All Hail: Run on Dunkin’? Get in line

Nothing, and I mean nothing, can stop me from getting my coffee.

In recent years, my passion for the great American institution of Dunkin’ Donuts, Inc., has reached an unearthly – probably unhealthy – obsession. Outrageous. Unreasonable. Unyielding. Bizarre. Through thick and thin, my unending pursuit of all things Dunkin’ Donuts is impressive.

I have convinced myself that their breakfast sandwiches are suitable meals. I’m also convinced that their Turbo drink offerings are appropriate – and frequently necessary.

I have increased my coffee capacity and intake – and have always ignored the symptoms of addiction.

You should come with me some time. We’ll take a stroll and walk to any of the nearby Massachusetts chains – which, conveniently enough – are seemingly situated at every quarter-mile mark in this great Commonwealth of ours.

Bring a book, though, or at least some interesting topics of discussion and debate. It’s going to be a while until we get out of there alive.

Let’s explore the Northeastern area, for example.

There are few things on earth more infuriating than a slow-moving line. But compound that with a disinterested, distracted employee staff, and what do you get? The worst case of customer service one could possibly imagine.

When I enter the Dunkin’ Donuts Shillman Hall line, the first thoughts and images that always enter my brain are of a brilliant Chappelle’s Show sketch. In it, we see a group of employees working at a print store called “Popcopy.” They are blatantly ignoring the troublesome plight of a series of confused, tolerant customers who are simply looking for service. When it dawns on these employees that a customer is waiting, there is an angry turn of the head, a quick irritated look and a robotically-stated greeting of “Welcome to Popcopy, can I help you?”

The parody reaches its crucial moment when Ralph Henderson, the Popcopy guy, states, “Why treat our customers this way? ‘Cause [expletive] ’em, that’s why!”

That’s how we’ll feel on our trip, my friend.

I’ve read the entire Sports section of the Boston Globe on these trips. I’ve dug deep into chapters of various history books. I’ve pondered life’s meanings, had conversations with fellow students, memorized the menu and wasted countless hours of my life – all in humble pursuit of a medium regular.

It’s not much different in Hayden Hall, on Huntington Avenue or at Ruggles, my friend. As you approach these lines of angry, dejected and tired souls simply waiting for their caffeine fix, you’ll often be forced to wonder what sort of injustice you have committed to deserve this sort of torture.

You’ll smell coffee, see full bins of bagels and donuts, a manager and what appears to be a fully-functioning staff at these shops.

If it’s one of your first times at Dunkin’ Donuts, you’ll enter the line with high hopes and feel as if the staff is on your side. You’ll quickly witness the harsh reality of it all. You’ll hear the sighs of students and exhausted professors as the order of a large tea turns into a four-minute ordeal. You’ll feel the wrath of the person in front of you as another Dunkin’ employee steps away from the register. You’ll do your best to contain the fury building inside of you as an order is placed, and repeated – and repeated – and repeated – until it properly goes through.

As you near the finish line and get ready to place your order, you may wonder if it was worth it. I would understand your predicament.

Pity me, though, OK?

In my own maniacal pursuit of coffee, I’m trapped in these Dunkin’ Donuts lines of torment. Whether I can ever escape from them, I just don’t know.

– Jeff Powalisz is a senior history and journalism major, and a member of The News staff.

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