Another Day at Dunks

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I work at a gas station Dunkin Donuts, A.K.A Hell on Earth. I don’t say this lightly, but I’d rather wait at the RMV for 8 hours than go to work. It’s been an eventful day, so I figured I’d share it.

Immediately upon arrival, I could tell that it’s been a day. The thousand-yard stares from my co-workers told me that I was for a treat today. The store itself looked like it had been bombed, robbed, and abandoned for years, so I spent the first hour and a half making the store look presentable.

My first troublesome customer came in a whopping 45 minutes after I arrived, a new record. He came in lumbering over to my side of the store, incoherently hollering his order for God and the whole store to hear. As he came closer to the counter, I got a whiff of cheap whiskey and Marlboro Reds, the offical scent of assholes. I tried to make small talk with this man while his food cooked, and initially he had no interest, but after he got his food, he became a Chatty Kathy, talking about his asshole boss, his incompetent co-workers, and the Indian guy who owns the gas station across from me. He did not have nice, wholesome things to say about him. Now, the Indian guy, (who normally goes by “Raj”) is usually a gaping prolapsed anus, but in this case, he had a point. The customer was upset about the price of a Gatorade, which is a stupid thing to argue about, and decided to take out his frustration on an unsuspecting Dunkin Donuts employee. After nodding and smiling along as this man ranted and raved, I thank my lucky stars that I’m not as much of a trainwreck as that guy.

After the interesting afternoon, the day started to stagnate, so I turn on some tasty jams ( I’ve been getting into Jack Johnson lately) and begin to prep food for tomorrow. I get about halfway done when one of my regulars came in: a truly delightful nurse who always tips well and calls me “munchkin”. This is a much-needed recharge, as she always makes sure I’ve been drinking water and that I’ve had lunch. I try to hook her up as much as I can, because the world needs more people like her.

My day continued uneventfully until 4pm: which is usually the dinner bell for the crazies. The first one I got is the rarest type of crazy: the nice crazy. She came in, and from the look on her face, she’d either been doing Ecstasy all day, or she was on enough medication that the world seemed like a giant Wes Anderson movie. She came up to the counter, and ordered a small coffee with 18 creams, 6 sugars, and extra ice, which leaves maybe 4 sips of actual coffee. She got her coffee, took a sip, and then proceeded to sing about how she got her coffee.

The next customer that came in is an old woman who didn’t speak English, so now I had to play 20 questions to figure out what she wanted. After about 3 minutes of pointing to items on the menu, I make out one word “Decaf” which narrowed things down a bit. As I tried to figure out how this woman wanted her coffee, another regular showed up. This particular regular is another one of my favorites because he’s always stoned to the gills, to the level where he looks like the stony hippy from Half-Baked. He stood behind this woman with a look of glee on his face, knowing that he is only moments away from enjoying a sugary treat. The longer it takes for this woman to order her coffee, the more this wonderful hippy will begin to question his decision, so I know that I needed to speed the process up. After finally figuring out what this woman wanted, ol’ Smokey came to the counter. With a barely-contained smile, he ordered 3 donuts, and you would’ve thought Jesus Christ himself had made them the way he looked after he got them.

Remember how I said Raj was a gaping anal fissure? Well, here’s some proof; a woman’s car broke down at our store, which is located off a major road, and he wanted her to leave because she didn’t want to buy anything. She came in looking to use a phone, because her’s was dead, and he started yelling for her to leave. As you can probably guess, this woman’s car wasn’t really going anywhere, so Raj called a towtruck and towed her car away, with her yelling and pleading for him to just let her use a phone.

My day winded down with the usual hectic race to close, and looking back, today was better than yesterday, but let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Why Failure is Important

Everybody has failed at something, if you haven’t, you’re probably not good at anything. Failure is incredibly important, but no one wants to fail because it makes them feel like failures themselves. This is why failure is so important: it fuels you to do better.

I fail all the time. Usually, I just pick myself up and move on, but sometimes that failure builds up, and becomes permanent. The more I fail, the angrier I get, and the angrier I get, the more I fail, so I’m trying to just roll with the punches and accept failure as a learning experience. I’ve been trying to get a new job for the last few months, sending out dozens of applications every week, usually to no response. This hurts more than I’d like to admit. It sucks that I’ve put so much work into trying to be better at what I do, only to have nothing to show for it. Maybe it’s for the best, I’ve worked so hard, given up things that I enjoy, prioritized my goals over everything else in my life, just to be kicked in the face. I’m not going to give up, rejection makes me want to work even harder to show that I’ve got what it takes to get where I want.

