May 29, 2008

Open Letter to Dunkin Donuts

Dear Dunkin' Donuts,

I'm writing to you about the recent Rachael Ray scarf controversy.

I feel a little bad for you, because I know you probably felt you would lose no matter what you did. You had right wing crazies screaming in your ear, and that can be very distracting. You know you weren't trying to promote any sort of terrorism. I know you weren't trying to promote terrorism. And I almost understand why you pulled the ad featuring Rachael Ray in an innocent black-and-white paisley scarf. It was fear.

You were afraid that the crazies wouldn't buy your coffee. And corporations aren't about courage, they're about selling.

We recently had Memorial Day here in the United States. Memorial Day is about people who have given the ultimate sacrifice in military service for our country. What you may not realize is that our freedoms are defended or eroded by the individual actions of Americans. A short way to describe this is "use it or lose it." If we don't use our freedoms, we will surely lose them. If we are afraid to use our freedoms, we have effectively already lost them.

As individual Americans (or American corporations) act on the fears of misguided fools, the loss of freedom is effectively in place. That freedom, which some have died for, is tossed away by your decision to cow-tow to a few misguided souls who see terrorism behind every donut.

Our daughter likes your poppy seed bagels. She takes one to school for lunch every single day.

The Taliban makes a ton of money from opium, which is produced from poppies. Perhaps my daughter will be mistaken for a terrorist if she's seen with one of your bagels. Do you see how ridiculous that is? With two seconds of twisted imagination, anything can be linked to terrorism. Would you stop selling poppy seed bagels if I made enough of a stink?

We must aggressively defend our freedoms by using them without fear. Dunkin' Donuts has even more responsibility in this area because you are high profile. By your actions, you've told millions of Americans you agree that they should be afraid to wear a black-and-white paisley scarf. And you've encouraged the people who can't tell Rachael Ray from a terrorist to continue their crusade. If that's your stand, then you clearly don't want my business. And that's sad, because I've been a fan more often than not (search my blog).

Perhaps my taste for your products will return when you can stand up against manufactured outrage that erodes our freedom of speech.

-James Patrick Burke

(Respond, if you wish, to )

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Posted by James at May 29, 2008 10:36 AM
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I'm not a big fan of boycotts, but suddenly I don't want Dunkin' Donuts very much anymore.

Posted by: James at May 29, 2008 10:44 AM

What I love is how right wingers proudly declare themselves "free speech absolutists" when it comes to, for example, European newspapers printing racist war propoganda. But free speech doesn't apply to celebrity chefs wearing scarfs.

Posted by: David Grenier at May 29, 2008 10:58 AM

Losing the $12 or so per year that I spend there (seriously - I'm too lazy to use even a drive-through for anything that doesn't have meat in it) probably won't bring them to their knees, but screw them anyway. They're embarrassing. I'm embarrassed BY them; I'm even embarrassed FOR them.

Posted by: Julie at May 29, 2008 11:04 AM

Nice letter. In case you're looking for a new place to source your daughter's bagels the small, local, independently owned place near my parents (in the plaza with the McDonalds whare you worked) makes (or at least made,last time I was able to consume a bagel, which granted was years ago) a dman fine bagel. I forget their name, New York Bagel, Co. or something along those lines.

I need to learn to think/talk/type without all the sidebars.


and they have a store in North Dartmouth!

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at May 29, 2008 11:06 AM

There's also Tim Horton's. Somehow I can't imagine a Canadian company doing something so lame. Even to kowtow to a paranoid US customer base.

Posted by: Julie at May 29, 2008 11:19 AM

Now we need an open letter to the wingnuts who started this nonsense. If only they could read.

Posted by: Chuck at May 29, 2008 2:09 PM

Well put. My letter would be too heavily laced with obscenity...

I hardly ever go to DD anyway. It must be a staple in this town, like rice in China. It seems that there's always a 37-person-deep line that seems to form there at opening and stay that way until closing. I never want donuts that bad.

Posted by: Bull at May 29, 2008 2:44 PM

Bob, I do sometimes get M's bagels from NYBCo, and I think I'm due for a free dozen, in fact. It's just that they go bad quickly and the DD (must be loaded with preservatives) is literally a quarter mile from our house. (Yeah, in any relatively developed town, I think everybody has a DD less than a quarter mile from their house.) So in the morning, if I discover the bagels are moldy, I can still run and get her lunch and get her on the bus on time, or if we've forgotten bagels, I can run out at 10 pm and get them -- that sort of thing. And it's great when they don't drop them on the floor and then give them to me anyway. But maybe I have to drag my lazy butt and gas-guzzling jeep to Fall River. The NYBCo bagels are much better, anyway. (There's an even better place in Seekonk called Krazy Korner, and they used to supply bagels to our local Bagel Train, so I suppose I could also go there.)

Posted by: Maggie at May 29, 2008 5:06 PM

I am thankful for my independent coffee shop, where the coffee is actually quite good (it tases like coffee, not D2's coffee-flavored water with "cream"), which happens to be inside one of my independent book stores, all of which is convenienly located near the T stop I take the Commuter Rail to each morning.

Posted by: Patti M. at May 29, 2008 7:48 PM

I wonder, Maggie, if you were to freeze the bagels as soon as you got them, and put one in M's bag each morning, if it would be thawed by the time she wanted it?

I've never had much luck refrigerating bagels (it seems to suck the life out of them), but they freeze well.

Just a thought - if it works out it might save you a few trips.

Posted by: Julie at May 29, 2008 8:59 PM

Let them know how you feel about their "products":

Posted by: Derek at May 29, 2008 9:06 PM

Thanks, Dr. D. I did not share my Chicken Donut suggestion with them, but I did share some other thoughts.

Posted by: Julie at May 30, 2008 12:19 AM

Julie, I *have* to freeze the NYBCo bagels. But I don't think they're as good when they've thawed. I toast it and butter it so it's cold by the time she eats it for lunch, the least I can do is also have it be somewhat fresh! (I really don't know how she can eat that for lunch, but that's what she wants.) I agree about the fridge -- not good. I do refrigerate them if I start to worry about how long I've had them.

Posted by: Maggie at May 30, 2008 8:16 AM

Oops - meant to post DD's response here:

Thank you for sharing your comments. We always appreciate hearing from our customers. The intent of the online ad featuring Rachael Ray wearing a paisley silk scarf was to promote iced coffee. Given the surprising and truly unfortunate interpretation of this ad from some of our consumers, we decided to pull the ad and replace it with another as it is no longer serving its intended purpose, which was to simply promote our iced coffee---nothing more, nothing less.

At Dunkin' Donuts, we value all of our customers and remain steadfastly committed to making your experiences with us both memorable and pleasant. Thank you, again, for making us aware of your concerns; it is appreciated

Posted by: James at June 3, 2008 8:20 AM

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