Stolen from Dunkin' Donuts, Novi, Michigan
No, that’s not a joke! It really is a stolen mug. I’m the one who stole it. The Statute of Limitations for petty theft in Michigan is 6 years. So I’m safe admitting it on my blog. I stole the mug in 1986 while I was employed by the Dunkin Donuts in Novi, Michigan. I’m not confessing. Well, I guess I actually just did confess, but that’s not the point. I’ve had employees steal things like this form before and I’d have stolen this mug for a customer had they asked too.
At the time we had a friend who went by “Denny” and often had dinner at Denny’s, his restaurant. (Wink, wink) We had schemed to steal just one place setting of the Denny’s logo flatware. Never did quite do that. We inquired about how much it would cost to buy a place setting for Denny, but were told they couldn’t sell it. Our waitress wrapped a setting in a napkin and presented it to him with an apology for “stealing his silverware” and “returned it to him." Because the reusable and breakable items are replaced often, restaurants usually had a certain amount that was expected to be lost and its good advertising if someone is using your logo at home
The sensible precedent had been set. As counter staff, I’d have given a cup to a customer who asked to buy one. It really was good advertising. We didn’t get requests much because my coworker and I worked the midnight shift and there were usually on-duty cops from the Michigan State Police precinct in Northville and the Novi officers. It would still have been okay, like I said, good advertising! Now almost any restaurant had items for sale with their logo. People will pay Dunkin Donuts to advertise for them now!
This was not a cup for sale when I was 19 and worked midnights. It was one of the cups we used to serve counter and booth customers. My Dunkin has changed there. If you go to the same D&D today, which is under new owners since I worked there, it’s been completely remodeled, is half Baskin Robbins ice cream and sells Dunkin Donuts coffee in “to go” cups for everyone. There are tables instead of a counter now and you’re welcome to have your coffee, donuts, sandwiches or ice cream there, but food and drink is served in nothing breakable or reusable n0owl.
Ah the old days at Dunkin. That Novi Dunkin Donuts is where Mom and I went for coffee after she took me to the mall to practice driving after hours. It’s also where I may John, who worked counters on the midnight shift. John was the first of my three best friends I met when I was only 15. He was 22 and he, Mom and I got to know each other well chatting after my lessons. John became a big brother to me and was one of my very best friends until he passed away in 2009. His sister asked me to be the first one to speak at his funeral to say something about our friendship and get the room warmed up a bit so others would feel comfortable. I could have talked a long time about what a great friend he was, but I only spoke a couple minutes until I couldn’t hold back the tears. How do you say goodbye to your oldest friend? After the luncheon, a group of us went to Dunkin Donuts in Novi to offer a coffee toast in his honor.
Scotty was with us that night we toasted John. I met Scotty there a couple years after I’d met John. Scotty became one of our group, the Zoo as my Mom called us. I was 17, he was 21. My closest friend in high school i0ntroduced us. She’d met Scott at the arcade where we all went on summer evenings. Scotty was and still is a rugged country boy with a sometimes intimidating exterior and the ultimate gentleman with a heart of gold. I think that’s one of the most endearing things about him when we met. Our misfit bunch was all not quite what we seemed.
Through Scotty, I met Kelly, a friend of his girlfriend at the time, in early 1988. Kelly just fit in with our group so well. She was recovering from a terrible accident, all scarred and stitched up, yet able to smile and she just blended in so well. I felt a connection with her. I admired her for meeting a group of strangers, her friend’s boyfriend’s friends, hobbling in with crutches and battle scars. She was beaten on the outside and warm and whole on the inside, a shell that was an illusion, like the rest of us. She and I became quick friends and to this day, I consider her my platonic soul mate.
I met my three best friends at that same Dunkin Donuts and we all drank from those very same cups like the one I brought home. Do I feel guilt in taking it so many years ago? Nah. Look at all the warm and fuzzy promoting it still does for Dunkin’!