Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dear Sirs, you suck.

So, Dunkin HQ actually wrote me back. They wrote to say that they appreciated my letter but they were returning it to me. However, I would like to note it has not been returned. For starters, I emailed it.

But regardless. They assured me that they "have entire departments whose job it is to come up with fresh and exciting concepts, products, flavors, programs, advertising, etc. We also receive many unsolicited suggestions from our friends outside the company . . . Most of the time, the suggestions are things our teams have already thought of and may be working on."

Ummmm..... they seriously should be working on this as a cup of properly made iced coffee could make or break someone's day.

"Therefore to prevent any possible misunderstanding, we are returning your original letter to you. we cannot accept or review unsolicited ideas including: patented or unpatented, trademarked or un-trademarked ideas, copyright protected materials, advertising slogans, marketing programs, promotional programs, patent applications, trademark applications, copyright applications, product suggestions, prototypes or models."

Now, you and I both know they will end up using my idea. Within a few months you can bet your bippy you will be seeing a sign in a Dunking advertising that their flavors are sugar free. And, within a year, you will no doubt see new cups with mysterious lines so the workers know how much milk/cream and ice go into an iced coffee. Honestly, I am fine with that as long as it means that anywhere I go, I am guaranteed a properly, well-made cup of iced coffee.

I would like to add that they did include a $5 booklet of Dunkin bucks. Personally, I thought they could have spared something more, maybe $10 or $15 but it was almost enough for stew and I to each get a large iced coffee. I still had to kick in $0.38 out of my own pocket.

So, that got me thinking, I should write more letters, sending more unsolicited ideas and get more free stuff. No sooner should I get this idea than a coupon for a free medium ice cream from Coldstone Creamery comes for me in the mail.

Coldstone is my enemy. For two reasons.

1.) I am not much of an ice cream fan.
2.) I think their ice cream is way overpriced.
3.) They never have enough help.
4.) They ruined my Valentine's Day.

You see, Stew likes their ice cream and last Valentine's Day I took advantage of this promotion they had for $2 off a Valentine's Day cake for two. The coupon said nothing about having to pick it up on Valentine's Day just that it was only good while supplies lasted. So, I went there the day before Valentine's Day and that was when I was informed I had to wait until Valentine's Day. The kid behind the counter was young and I was feeling particularly cute that day so I pretended to be way more bummed than I really was and gave him the sob story that V-day was our anniversary and we had 6 p.m. dinner reservations and I got out at 5:30 and had to hightail it to the restaurant with no time to come back for the cake. So, the kid went into the backroom, got me a cake (which was actually two small chocolate cakes with chocolate hearts in the center and could not have looked more like two boobs) and rang me up.

So, this past Valentine's day, I thought i would re-create the magic and stew was all excited. there was no coupon offer this year so I had to wing it. I figured being an ice cream shop they would have tiny pre-made cakes like they USUALLY do. It was a Monday and I was early but I figured I had time to order it. While waiting on line (because they only had one person mashing up ice cream for a long line) I was commiserating with a lady who was pissed off they had no Birthday cakes for her daughter's birthday. However, she couldn't bitch too much because what shitty mom waits until the last minute to get her daughter's cake.

I asked the girl behind the counter if they had any tiny cakes in the back. She said no and I would have to order one that would be ready no earlier than Wednesday after 5:30. So, i placed an order and left. Wednesday came, the night of the HUGE ice storm. I got out of work early because they forced us to leave the building. Stew came home early too and we risked life and limb to get to Coldstone around 5:30 and the place was closed.

I'm understanding and I am sure they closed early because they were worried about their employees and I am cool with that. But damn, they could have at least called and said they were closing early and if i wanted the cake for that night I had to come get it before they closed at X time. So, I wrote a letter to the headquarters. A few days later I got calls from the store manager and owner telling me to come and get my cake free of charge. I called to arrange a pick up and the cake was not there. I wasn't going to really push the issue. It was just principle. A few days later a coupon came and now I just got another one.

Stew is on me to write XM radio because he wants to know why Opie and Anthony got suspended for Bush jokes. I mean, isn't the point of satellite radio paying to hear radio that is not being censored? But, I say pick your own battles.

I have coffee wars to win and free ice cream to get.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wake up and smell the coffee

After having the scariest ice coffee ever. Seriously, i broke two straws trying to get through all the ice I decided to write Dunkin Donuts and revolutionize their business.

To the wonderful people at Dunkin who keep me caffeinated all day,

You make the best coffee. Hands down. Starbucks are chumps with their overpriced lattes and calorie filled drinks. When it comes to choosing between green and pink and orange, I always choose Dunkin.

