Earlier this week, later in the evening, around nine o’ clock, I drove up to the local Dunkin’ Donuts. Living in this country now for about 8 years, I have come to know that one of the only company slogans that are actually near the truth, is the one from Dunkin’ Donuts: America Runs On Dunkin. It was actually the very reason why I parked my car in front of the brightly lit place at this time of the day.
The reason for which was that there was still a long night ahead for me, and for a well respected colleague of mine. This night we had picked out to transfer a clients’ website from one server park to the other. And with changes to be made with domains, it is better to do that in the quiet hours of the night. You never know what might go wrong, and then that extra time is simply always appreciated.
And if there were more cliché available, here is another one. There was a police car stationed outside. Now, I could have continued my story without mentioning this, but sorry, I simply could not overlook this, just like the State Trooper that pulled up just a moment later. No disrespect, but I also think it indeed shows what I mean with the slogan being right. We are talking about a company that makes their money providing sugar and caffeine. What else does working America need to stay awake through the night?
I grabbed a bag of extra dark coffee, and ordered my dozen of donuts that would not survive to see the break of dawn. And I told the clerk to mix up some donuts that he thought that would be good. So he turned around and started picking out the dozen of donuts. Now, one thing needs to be said, I don’t think the donuts from Dunkin’ are particularly good. Which is another thing I like about the place, because they never pretend that they have the best donuts. Better yet, they don’t talk at all about their donuts for as far as I know. ‘Donuts’ is in the name, so, if you don’t know what they sell, you are simply not their target audience.
Anyway, the moment of my surprise was when, after putting three donuts in the box, he turned around to me and asked me the question ‘How many children will be eating the donuts?’. I was a bit dumbfounded by the question and answered ‘none’, mentioning it was for me and my colleague to keep us awake through the night. He smiled, and explained himself; ‘Ah, then I will pick all the donuts that have manly colors’.
Really, that is what he said. And in went all the colorless or chocolate covered donuts. Brown. A manly color. Because, these donuts would be eaten by men. Real men. Yummy.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This actually made me quite happy, and I will tell you why: it is 9 o’clock, and this guy must have had a long day too, and took the initiative to link a client in front of him with a certain pattern of product he would deliver. I personally don’t care to eat a pink-frosting covered donut. It is a donut. It is sugar upon sugar. Fine by me. Add some extra sprinkles, I don’t care whatsoever. My daughter would care, because to her the pink covered donuts are a delicacy that I am not supposed to eat, because, well, I like all the other ones too.
I work day in and day out in IT. And all the time I encounter people who forget to actually think about their customers or clients, and often mistake their own wishes for the customers’ wishes and their own problems as faults with systems. Most people seem to forget the link to really think what the customer might want, even if you don’t know them at all. And I am actually getting at the dangerous place where that happens so many times, that I start to give up fighting that, and sometimes just do the work because fighting it sometimes is not having any desirable outcome at all; you know, The Fatigue.
But this guy, maybe at his late twenties simply sparked with me that simple thought; he might be completely wrong with his assessment of me as a client, but he at least tried and showed I was actually a real customer, not number 98 of that day.
And I think that that short visit to Dunkin’ relight that flame again…