We all have our weaknesses. For some, it’s chocolate. For others, it’s Big Macs and cigarettes. For me, it’s doughnuts. Left unchecked, I could probably down a full dozen, all the while pondering the benefits of sprinkles and diabetes.
Having learned of the opening of a new nearby doughnut establishment, I couldn’t resist dropping in to buy a dozen as a surprise treat for my coworkers. Figuring that I’d get my fill of the frosted treats and be heralded as the undisputed doughnut champion of the office, I began to peruse their selection. From maple-glazed topped with full strips of bacon to key lime delectables, their sugary gallery of colorful dunkers was a visual feast for pastry enthusiasts.
When my turn in line came up, I ordered a dozen assorted. As I witnessed each half-dozen being packaged into two large cake boxes—crème brûlée, classic glazed, tiramisu—my mind quickly began conjuring up tricks to smuggle my favorites to my desk drawer. Tragically, my second-hand doughnut high came to a bitter crash as the clerk rung up my total.
“OK, sir,” he said. “With our grand opening discount of 35%, your total comes to $32 even.” On pure reflex, I gave an unrestrained yell of, “32 dollars for doughnuts! How?” Even with the elaborate nature of some of the selections, I couldn’t imagine the total amounting to more than $16. Perhaps $20 being generous but nearly $45 sans discount? I could buy 2 pounds of filet mignon for the same cost!
“Well many of these are from our ‘Morning Yum Yum’ selection,” the clerk said as he gestured towards the glass display. Taking a more intense look at both the menu and the display, I noted a small sign designating: “REGULAR / $1. YUM YUM / $4.”
“Uh huh,” I groaned as my visions of caramel and frosting dissolved into the heartbreaking reality of stale convenient store bagels and burnt coffee. Attempting to salvage the situation, I asked, “But which are the regulars and which are the yum yums? Nothing is marked.”
The clerk began pointing randomly at the display, “Let’s see. The cinnamon sugar is a yum yum. The kale temptresses are yum yums. The frosting with sprinkles is a yum yum—“
“Wait, wait, wait,” I interrupted. Somehow overlooking the existence of kale-flavored doughnuts, my mind focused on the fact that sprinkles counted as a $3 upsell. What were they? Flecked with gold and unicorn tears? “If the sprinkled doughnuts are considered specialty yum yums, it may be easier if you just point out the regular priced doughnuts.”
The clerk took a step back, studying the case. A few seconds later, he declared, “These. These are our regular doughnuts,” as he pointed at the old-fashioned.
“Just one choice?” I asked, surprised. “You guys take the idea of ‘regular’ quite literally, don’t you?”
“Well we don’t want to make anything confusing,” the clerk answered, glibly. Feeling defeated, I resorted to selfishness. “Fine. I’ll just take one of those.”
“The kale temptress?”
“Dear god, no!” I exclaimed. “That one. The caramel one.”
“One caramel morning marble? Great choice,” the clerk confirmed as he dropped the single doughnut in a bag and rang up the total. “That’ll be $7.50.”
Nearly dropping my wallet for the second time, I asked, “I thought yum yums were 4 dollars?”
“Yes they are, but the caramel morning marble is today’s exclusive ‘Premium Yum Yum.’”
“A premium yum yum?! What the—“ My eyes darted all over the counter for the menu.
“It’s on the poster over there,” the clerk indicated. I turned towards a poster nestled between the men and women’s restrooms (each, unsurprisingly, had posted signs on the doors warning that the restrooms were intended for customers only). Already, I was equating the phrase “yum yum” alongside the worst pejoratives imaginable.
Exasperated, I finally came to a decision. Filet mignon for dinner.