On my last Dunkin visit, I was able to enlighten some customers to some wisdom that is not common knowledge. However, I know from writing you in the past, that all your delicious flavor shots are sugar free. For some reason, that fact is advertised only on your site and not in the shops. When I filled these customers in on that bit of INVALUABLE information they were elated and quickly added shots to their drinks. Their only question was how come you don’t say that in the store? A lot of your employees may not be aware of this or customers may not believe them but if it were posted somewhere, they could not dispute that.

My only guess for why it’s not posted in the store is that you may be apprehensive about people thinking it has an aftertaste or has some cancer-causing additive in it. Believe me, if fake sweeteners really caused cancer I would be dead. If you are going to offer “healthier” drinks like lite lattes and such then go ahead and tell your customers that the syrup they crave contains no sugar.

Another thought for you is to bring all your workers up to code on making a consistent cup of coffee. Sometimes, I’ll ask for a coffee with milk or cream and they put so much cream in that it tastes like I am drinking straight up cream. Or, I will ask for an iced coffee and get a few chips of ice that melt quickly or an iceberg in my cup so big I can’t get the straw in without it getting obstructed and crushed the like Titanic. This resulted in about 4 sips of coffee fitting into a medium cup but enough ice for at least two and a half drinks. I rarely find a happy medium.

So, here is my idea and it is completely free. However, feel free to hook me up with a loaded gift card should you like my idea and use it. On your cups, you should have lines that tell your employees how much ice to add, how much milk/cream or sugar. Or, you can just have a standard 4 squirts for a medium, 6 for a large and then add one if the customer prefers it lighter.

You pride yourself on “authentic” iced coffee so why not make it consistently perfect? I depend on Dunkin to deliver a great tasting cup o’ Joe and more often than not that is what I get but the times when I get something different like 4 sips of coffee and a ton of ice or a mouth full of cream I’m disappointed. I know the Dunkins I can depend on in each town in New England. Sad but true.

I hope that you read this letter. I know it’s long but it comes from a very dedicated customer who wants the world to appreciate all that Dunkin has to offer.

Dr. Horder

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I'm changing lives one iced coffee at a time

So, I gave up my weekly indulgence of a sugar free cinnamon dulce latte after boredom drove me to the nutrition section of Starbucks' Web site. Even with skim milk I was taking in half of my daily allotment of carbs. Frankly I'd rather eat those carbs in the form of pizza than drink them. Granted, i can swap to cream instead of skim milk but then I would be piling on the fat 25+ grams vs 0. So, I am back to my trusty standby summer drink - a large toasted almond iced coffee with cream and three Splenda.

Anyone who knows me knows that I was absolutely devastated when Dunkin Donuts announced they were no longer brewing french vanilla and hazelnut flavored coffees. Instead they announced all their great new syrups. Knowing how much sugar those syrups pack per tablespoon, I was banished to a life of plain tasting coffee. I figured they had to come out with sugar-free syrups eventually but that day never seemed to come. It got to the point where I was buying an assortment of sugar free syrups and adding them to my coffee when I got home. But, more often that not, I grabbed my coffee on the go so the syrups were going to waste. I had enough of society's contradiction that they want to make us healthy by offering healthy things but screw us in the end by finding some way to add sugar to it. I took matters into my own hands and wrote Dunkin Donuts headquarters. It took a few days but I finally got an answer and that answer made me the happiest little coffee lover alive. Every single one of their tasty flavors was sugar free. Not just like lame ass Starbucks who only offers caramel, vanilla and hazelnut but EVERY SINGLE ONE. And endless possibility of flavorful concoctions

I told everyone I knew (which basically consisted of about 5 people) who would actually care enough and not think I am totally insane that I took my concern all the way to Dunkin headquarters. Come on, I could not risk throwing myself into some sugar coma because the guy behind the counter would say "yes" to anything because that's just about all the English he knows. If you read my old blog you are well aware of the insane conversations I've had with Dunkin employees including the one who asked me if Stew's attitude changed towards me after we had sex. Not to mention all the times I asked for iced coffee and ended up with a hot one on the counter in front of me. And just last week I said "no sugar" three times only to take a sip of my coffee and get a straw full of sugar granules. It took everything in me to take that bit of heaven in a cup back and demand one sans sugar.

So, I really can't blame anyone for what happened yesterday.

