Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm gonna miss Dunkin Donuts

So Dunkin' Donuts pulled an ad featuring Rachel Ray because someone thought a scarf she was wearing was a kaffiyah, a scarf traditionally worn by Palestinian men, and started an uproar about it. It wasn't, it was just a black and white scarf, but that doesn't matter. On the basis of some right wing idiot's attack, and the potential for loss of revenue, Dunkin' Donuts actually apologized for the ad.

What an excellent, self-serving job Bush and his cronies have done in exacerbating anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice. Yeah, OK, it was Saudi Arabians who blew up the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon but it was white Christians with ties to the militia movement that were responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. Are all Christians bombers? Are all Palestinians terrorists? I'm just so sick of it.

I like Dunkin' Donuts. I used to work at the one in Springfield's X back in the mid-seventies, long before there was such a thing as a drive-thru. We used to make our own donuts in the back of the store and grind our own coffee. I used to challenge myself to provide good service and to remember how the regulars liked their coffee; if I got it right, I'd usually get a tip. (I always did like the challenge of waitressing, even though most of the places I worked were owned by sexist pigs who didn't know their asses from their elbows.)

I suppose I've kept a fondness for Dunkin' Donuts ever since, especially because I've thought of it as a local success story, started in the mid-fifties by a local guy from Worcester, Massachusetts. Somehow in the ensuing 30 years it's become a truly multinational corporation, with nearly 6,000 stores in the U.S. and 2,000 internationally. I just didn't notice.

Two or three days a week, I swing through the Dunkin' Donuts on upper State St. I've gotten used to the proverbial "Hon" from the invisible woman or man who takes my order through the speaker; whenever I can, I leave the change from a dollar as a tip. Most times, I'm impressed with the employees' efficiency and friendliness.

I'm going to miss them. But I won't go back to Dunkin' Donuts until the company undoes its idiocy and apologizes-- not just to the Arab community, but to all of us.

My organization, Arise for Social Justice, talked about this at our board meeting last night (among 20 other things!) Only about half of us had heard about the controversy, and seeing as we're generally a well-informed crew, I'm going to assume that the same is true for the general public. News like this seems to sink fast into the morass of presidential campaign coverage. We're going to pick a day and a store and do some informational leafletting next week.

Act Now to Stop War and Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.) has a letter you can send to Dunkin' Donutes at its website here.


Bill Dusty said...

Well, the Michelle Malkin article that I read didn't actually sound overly hostile - it was more like musing. I'd say she made fun of Rachel Ray more than vilified her. (see: http://michellemalkin.com/2008/05/23/of-donuts-and-dumb-celebrities/ ) And Michelle, like you, is a fan of Dunkin' Donuts. I found it interesting, too, that DD's is apparently a fairly nationalist, pro-immigration enforcement company (according to the Malkin article).

And sheesh, Michaelann, I honestly don't think you can lump Bush in with the movement to demonize Muslims. He is, after all, famous (or imfamous, depending on your politics) for preaching "Islam is a religion of peace" - much to the ire of the conservative establishment. And he's been more than supportive of the immigration reform movement's desire to protect "guest workers" - again pissing off conservatives.

Tony said...

I'll take a medium hot coffee, cream only, hold the politics.

Anonymous said...

Not certain that I understand the connection between DD's silly apology and the need for a boycott. The apology shows a lack of any spine, but it is hardly worth getting worked up about. There was no injustice here unless you consider the lost money that DD spent on producing an ad, pulling the ad, and releasing an apology. Seems like they are also a victim in this game. There are probably plenty of good reasons for boycotting DD, but this one is silly at best.