Failure isn’t fun, it’s not sexy, it doesn’t feel good, but it is one of the most important feelings that we have. If failure felt good, no-one would try to better themselves, no-one would try to change their mindsets, no-one would ever think that they could do better. Every time I write a blog post that no-one views, I get a little bit sad, but that feeling goes away quickly, and I learn from my mistakes and adapt. I see my friends fall down when they start to care too much that they refuse to act, and I get it, some people are so scared of the downsides of life, that they forget the upsides and hide from them. You can change. You can be better than you are right now, but it will cost you.

Failure is educational because it lets us see how our ideas work in real life. If you think that you have a good idea, and you decide to take out a business loan and run with it, you could end up bankrupt. You get to see what worked and what doesn’t work, and that is more valuable than people think. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to make the same mistake twice, so if I identify a problem, I do everything in my power to prevent making it again.

I hope this reaches someone who needs it, too many people let failure run their lives. Picture it this way: working out doesn’t feel good at first, but when you look at your six-pack abs in the mirror, you feel damn good. It’s usually worth it, so what are you waiting for, go out and fuck something up.

How To Sell To Millennials

Ok, first thing’s first: some of you think “millennials” are just people who are younger than you. That’s wrong. Millennials are people who were born between the years of 1981 and 1996, so many of the people who blame millennials for their problems are actually millennials themselves. That being said, you need to learn how to deal with us, and I’ve got some tips.

Focus on Quality

This is a big one, there are so many companies pushing half-made crap on us, that in order to make any distinction between your company and the next, you have to actually be better than them. If you make your product as good as it can be, or you make dealing with your company smooth and uneventful, millennials will remember that, and you will be their first choice every time. If you can somehow make quality goods/ do quality work every time, you will see immediate results. Look at Dunkin, they were known for watery coffee and rude service, but now they have noticed that more millennials go to Starbucks because the coffee is better, and they won’t have to deal with angry customers messing up their day. Dunkin saw this, and realized they needed to do better, so now they are improving the quality of their food & beverages, and focusing on customer service. Be more like Dunkin.

Be Genuine

Millennials are constantly plugged into the internet, a vast majority spend hours a day on it, so when your company eventually does something ill-advised, steer into the skid. If you try and hide behind PR stunts and prepared apologies, millennials will tear you to shreds on social media, blogs, and maybe even real life. We care about genuine apologies, so if you plan on giving one, don’t write it with a lawyer present to save you from litigation, don’t pass it off to an intern, write it yourself. Case in point: BP. That apology is so well known, and such bullshit, that South Park parodied it. Do you want your company to be remembered as “the one with the bad apology no one believed”? I don’t think so.

Embrace Memes, But Don’t Make Them Yourself

Memes are widely-known internet jokes, usually in the form of pictures with text. These images are spread rapidly across the internet, and after a certain amount of time, retired. This is the mistake I see too many brands make: they overestimate the life of a meme and try to milk it past its expiration date. This makes them look out-of-touch, old, and uninformed. Don’t do that. My advice: find memes others have made about your brand and repost them, and give the creators credit. This makes your customers feel connected to your brand, and that you’re conscious of their needs.

Make Them Feel Connected

This is the million-dollar question: how do you make someone feel something? If your customers get something from using your product or service, they will keep using it. For example, if your company donates to a charity they’re passionate about, they will be more likely to support you. Other things you could do are 1) post pictures of things that make you laugh on your social media. This will humanize your company, and will hopefully make customers laugh too, which keeps them coming back. 2) Do your best to reward the loyalty of your customers, make a rewards program for your store or product; that way they keep coming back to get the reward, and feel good that they got something for their loyalty. 3) Make sure to treat your employees properly. If word gets out that your employees love going to work, and they love what they do, not only will more millennials try your product, your quality of life will go up due to high employer morale. Have Employee Appreciation Days where you bring in food and drinks, take some pictures or video, and post it on your social media and blog accounts. If your company is viewed as a fun place to work, and there is video evidence that doesn’t look staged, you will find millennials taking notice.

