I recently stole over 200 hundred donuts from a shop near my home, and, like any criminal looking to exploit their crime story, I am going to share the experience with you.
The day of my Oceans 11-style caper started off business as usual: I unwillingly rolled out of bed, showered and dressed for the day, made my coffee, and headed out the door. My coworker, Rahul, was having an event on campus that evening, so I had volunteered to pick up 3,500 donuts before coming into work.
I arrived at the shop and was immediately surprised to see how packed it was. I was in a rush and wanted to jump to the front of the line to claim my large order, but instead, I obediently joined the procession. While I waited in the painfully slow line, I noticed that there was an intriguing mix of people at a donut store at 7:00 a.m. on a Tuesday. There were elderly people with half-eaten donuts nursing cups of coffee while sharing the latest gossip, greasy teenagers who looked like they were soaking up a weekday hangover with carbs, and men in business suits who were purchasing processed sugar, the Midwest’s version of crack cocaine.
After standing in line for quite some time, an apathetic young adult called me up to the counter and asked what I wanted. I cheerily told him that I was picking up the large order for my university, handed him my credit card, and patiently waited for him to ring me up. Once he had returned my credit card, he motioned to the vast assortment of boxes on the counter in front of me and mumbled something about them being mine before walking away to serve the next customer.
I was a little surprised that he didn’t offer to help me carry the 3,500 donuts out to my car, but I figured that there was no use being frustrated about it and began making the many trips to the vehicle with stacks of donut boxes.
By the time I came inside to get the last stack, I was sweating and no longer feeling the rosy morning glow that I had experienced when I first entered the dilapidated, confectionary-filled building. But I did my best to push the creeping feelings of negativity aside with the thought that I had only one stack of boxes remaining before I could rest in my car.
By now, most of the morning rush customers had left, so roughly six employees stood behind the counter watching me lug my final stack out of the store. I wondered if they would thank me for placing such a large order or ask if I had everything, but they didn’t. Instead, they watched me leave with the dead eyes of those who work all night at a 24-hour donut shop in western Ohio. I got into my car feeling pretty proud of myself for making so many trips between it and the store and, after taking many deep breaths and turning on some peppy music, set off for the college campus.
Once I arrived at the office, I was greeted by a jumble of morning meetings that took my mind away from the treasure trove of donuts in the car. But don’t worry, they would soon haunt me like the crimes of a prisoner on death row.
Rahul and I wrapped up our final meetings and drove over to the event space to unload the vehicle with the students who were assisting us. And once we got to the space, we discovered just how heinous my crime had been.
Abby, one of the student assistants, came up to me and asked why I had boxes with names such as Susan, Chester, and Merv on them. Horrified, I said that she must be mistaken, but she opened up box after box to reveal an assortment of donuts that we had not ordered.
I stared at the colorful loot for a few moments before it dawned on me: I had stolen hundreds of donuts from the store this morning. Would they prosecute me? Would my picture be placed in every donut shop in the tri-state area to bar me from ever ordering again? I felt terrible for my unintentional crime and immediately called the donut shop to try to sort this out. The conversation went something like this:
Furious Donut Shop Lady (FDSL): Hello?
Me: Um…hi! I’m calling about an order that I picked up this morning. I think that I may have taken a few extra boxes of donuts. Haha.
FDSL: *angrily* Oh YOU’RE the one who took all of those boxes. We’ve had a headache all morning with people coming in to get orders that aren’t there.
Me: Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! Well, it must have happened when that one guy rung me up this morning. He just motioned to the counter full of boxes, and me being someone who unwittingly trusts authority must have…um…just taken all of them.
Me: *recognizing that she clearly didn’t appreciate my perspective on how everything happened* Well, I could always bring them back if that would make things easier.
FDSL: You can’t do that. They’re contaminated now.
Me: *taken aback by the dramatic response but still trying to save face between the donut shop and the university* Alright, well I do apologize for the mix-up and will be sure to not let it happen again. Um…have a nice day!
In the end, I made the day of those in various campus departments as I carted the stolen pastries from building to building. And, as I reflect on this experience, I am left with one valuable lesson: never trust the vague gesturing of a bored high schooler who works at a donut shop.