After dropping off my clothes at the tailors, I stopped by Dunkin to get my congratulatory-you-survived-another-week Friday iced coffee. I walked in on mayhem in progress. Two ladies were engaged in a full-blown argument with the two employees (who I happen to know and like despite their prying questions). One customer with a condescending Aussie accent was interrogating an employee on why they don't offer sugar free syrups. His only defense was "no ma'am, no sugar free syrups." I took one look at her extremely dark looking iced latte and knew I could save the day because that was about to taste like a bitter turd if I didn't.

"Actually," I said, sounding like my 9-year-old nephew who starts off any fact he's about to correct you on, "They are all sugar free."

Aussie whipped around and glared at me. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, 100% sure."

The other lady in line turned around to join the inquisition, 'how do you know?"

I stood proud. I don't care who in that Dunkin was about to think I was a freak for taking my question to the top banana. I was about to let my freak flag fly high in orange and pink.

"I wrote headquarters and asked and they said that all their syrups are sugar free."


"Even the chocolate?" She asked.

"Even the chocolate," I said and then I corrected myself because I remembered the time in Florida when I asked for chocolate and they put Nestle chocolate syrup in it and I had to differentiate calling it syrup and referred to it as a "flavor shot."

"Why don't they advertise that?' she asked and the other lady backed her up by tapping a sign listing all the flavors and saying, "this should say sugar free."

I had no answer. I think it is insanely retarded that they don't mention it in the store, only on the Web site that the flavors are sugar free. My guess is maybe they think that most people who want the flavors don't want to know it is sugar free because they'll think it is made with artificial sweeteners and has an aftertaste and causes cancer.

Let me tell you something about that artificial sweetener causing cancer thing.

M Y T H.

If it were the case my ass would be long dead by now. In my 33 years I can count on one hand how many times I drank regular soda and juices that were not Crystal Light. I'd be a goner.

"Well," Aussie said facing the employee, "I will have two shots of vanilla in this because this concerned customer cared enough to write headquarters and find out the truth so now you know and you can tell all your customers."

I liked it. Concerned customer . . . finding out the truth. I felt like Michael Moore.

'You've opened up a whole new world for me," said the other lady.

Cool, they should have a parade in my honor and throw sprinkles and gift cards at me. I'm opening up whole new worlds for people. Wait until I tell stew.

"That information is invaluable," Aussie said. "Invaluable."

Shit yeah. Suddenly my being crazy served a purpose. I changed lives and opened up new worlds.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

License to Ill

I think Stew is getting a bit worried. See, he hasn't been hearing many good things about marriage from his unhappily married co-workers. While Stew admits to getting excited about he wedding, I think a fear is growing in the pit of his stomach. As the weddings of his friends near they express some frustration for their future spouses and tell stew to heed their warnings. "Lisa will get crazy right before the wedding. Brace yourself and just roll with it."

Truth be told, I may get a little wonky before the wedding but there is a slight chance I may not. I hated this wedding business from Day 1 so all my craziness reared its ugly head early on. I was hoping if Stew saw the craziness early on, he would rethink wanting a wedding before we dropped too many non-refundable deposits.

Apparently, I was not crazy enough which is shocking because I was pretty damn crazy.

A lot of it came from being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. So, after I resigned myself not to winning the war I waged, I bucked up and broke it down. The plan was to tackle everything I could early enough and map out the rest. It frightened me how organized I was and what a drill sergeant I became about deadlines but Stew knew it was either drill sergeant or crazy and he liked the idea of drill sergeant much better. However, I dragged Stew along with me to every meeting, every registry selection. If he wanted this wedding, he had to be tortured just like me. This included, but was not limited to, watching endless videos of DJs, a lot of rhythmless crackers dancing to Bon Jovi, meetings with a florist who tried to take us for $2300 for an archway and the constant barrage of "what about this invitation/bridesmaids dress/color/song/favor?" questions which I demanded answers to. Not to mention any of the flack we had to take from our respective parents about the location and the decision to have a JP instead of a priest.

When I say uphill battle, I mean in an ice storm while it's raining grease.

Every time he looks a little stressed or beaten, I silently snicker to myself and asked him, "Aren't you glad you wanted a wedding? Don't you wish you listened to me about eloping? Isn't this so much fun?" Of course he would say this is what he wants but he said it through gritted teeth leading me to believe otherwise. Then I will not-so-gently remind him that for the next couple of months his time and attention belongs to me so don't go making any plans. I know this is mean but I'm not going down alone.

All that BS crap you see for weddings with a phrase that alludes to two hearts beating as one is no joke because as a couple you either killed your partner or you're around them so much you are now a single-celled amoeba.