I hated Krispy Kreme donuts long before I ever tried one. I hated the whole concept of donuts after converting in my 40’s to a “healthier lifestyle.” I especially hated Krispy Kreme donuts for their Tarheel origins and media-fueled expansionism. Stuck in the mammoth traffic jam caused by the opening of their first Massachusetts store smack dab in the middle of my route to work, I really hated Krispy Kreme. But my engine was overheating, the little red oil light was flashing insistently, so I pulled in the lot….
The parking lot, I presume for the opening only, covered at least 40 acres. It was twice as big and subsumed the lot for the Wellington subway station next door. I counted 5 uniformed Medford cops directing traffic IN THE PARKING LOT! It was like a Patriots game, except everyone was wearing those little white paper bakers hats with the Krispy logo.
After parking and hiking half a mile, one follows a labyrinthine series of signs beckoning you to “Enter”. However, before entering the store proper, you must navigate a maze of posts-and-ropes designed to funnel everybody into a connected gamut of circus-sized tents set up alongside the restaurant. Three guesses as to what we were exposed to in the tent would probably all be correct. There were Krispy Kreme coffee mugs, beer glasses, coasters, ashtrays and shot glasses. There were Krispy Kreme hats and aprons. There were Krispy Kreme T-shirts, long-sleeved sweatshirts, short-sleeved sweatshirts, sleeveless sweatshirts, sweatpants (and as Dave Barry likes to say, I am not making this up) boxer shorts and briefs. There were little Krispy Kreme cars and delivery trucks, and larger models, and a clever little complete Krispy Kreme model restaurant, with a tiny model car going through the miniature drive-thru. Cash, check or credit card, and we hadn’t even entered the restaurant.
Luckily the woman in front of me in line was quite attractive and although she appeared to be in rapt gossipy conversation with her matronly companion we were communicating in glances and subconscious body language, which partially distracted me from thinking about how much I hated Krispy Kreme.
Upon being granted permission to enter the premises by a perky teen-aged Krispy Kreme cadre who kept excusing herself to “go check the line”, we snaked back to the furthest corner of the place and curled around at a slow but steady pace, passing in front of a floor-to-ceiling glass panel behind which the donuts were actually being made, apparently without human intervention until the final step, which is grabbing them as they bob in the hot liquid “all-vegetable shortening”, turning them over once, and then taking them out.
The place was teeming with nattering suburbanites scurrying away with their swag, which Krispy Kreme puts in fat pizza-sized boxes to encourage people to buy two dozen at a time. Approximately 45 minutes after pulling into the lot, the Krispy Kreme counter finally came into view. At least my motor had had a chance to cool down. I was composing a screed in my mind about the herd mentality and rampant consumerist banality which could bring so many otherwise rational people to suffer stifling heat and inconvenience for a commodity available at any Drunken Donuts on any corner of the Commonwealth.
Then, as the line came out from behind the big glass wall, another Krispy Kreme minion smiled maniacally into my face and proffered, grasped lightly in long white plastic tongs, a steaming hot seconds-old Krispy Kreme special. I grabbed it, figuring this was the only way they kept the natives from burning down the place in frustration. I took a big bite……
I take it all back. Krispy Kreme is the best. No contest. They are dangerous. Proceed with caution.