I remember the first time I had Krispy Kreme. I was 19, living in Pensacola FL and an Airman in the Navy.
I had just driven by the store with its neon flashing in the window.
“HOT NOW” it screamed at me.
It was probably 2 am and I really had nowhere to be, I was just enjoying the fact that I had a car and freedom and really needed coffee.
When I stepped into the store it had a look of desperation and a 50’s diner styling. White tile was everywhere with grouting that looked dirty from years of mop water.
I sat at one of the bar-stool near some old regular and ordered a coffee. The waitress asked if I wanted a donut since they had just been cooked. “Sure, sounds good” I said, probably not even hearing the question all that well.
When the waitress brought my order it was served on a stoneware plate and had the company logo imprinted on it. The donut was shiny and smelled heavenly.
The coffee in the mug was as black as you could get it. I added the half and half from the creamer dish that was on the table. It cut into the darkness adding its light as it went.
It was so amazing, the donut was light and sweet and fresh off the drying rack. The coffee aroma woke me up instantly. My night had been made.
I was so excited after my caffeine and sugar rush that evening I knew I needed to be a regular customer, sitting on the stool night after night enjoying the cool evenings and fresh donuts.
I never went back.
20 years later they opened up for business in Las Vegas where I currently live. I reminisced about that night and built up an excitement to relive that moment and get my fix.
I drove to the free standing building near a Wal-Mart near Chinatown and was already disheartened about its existence.
This was defiantly not the Krispy Kreme I remembered. No diner styling’s, no old dude on a bar-stool, no bar-stools at all.
What I did see were tons of people that had similar experiences, probably better ones than I had, clamoring around ordering everything in sight.
When I got my order I grabbed the dry, white, glazed donut and gobbled it up.
It was horrible.
So sickly sweet, I thought I would die of a sugar coma. The coffee, served in a paper cup, didn't help cut the amount of sugar I had just eaten.
Immediately I realized what I was trying to buy was those memories, of freedom, and being 19.
I wanted that stoneware plate, on a bar at 2 am, in a strange building surrounded by old homes and trees.
I never went back.