Once upon a time there was a wonderful, magical place to be found proximate to the downtown section of Pensacola, Florida. At this magic place you could buy golden rings of sheer delight as well as small fluffy mountains filled with the creamy stuff that dreams
are made of. Everyone in Pensacola had made at least one hajj pilgrimage to this Mecca of sugary evanescence. On the exterior was a glowing beacon that acted as a siren’s call that would deliver travelers much as Odysseus’ crew were called by the singing of ancient seductresses; the difference being that these sirens were not harbingers of evil, except in the long term hypertension form of the word. Upon arrival at certain periods of the day, people would be met by lines of other Pensacolians. This wonderful, magical place was known as the Krispy Kreme and it was as much a landmark of this port town as the ice cream palace in which a gigantic Milk Bottle formed the entrance had been. That Milk Bottle drive-in at the Pensacola Dairy Company was torn down decades ago and a few years ago the original Krispy Kreme store joined it.
Unlike the Milk Bottle drive-in at the Pensacola Dairy Company, however, the Krispy Kreme was rebuilt. All the accoutrement that contained about a billion different memories in them by the time the building was torn down were sold off to the highest bidder; the spinning barstools, the flashing neon Hot Donuts Now sign, and the rest. In its place was constructed a newer building that, of course, contains none of the elegant simplicity of the older building. But it is what has changed on the inside that is the really bad news.
One of the reasons that residents of Pensacola would make two or three visits to the old Krispy Kreme was that the service was extraordinary. You were treated like an old friend even on your first visit. Customer service was what really made Pensacola’s Krispy Kreme such a vital part of the community. Nowadays, however, you rarely see lines outside the Krispy Kreme and it is not because the building is larger. Customer service at the new Pensacola Krispy Kreme is practically non-existent. After about the third time through the drive-thru in which I did not get what I asked for (I felt like I was back at Wendy’s drive-thru for the first time in over a decade) I have come to realize once and all for the Krispy Kreme I grew up with in Pensacola is just as dead as the Milk Bottle drive-in at the Pensacola Dairy Company. The building may still be there, but it might as well be any other branded drive-thru restaurant.
Where the original Krispy Kreme in Pensacola was staffed with people who had been with the company for decades, the workers inside the new Krispy Kreme all look like college workers just waiting to graduate and get a real job. If you are a former resident of Pensacola and one of your rare fond memories of this anus of the world was a trek up to the Krispy Kreme, then there really is no reason for you ever return to God’s least favorite part of the world. The Krispy Kreme you remember is dead.
Long Live Dunkin’ Donuts. (If only Pensacola’s only Dunkin Donuts hadn’t gone out of business fifteen years ago.)