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The Donut Roller Coaster

, , , , , , , | Working | January 23, 2023

About a month ago, a favorite chain donut shop opened near me. There used to be several years ago, but they all closed. I went there a couple of times both before and after their grand opening.

I had a good coupon for a cream cheese bagel. It was good enough that today I decided on a repeat. However, it wasn’t morning; it was mid-afternoon. A couple of cars were out front, and several cars out back obviously belonged to staff, so I figured they weren’t going to be too busy. I should be able to get through the drive-thru in two or three minutes.

I pulled up. There was silence from the speaker for a minute. Then…

Speaker: “We’ll be with you in a few moments.”

I was in no hurry, so sure. About two minutes later:

Speaker: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Me: “I’d like an everything bagel with cream cheese and a medium coffee.”

Speaker: “We have bagel bites.”

Me: “I don’t want bagel bites. I’d like a standard everything bagel with cream cheese.”

Speaker: *After a long pause* “We’re out of everything bagels.”

Me: “That’s fine. Let me have a plain bagel with cream cheese. Oh! And do you have any chocolate-cream-filled donuts?”

Speaker: “Yes, we do.”

Me: “Add one of those to the order.”

I had been eating healthy for a while; I figured a rare donut as a treat would be fine.

Speaker: “Please pay at the first window.”

I pulled ahead and confirmed my order with the cashier, paid, and pulled ahead to the second window. I worked on a puzzle on my phone and listened to music. I was near the end of the third song — so I’d been waiting for nearly ten minutes — and I was hoping maybe the delay was that they had to brew the coffee fresh.

I was about to try getting someone’s attention when the window opened.

Employee: “Here you are.”

He handed me a small package. By feel, I could tell it was a bagel. 

Me: “Where’s the rest?”

Employee: “The rest?”

Me: “Yeah, I ordered coffee and a donut, as well.”

Employee: “Hang on.”

He disappeared and I unwrapped the bagel. At first, I just saw a bagel — no cream cheese. I opened it and it seemed to have been lightly brushed by something. It could’ve been butter or it could’ve been cream cheese, but it was essentially a plain bagel.

The window opened again. The cashier was helping out.

Cashier: “Here’s your coffee. We’re out of chocolate-cream-filled donuts, but I picked out these chocolate donuts.”

He handed me the coffee and a box with a half-dozen plain donuts that were chocolate frosted and a couple with sprinkles. I was dumbfounded.

Me: “Well, do you have vanilla cream?”

Cashier: “Yes, we have those.”

Me: “That’s fine, too. It doesn’t have to be chocolate.”

I started to hand back the box.

Cashier: “That’s okay. Keep those.”

Me: “Okay, but one other thing: the bagel only has a tiny hint of cream cheese. The last time I was here, there was an actual layer of cream cheese.”

Cashier: “We have containers of cream cheese we put on the bagels, and we’re only supposed to use one, but I can get you another container of cream cheese.”

I was suspecting a lie of some kind unless the container held a mere half-teaspoon of cream cheese. There wasn’t much more to the conversation. He returned with the cream cheese and not one but two vanilla-cream-filled donuts. I appreciated the kindness to fix up my order, but how do you screw it up so badly in the first place? Besides, I wasn’t going to eat all those donuts. I guess I’ll bring them to the office tomorrow for everyone else.

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