January 10, 2007

Do You Slow the Muffin Man?

I try not to watch the re-runs of Curb Your Enthusiasm when browsing my HBO on Demand. I love the show, but invariably I end up behaving like a curmudgeon, like Larry David. So last night I watched CYE for lack of anything else to do.

And this morning the employees (and customers) at the Rockefeller Center Dunkin' Donuts paid the price.

I was running late for work and the donut lines at the Dunkin' Donuts, some twenty people deep, snaked almost into the B train itself. But I was determined to get a banana walnut muffin and large coffee with cream and sugar, so I'd happily wait. Anyways, I was already running behind schedule. A few more minutes wouldn't hurt.

So I waited. The cashier slash donut dealer was a young man of Indian descent. He had a handsome face (as most Indian men do) and a noble moustache. Ahead of me, a smiling lady had a laminated card punched when she purchased her small coffee. Oooh, a frequent drinker coffee card! I took mental note to ask about getting one of those myself.

And the line shuffled forward much faster than expected. The experienced Dunkin' Donuts crew yelled out coffee and donut requests, and I hungrily eyed the banana nut muffin tray. Beautiful, plump muffins adorned the slightly slanted metallic shelf except for one shriveled, deformed muffin segregated from the others. "I'm totally going to be handed the leper muffin," I thought to myself.

And finally it was my turn to order.

"I'll have a banana nut muffin and a large coffee with cream and sugar please."

"Coffee with milk and sugar!"

"Cream. I asked for cream."


"You said milk. I prefer cream."

"Cream! Make that coffee and cream!"

"Don't forget the sugar."

" ... and sugar."


And the barista turned from his cash register and, as predicted, put his hand directly on that nasty, shriveled banana walnut muffin. I cringed. Why oh why does the essence of Larry David overcome me in these situations?

"I'd prefer one of the others, please."


"Other muffins."

"You don't want banana walnut?"

"No. I want banana walnut, but one of the others. It looks sickly."

Yes, I personified my muffin in public.

"But these are all blueberry. That's the last banana walnut."

And this was when I heard the twenty people in line behind me rolling their eyes. Hearing the eye rolling of twenty people is a fabulous thing, by the way.

Moved by the eye rolling, I acquiesced to the lesser muffin, "OK. I guess I'll take that one, but why are those blueberry muffins sitting in the banana walnut section?"

He quietly stared at me with dead, customer service eyes and turned to get the pitiable muffin.

But it was gone.

While he wasn't answering my valid question, a coworker had snatched the tray of blueberry muffins (and my shriveled banana walnut) and moved them to the proper blueberry area. My muffin man hadn't seen the relocation. And now he searched in vain for the missing muffin.

Behind me twenty eye rolls turned into twenty loud-enough-so-I-can-just-barely-hear-them sighs of impatience. The muffin man turned back to me, "It's gone. "

"No it's not. He moved it right there," I pointed to the displaced tray and my muffin of misery, but nothing short of a miracle was going to help me get my once-despised-now-sought banana walnut muffin back. The coworker who moved the former tray now slid the banana nut placard beneath it's neighbor. Banana walnut was gone. It was over. Time to move on.

No more huffin' and puffin' for my missin' Dunkin' muffin. <-- That's wit.

Defeated, I pointed at the orange cranberry tray adjacent to where the banana walnut had been. I'll take that one. He put it in my baggie and I paid. I turned to leave when the essence of Larry David surged. I suddenly remembered the lady with the frequent coffee card.

"Do you have any cards? Like for customers who come here often."

An audible you gotta be kidding me jabbed the back of my head. But such rudeness only spurred me onward.

My best buddy, the muffin man, stared at me blankly, "You mean gift cards?"

He held a shiny plastic gift card for me to inspect.

"No. A frequent coffee drinker card thing. A lady before me had one punched," I pantomimed hole punching with my right hand.

DOACD goes interactive!

Everybody try to convince the muffin man to give you a coffee card!!!!

1. Hold your right hand in front of you as though you're giving the muffin man a thumbs up.
2. Now move your fist in a punching motion away from your body.
3. And finally, bring your thumb down onto your index finger over and over.

And that, my little Helen Keller’s, is Hole Punching. Not to be confused with Ho-Punching. Fun!

It goes without saying the guy had no clue what I was doing or saying as a small, blond woman pushed me and my pantomime aside and ordered her coffee and donut(s) <-- plural I might add.

So I left the line. But I did not leave the Dunkin Donuts!

Oh no.

I went straight to the "special orders" waiting area (where you pick up your lattes, bagels, microwaved sandwiches, etc…) to complain to someone that my large coffee wasn't filled to the brim. Seriously. I was possessed.

But in all fairness the cup was not filled to the top. It was barely a medium! The second muffin man inspected the lid to assure himself I hadn't secretly sipped away Dunkin' profits and quickly filled me to the brim. As it should have been in the first place.

And finally satisfied, I walked to work.

And at my desk, I unwrapped my muffin.

And it was a big, beautiful banana walnut. I'm totally serious.


Anonymous said...

Awesome post! I was right there with you, AND I was one of the people behind you too!

Big Dunkin fan by the way. A Cream and Sugar coffee from Dunkin is like a hot milkshake. Definitly my favorite coffee. And the styrofoam cups! My tip for coffee ordering there is to omit the word coffee in your order all together. Just say, "Large Cream and Sugar." Saves you a couple words AND might correct the Milk vs. Cream issue.

Thanks again for a great post. Got a good chuckle out of it.

bryce said...

If I had been with you, I would have berated you in front of the entire staff and store. You know I would have! I HATE Larry David with a passion bordering on pathological.

As for DD, they do indeed make the finest coffee in the land. I myself get a medium, skim no sugar.

And in NYC, nearly every DD worker is from India. The ones at 53rd & Lex are super nice and always very helpful. And for the record, we shouldn't be eating baked goods like muffins and donuts as they are bad for us. Sausage Egg & Cheese all the way!!

CountyBoyNYC said...

The girls on Christopher Street are from the Grenadines. 1. YOU ARE HYSTERICAL and i lived for this post, THANK you, i'm still screamin. 2. Indian men are HOT HOT HOT ! (check out John Abrabham, Akshay Khumar, Akshay Khanna and Amir Kahn ... YUM!). 3. I myself personally love an extra-large ICED with creme and four pink skinny-n-sweets. YUM.

Please accept my wishes for blessings of peace and health and joy and bounty in the coming year.

Foxy said...

A) That story makes me happy on thousands of levels.

B) Dunkin' Donuts coffee is delicious, doesn't taste nearly as good when you brew it at home, and allegedly contains more caffeine than other coffees.

C) I also would have hated you had I been with you. Unless I remembered to play the "That's My ____" game. Remind me to teach it to Bryce.