of coffee.
The teenaged guy behind the counter asked if he could help me, and I had to admit to him that it seemed unlikely. When I told him that I had intended to purchase a dozen doughnuts, I was told that they only got one shipment a day, and had sold out before noon.
"You know," I said, "If the name of your business has the word 'Donut' in it, you probably should have some to sell."
I was then informed that if I wanted doughnuts, I should know enough to show up in the morning. This information was delivered with thinly disguised, youthful contempt and a snarky impatience. Properly chastised and feeling sufficiently stupid, I turned and left.
It used to be that Dunkin' Donuts made their product on the premises, and you were assured of being able to find something round, sticky and sweet no matter when you stopped in. I remember numerous long winter road trips where a lonely, only-business-open DunkinD made a welcome, warm and inviting pre-dawn oasis. But apparently, now those tasty treats are made elsewhere and shipped to the stores once a day. And this wasn't one of those little drive-thru Fotomat-style DunkinDs, this one was one of their bigger, sit-down establishments, where they definitely had room to make their own doughnuts. Obviously, like every other chain out there, someone decided it was cheaper to mass produce the product at a central location, and if the stores run out before the next delivery, well, that's just tough luck for somebody.
As I drove home doughnutless, I began to get pretty damned angry. First, I was pissed that a 24-hour doughnut shop didn't have any doughnuts. Secondly, I was annoyed that I was made to feel stupid for expecting it to have doughnuts. Thirdly, I was angry that this sort of thing seems to happen more and more frequently, and I just put up with it.
Last month, I went to the local comic book store to purchase a copy of the PREVIEWS catalog, and the guy wouldn't sell me one because he only ordered copies for himself and subscribers who requested them. Never mind that the catalog is supposed to exist to help customers know what's coming out so they can order the books they want, and that it's an important tool for stores to attract new clientele... he just didn't have any to spare. Of course, this is the same store that allows homeless guys to sit right inside the front door, that has teenagers constantly hanging out eating aromatic take-out at the gaming tables, and keeps all the new independent comics in a longbox on the floor instead of displayed on the racks... and an owner who complains because the distributor is "going to put him out of business."
Oh yeah, it's his distributor that's the problem.
And then there's the local Hollywood Video that rarely has the titles I'm looking to rent, although they're so overstocked on all the mainstream "blockbuster" crap that half their floor space is devoted to trying to sell off the surplus DVDs. And it's not like my requests are that obscure. I mean, Blue Thunder?
Of course, it's my fault. What the hell am I thinking? How idiotic of me to expect to buy doughnuts at a doughnut shop, comic books at a comic book store or find a specific video at the video store!
Anyway, I know it's probably for the best that I didn't get the doughnuts – I'm fat enough – but I'm still irked that this sort of thing seems to happen to me so often lately.
Sorry for the rant.