Monthly Archives: September 2015

Happy Birthday


Dear Nan,

It’s your birthday today, and for the third year in a row, we can’t celebrate it in person together. I remember the last time we did, so clear that the moment will live on forever. I’m sad, I don’t show it nearly as much as I feel it, but it’s there. I did well today, only teared up twice at work and a few times pre and post-gym. I speak of you often, and remember you even more. I hope I make you proud sometimes. I know I’m not always my best, but I try to be. I falter, especially over the last year, and I’m sorry for that. You taught me to learn from mistakes, not repeat them, and I think I do a pretty good job of that. I’m going on 27 now, I feel young physically but old at heart, like I have this experience I’ve acquired decades early. I long for one more talk with you, one more cup of tea, one more laugh, one more smile, one more phone call, one more conversation about how the Yankees are being foolish, one more hug, one more minute. I try to keep the others in line, they are their own individuals, however, so I try to guide more than steer. You raised us well, and we know that. Once again, thank you for every moment you spent with me, and every piece of knowledge you bestowed upon me. I’ll write again soon. Goodnight. See you in the morning. I love you. Sweet dreams. 

Happy birthday. 

-Robert

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Dunkin Donuts


My love/hate relationship with Dunkin Donuts is well documented. It mirrors, in a way, my former relationship with Planet Fitness: I don’t really like your service or what you offer 100%, I don’t give you my full commitment, but you meet my basic day-to-day needs so I remain loyal for the most part.

I have far more negative experiences with Dunkin than positive ones, with the ratio falling somewhere around 5/2. For every two good experiences, I have five horrible ones, which usually result in one of the following things happening:

  1. I write the coffee off as bad immediately and discard it.
  2. My sandwich is made wrong (missing an ingredient, wrong bread type, not fully cooked) but I eat it anyway.
  3. My sandwich is made wrong (missing an ingredient, wrong bread type, not fully cooked) and I discard it.
  4. I wait so long for my order that I can finish a large coffee, sipped slowly, before my sandwich is made.
  5. I receive a “free donut” because a “higher-up” feels bad that I’ve been waiting so long.

Based on my experience yesterday morning, I finally decided that enough was enough, I had to vent about this establishment.
Every time I, or anyone for that matter, walks into a Dunkin Donuts and pays money for a product, we expect the product to be made our way, correct? My order yesterday couldn’t have been simpler: “Medium iced coffee, light and sweet, with liquid sugar please.” “Will that be all?” “Yes.” I received, after a literal 7 minute wait, a medium iced coffee with a splash of milk and no sugar whatsoever. So many things go through my head after a moment like this, and I’ll try to outline them all. I don’t mean to berate Dunkin Donuts employees, I really don’t, but your job is to make coffee and make sandwiches that involve no actual cooking skill and no meal prep or design. I feel compelled to do this, for their sake and mine, because every customer deserves a satisfactory experience.

My first problem with Dunkin Donuts is the number of employees on shift compared to the output in the place. Yesterday alone we had one person on cash register, one person tending to the drive-thru, one person making sandwiches, one person making coffees, and two people taking up space. Why do you have employees clogging up the back that are not contributing? Or perhaps they should be but they just aren’t? I guess that’s for “corporate” to decide. In any case, maybe the line wouldn’t be 12 people long with literally the first person in line being served and the other 11 waiting. Or in yesterday’s case, you wouldn’t have 4 of us standing at the sandwich area waiting for coffee and food because one person is making coffees and one person sandwiches. Common sense tells me, and should tell the two employees standing around, “Hey, one or both of them should make some of the coffees to get these people taken care of.” But I suppose browsing your cell phone or whispering to an employee who actually is working is far more important.

Next, I seriously question the “skill” of most of the employees. I’m telling you right now, hand me a cheap visor, apron, and custom name tag that reads “R*8” with some stickers on it, and I could make coffees exactly how they should be without any formal training. I’ve never worked in retail or in customer service, but I’ve been a cook at an Italian restaurant and I’m a business owner, plus I make my own coffee daily and let me tell you, I’m never disappointed.

Not only are the skills lacking, but the general ability to understand basic instructions is as well. As an employee of somewhere like this, your job is no simpler than this: Listen to what the customer asks for and provide them with exactly what they asked for, nothing more or less. If I ask for liquid sugar, why are you giving me granulated sugar? More importantly, anyone with any basic concept of chemistry knows that solids won’t dissolve in cold water very well, so why in the hell is granulated sugar in an iced coffee even an OPTION. You should offer liquid or melted sugar standard, without the customer even having to ask for it. I swear for every 10 times I ask for liquid sugar, except for when someone I know serves me, I get granulated 4-6 of those times. It’s amazing to me that something like that can happen.

When it comes to sandwiches, I always ask for croissants, I never change that. The reason I even like croissants is because Dunkin Donuts messed up an order of mine years ago. I asked for a bacon, egg, and cheese on a plain bagel and received the sandwich on a croissant. I liked the croissant so much that I always order them now, but you see my point. I’ve had sandwiches come out frozen all the way through the center. I’ve had the wrong bread, wrong meat, no cheese, even no egg once. It baffles me all the time, so much so that when I order from Dunkin now, I fully expect there to be something wrong. I purposely don’t order drinks with too much in them so that the order remains as simple as possible, thus reducing (in theory) the chance of a mistake. When placing my order, I’ll wait until the previous item was punched into the register before going onto the next thing for fear of them missing something or typing something that is wrong. It’s obvious that I shouldn’t have to do any of this.

Perhaps my dislike is towards most employees, because there are workers who know me and who make my coffee correctly 100% of the time, and I’m thankful for that. But should I really have to make sure I go into Dunkin when they are on shift? Should I be taking such advanced measures to ensure my order is correct? No, but it’s exactly what I do. As I’ve been writing, I decided “I’m going to send this complaint to Dunkin themselves and see what they say, if anything.”

You don’t need a 4 year degree to make coffee or toast a bagel and heat up an egg and meat and put them together, there shouldn’t be so many issues with my orders. And we are just talking about MY experiences. Dunkin serves probably millions a day, and I’m one person in Pleasant Valley, NY with these issues. Something tells me I’m not the only one.

In conclusion, my ultimate point is this: I don’t walk into Dunkin Donuts and pay my money as a charitable donation. I certainly don’t hand it to the cashier and give them carte blanche to make or serve me whatever they want. My money should directly translate to my order being 100% correct, every time, without an input or opinion from the person making it. I correct what I said before, you’re not MAKING coffee, you’re just pouring it and adding ingredients to it. Let’s try to make our relationship a better one, and if that isn’t possible, let me pay you and come behind the counter and make the coffee myself. If that isn’t possible either, I’ll just take my business on down the road, and you can serve one less person incorrectly.

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