The Doughnut Chains Have Lost Their Minds

Dunkin' and Krispy Kreme are both offering promotions related to high gas prices. Who asked for this?

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There’s a very particular kind of press release that arrives in our inboxes during times of national turmoil. “TIMES ARE HARD,” the subject line reads. “HERE’S HOW WE’RE HELPING.” Translation: Times are hard. Here’s how we’re making it all about us to boost our bottom line.

In the past 48 hours, I’ve received two of these emails from competing doughnut chains: Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’, both in response to sky-high gas prices. Both chains announced initiatives to, as Dunkin’ put it, “help ease pain at the pump.” Dear god, this is goofy.

Krispy Kreme promises “doughnut deflation”

We’ll start with Krispy Kreme, which just announced a promotion running from April 13 through May 4. During that time, Krispy Kreme will offer a dozen Original Glazed doughnuts at the cost of “the national average of one gallon of regular gas.” Prices will be updated weekly to reflect gas prices.

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Why? “To leave a sweeter taste in motorists’ mouths as they feel the pain at the pump,” the press release reads.

For context, a dozen Original Glazed doughnuts will usually cost you about $12. Meanwhile, AAA reports that today’s national average is $4.098 for a gallon of gas, meaning you’ll save between $7 and $8 on a dozen doughnuts. That’s all well and good—I’m certainly not opposed to cheap doughnuts. It is, however, extremely funny that Krispy Kreme has chosen to launch this promotion during a time of historically high gas prices. Try offering the promo when gas prices are back to normal, Krispy! Only then will I be impressed.

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Also, my nearest Krispy Kreme is seven miles away, and gas costs roughly $5 per gallon near The Takeout’s Chicago headquarters. I’m not spending my precious gasoline on a lengthy Krispy Kreme run.

Dunkin’ teams up with Shell

And in this corner, we’ve got an incredibly convoluted promotion from Dunkin’ and Shell. Per a press release sent to The Takeout, Shell Fuel Rewards members can now save 30 cents per gallon after their fifth Dunkin’ beverage purchase between April 12 and May 12. To be eligible, the customer must have linked their DD Perks and Fuel Rewards accounts.

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30 cents per gallon? Five beverage purchases? Linked accounts? I am draping red string across my home office trying to figure this one out. On one hand, I’d love to save 30 cents per gallon to fuel up my sweet, sweet Honda Fit. On the other, are the savings really that meaningful when it takes me five coffee purchases to access the discounted rate?

Krispy Kreme. Dunkin’. Sweetie. Angel. Baby. Look at me. You don’t have to do this. You don’t have to capitalize on this time of extraordinary inflation with a marketing gimmick. You don’t have to force your retail employees to change the price of a dozen doughnuts on a weekly basis. I’ll still buy your coffee—just don’t make me get out my red conspiracy string.

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