5 Beers That Will Spice Up Your Fall

Fall is here, and with it come a whole slew of different beers. Personally, Fall doesn’t really feel like it’s here untl the seasonal beers come out. Here are some of my favorites, some of them might be hard to find outside New England.

5. Pabst Blue Ribbon Hard Coffee

I know, I know, PBR is for broke college kids and hipsters, but hear me out. Pabst Hard Coffee is remarkable; Pabst combined a Stout beer with coffee, and made an incredibly drinkable beer that isn’t too heavy, and isn’t too watery. This beer is like aa White Russian had a baby with coffee milk, it’s creamy and indulgent, with notes of dark roast coffee and vanilla. It’s perfect for those crisp fall afternoons when you finish raking up leaves and want to sit back and relax, but you also want a little boost of caffeine to keep your day moving smoothly.

4. Newcastle Brown Ale

This used to be my overall favorite beer, but it’s fallen down from the top. Newcastle Brown was one of the first beers I ever had, and from then until about a year ago we were inseparable. One day however, the taste changed. It’s not a bad beer by any means, but it’s not the dark brown liquid magic that it used to be. Regardless, Newcastle is a nice entryway into the world of brown ales: it’s malty, its crisp, its got notes of caramel that make it incredibly drinkable. This is the only beer on this list that I’m absolutely sure you can find anywhere, so there’s no reason not to give it a try, you won’t regret it.

3. Leinenkugal Harvest Pumpkin Shandy

If you don’t like the whole “pumpkin” thing, skip on to the next one, you won’t like this. For the rest of you, this is the beer for you. Leinenkugal makes a whole range of shandies (half beer, half fruit juice), but the Harvest Pumpkin is the best one. It’s light in alcohol, only 4.2%, but what it lacks in punch, it makes up for in flavor. This beer tastes like an oatmeal cookie was made with pumpkin spice, then brewed into a wheat ale, with an added pinch of nutmeg and allspice. The nose is reminiscent of pumpkin pie, and it pours to a nice hazy amber color. I love this beer so much, it’s one of my overall favorites, and I’m super excited that it’s back, go try one right now.

2. Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest

This is Dad Beer at it’s finest: it’s bold, it’s brash, it’s dark, it’s just what your old man would order. Oktoberfest is one of the few beers from Sam Adams that I still enjoy, so whenever I’m in a heavy beer mood, I try to pick up a 6er and remember why I like it. It’s not the best beer in the world, but it sure as hell isn’t the worst. Oktoberfest has a really pretty golden-brown color to it, with a light white head that goes away in seconds. The caramel flavor is upfront and strong, but theres a slight spicy malt after taste that really makes this beer shine, in fact, it’s my favorite part of the whole experience. Perfect for sitting down and watching football or hockey with your kids/parents, or for sitting by the fire contemplating life.

1. Shipyard Pumpkinhead

Here we are, the signature Fall beer, the one we’ve all been waiting for. Pumpkinheads are universally loved by all my friends and family, even the ones who don’t like beer. For those of you unfortunate enough to have never had it before, Pumpkinheads are wheat ales flavored with real pumpkin spice, making a smooth, drinkable beer that doesn’t overdo the pumpkin flavor. For extra enjoyment, try pouring your Pumpkinhead into a chilled glass and add maple syrup and cinnamon along the rim for the best possible Fall experience.

Coffeeshop Thoughts Vol. 1

It’s been a boring day today, and I’ve had some writer’s block lately, so I figured I’d just do a little brain-dump to pass the time.

Why Are People Dicks?

I’ve never understood what makes someone absolutely lose their shit in public, is it a common occurence for them? Do they have to deal with any consequences? How do they deal with actual problems in their lives? Furthermore, do these people have friends who put up with their shit, or are they alone in the world, and lashing out is how they cope? I know I’m an asshole because I want what I want, how I want it, and I’ll only compromise if there’s no other option. I also use humor as a coping mechanism, so when I poke fun at people, it’s usually because I feel shitty, and casually joking around makes me feel better.

Are the Patriots Going to Win the Super Bowl?

Yes. C’mon, of course they are, that team is more stacked than the entire Victoria’s Secret fashion show combined. I just want to see how many touchdowns Brady throws to the receiver core.

