The Not My Boys reside in Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville was in the totality zone of the solar eclipse that passed across the continental United States on Monday. You might have heard a little something about it. It was the most hyped thing since the last snowstorm that didn’t produce. Actually, it was more like Y2K.
Greenville also appeared to be the epicenter of another eclipse, this one crafted by the fine folks at Krispy Kreme Corporate.
You see, “for the first time ever” Krispy Kreme did a “limited release” of a chocolate glazed donut, only available from 6 pm on Saturday, Aug. 19 until 10 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21 “and then they are gone.” I didn’t put those words in quotes because they are not true but rather because they are pure genius. The promotion was not announced until August 9, although you would think it had to be in the works for months since they were changing over the entire production line. But the short notice was marketing perfection.
I first saw it on social media a few days ago and made a mental note to check it out. Saturday morning I called the local store and asked what time they would start serving the special doughnut. The lady said 6 p.m. Fair enough. What I did not anticipate was this was the beginning of me driving to Krispy Kreme three times in a three day period and not buying anything.
The Naive First Time: On Saturday we loaded up the truckster and headed to White Duck Taco. Slammmmmed. Then we went to Willy Taco. Slammmmmed. Then we went to Pita House. Slammmmmed but we stayed anyway. The fact that all of these restaurants were to the gills did not tip me off. In fact after dinner seemed like the perfect time for a treat in the form of a special doughnut so we drove over to 291 and . . . AHHHHHH MY EYES!!! WHAT IS THAT???? Did the eclipse come early? Hardly. No, it was about 50 cars in the Krispy Kreme drive through, backed up to the TD Center. The inside was no better with the entire place filled with people. One guy on Twitter called it a “turn around and leave line” which summed it up perfectly. So we did just that.
The I’ll Be Crafty Second Time: I am not one to be easily discouraged so I planned a return trip on Sunday. Brandt went at 8:45 and said it was packed but I knew the hot light turned off at 11 am. I didn't need em hot anyway so I planned a lunchtime trip when hopefully people would be waiting for the evening hot light. It seemed promising at first - lines were small inside! Only a few cars in the drive through! But as I turned in I saw it. The telltale hastily made white sheet of printer paper taped to the menu board with handwriting in black marker stating they were out of the eclipse doughnut until that evening’s hot light. The Krispy Kreme drive through line was not designed by the marketing department - the design is, in a word, awful - but luckily I was able to reverse out to avoid being trapped.
The Surely Not Third Time: I left work about 15 minutes before the real eclipse was due to start on Monday and thought what the hell. I drove up Laurens and turned on Pleasantburg. It was more of the same, with lines of cars up Tower Drive and bodies stuffed into the small space and spilling outside. As Brandt put it, there are people that will miss the actual eclipse for doughnuts. From what I saw at 1 p.m. on Monday, he ain’t lyin.
I left empty handed. Again. Apparently quite a few of you did the same thing because other than pictures of people wearing goofy glasses the most popular posts on social media were of the huge lines at Krispy Kreme.
The promotion was due to end on Monday night at 10 p.m., and at 8:45 I decided to give it one last try. At 9:06 I pulled out of my driveway and I pulled into the parking lot at 9:14, front row spot and hot light beckoning. This was all too easy and I was sure I would see another handwritten sign. But it was not there and at 9:17, after being in line behind exactly one customer, I gingerly placed my order.
I say gingerly because the cashier had a 1000 yard stare going and she could barely talk. At that moment I think she was the single most overworked person in America. I asked her if there was a purchase limit and in a broken voice she asked how many I wanted. I thought for a second and an extraterrestrial being inside of me blurted out FIVE DOZEN. She looked at me as if to say “Honey would be proud.” She slowly got the five boxes and rang me up. Then I decided I needed a three pack to eat that night. She looked at me as if to say “I don't believe I woulda told that.” There were probably 20 cars in the drive through when I walked out with my sixty dollars’ worth of warm chocolate glaze donuts.
I then did what anybody would do and drove unannounced to Brandt's house at 9:30 at night before school started back the next morning. We opened up the box and there it was, the same doughnut I have seen all of my life but chocolate colored due to it being covered in, you guessed it, chocolate. A regular glazed donut has 11g of fat (17% Daily Value) and 190 calories. The Eclipse doughnut bumps that up to 210 calories and 12g fat. The taste was chocolatey but not overly sweet. The sweetness comes from what has to be tens of thousands of dollars of extra store revenue on a random weekend in August. In addition to all the extra boxes sold, they charged a dollar a box more for them too.
You know those games you watch that are an instant classic? Well that is the way I feel about the Krispy Kreme Eclipse doughnut and marketing case studies. Text books should be reprinted for the fall semester to put it front and center.
Oh, and the solar eclipse was awesome too.