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Free donuts

Investigative reporting. Those two words are taken very seriously in the writing business. For years, journalists have investigated and uncovered scandals in politics, banking, and environmental issues. As a journalist, I decided it was time for me to delve into the world of investigative reporting because there has been something that has been troubling me, something that has been gnawing at my very soul. The only way to relieve my mind about this issue was to research it myself. “What is it?” you may ask. I will tell you. It is the incredibly long line of cars that are constantly snaked around the new Krispy Kreme on Route 4. I drive by it many times during the week, both during the day and at night, and there is always a line of cars waiting. I needed to know why.

My first stop on this investigation into the world of donuts was Google. Hanson Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was 16 years old. (This fact is verbatim from google.com.) I was curious to know how large or small this 16-year-old was but, alas, I was not privy to that information. I was also wondering about the lime-trading industry, but I didn’t pursue that either. As for the Krispy Kreme company, there were multiple locations years ago, a flagship store in Port Authority where you could watch them make the donuts, but then all of the stores disappeared. Perhaps it fell victim to expanding too quickly or perhaps just to the Diabetes Association of America lobbyists. No one knows for sure. But here we are. Back at Krispy Kreme.

About the time the Route 4 store opened, I had been forwarded an email from the folks at Krispy Kreme advertising that anyone who had proof of being fully vaccinated could come in for a free glazed donut. For the rest of the year. No restrictions. One free donut a day until December 31, 2021. “Wow,” I thought. “Who would ever shlep to Krispy Kreme for one lousy glazed donut?” I thought. I could understand if it was one free of any flavor. That would be a great gimmick to get people into the store. People could see which flavors they liked. But for one glazed one? I couldn’t see the appeal. Even for me, carb and sugar advocate extraordinaire. I wasn’t falling for this marketing scheme. After all, I would be spending more on gas than the cost of an actual donut.

And then I started to notice the line of cars at the drive-thru. “Could this really be for the one free donut?” I thought (well, I probably said it out loud, to myself because I often do talk to myself since I am the only person who listens when I talk anyway…). And that is where my need to investigate took over.

Monday morning I parked my car by Chuck E Cheese and I walked along the highway to the green and white edifice that housed the culprit in question. “May I please speak to the manager?” I asked a frazzled looking 12-year-old employee. (It seems that everyone looks 12 to me now that I am 50.) A confident young man (yes, also 12) came up to me and asked how he could help. The manager’s name is Dashawn, and he was very helpful. Yes, the line of cars is usually filled with people wanting their free donut. Yes, he has started to recognize people who come in four or five times a week for their free donuts. No, there is no way for them to monitor if people come in more than once a day. No, he never thought that this marketing campaign would be as popular as it has been. Yes, it has gotten people to actually buy other donuts. Yes, more people use the drive-thru because they think it is easier than parking their cars and walking into the store. No, he doesn’t think that Krispy Kreme is losing money on all of the free donuts. And, finally, yes, most of the customers are religious Jews (unless they keep cholov yisroel, which the donuts are not, and no, Dashawn didn’t tell me that answer, I just assumed it.)

So there you have it. Free donuts are alive, well, and available at Krispy Kreme, even if it means waiting on a line that is usually at least 10 cars long. And, according to a man waiting on the drive-thru line who had his window open, which I used as an opportunity to harass him, on Mondays, you can get a free small iced or regular coffee. He was also going to purchase an oreo crème-filled donut because he was tired of the glazed ones.

And now my investigation is complete.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck has not yet indulged in a free donut for fear of people looking at her thinking, “Gee, she really doesn’t need to be eating a donut. Someone get her some lettuce.”

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