What the Fuck Do I Do Now?

I’ve just gotten my associate’s degree, AKA the GED of college degrees, and when I look at job postings, I don’t see anything that an associate’s degree is used for, making me think I’ve wasted my time, and should go back for my Bachelor’s degree. It took me a super long time to get my associate’s, and I had a 3.2 GPA, so I figure 4 year college can’t be too different. I’m just hoping that I can find something different so I never have to serve old people coffee again.

What Will the Next Stupid Social Media Fad?

I’m thinking it’ll be something regarding the election, something like “Election Day Challenge” or “Show Your Sticker Saturday”, something to get 18 year-olds to the polls. This is an important election, and I’m sure all of the candidates understand how social media can effect the outcome.

The Poisonous Pursuit of Perfection

“Nobody’s perfect” is such bullshit. I know quite a few people who are perfect; perfect jobs, perfect relationships, perfect bodies, perfect lives. The thing I don’t see is how achieving perfection affects them. I’m a perfectionist, I don’t like putting things out that haven’t lived up to my colossal standards, and that holds me back greatly, and I assume it’s the same for those people. My problem is that if something isn’t “perfect”, I’ll pick it apart until it’s completely different from what I started with. Then I start to think “You fucked it up, run it again.” That starts a cycle of edits and self-doubt that lasts until I either get angry and quit, or create something I think is great.

Perfection is such a shit concept. The idea that something can be so good that nothing can change it for the better is such a toxic idea. I’ve had nights where I couldn’t sleep because I had a test a week later, and I knew I could be studying, which lead to me doubting myself, which fucked my head up enough so that when I don’t do as well as I think I should, I think that it’s because I’m not as smart and talented as people think, and not because I didn’t sleep for 2 days before the test.

Long-term perfection is hard. Do you know how often I mess things up? Literally every single day. Those “perfect” people have to be the same way. There have to be Buddhist monks, who have devoted their lives to being self-actualized, who have probably cut someone off in traffic. Elon Musk must have loudly farted in front of potential investors, unless my theory is correct, and he’s an actual cyborg. Those compounding failures form a fog of war that clouds my judgement, making me doubt things that should be no-brainers. The pressure for me to do better is always there, always biting at my heels, always telling me I suck, and it’s pretty fucking annoying.

I think perfectionists are driven by pressure. I certainly am. It’s wild, I’ll procrastinate for days on a writing assignment because I really like writing and want to do well, but I don’t think that my ideas can live up to the expectations I have in my head. This leads me to fart out some half-assed word salad, that actually does well. You’d think that this would make me happy, but usually all I think is “Wow, this person took it easy on me.” Which leads me to think that people are just telling me that I’m smart because they care about me and want me to feel good, and that I’m actually too stupid to see that I’m not talented. I’ve got crazy high expectations for everyone in my life, especially myself, and I get let down when they don’t meet those standards. My brain telling me that I’m terrible keeps me motivated, as bad as that sounds, and I’m sure it’s responsible for a decent amount of good things, but it has absolutely ruined so many others.

I don’t know how to change, I don’t know how to stop being hard on myself, and I’m worried that if I do, I won’t be able to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. If you’ve read my other articles, you know I have ADHD, and I’m sure that it has a part to play in why I am the way I am. I don’t know if I’m really smart, or if people are just too polite to tell me to my face that I’m a moron. If you’ve dealt with the same thing, please comment on what you did, I’m sure that someone else can use the same advice.

Small Town America is Overrated

My town has 6,500 people in it, which is about the same size as your local liberal arts college. The problem with that is that 75% of them are over the age of 40. Small towns suck, that’s why rent out here is 650 for a decent house. Small towns are the worst for people my age: everyone who hasn’t left by now is either super family-oriented, weird as shit and doesn’t leave their house, or people from my high school who still wear their Letterman jackets from 2009 at bars. I’m not any of those people, I don’t like those people.

With nothing to do, and no one to do it with, you start to get a little weird. Case in point: our local police reports. Every week I look forward to getting the local newspaper, just so I can check out what type of stupid bullshit some geriatric thought was unacceptable. For example, last week I saw a report of a suspicious person walking down the street with a backpack. The police responded, and found it was a child walking home from the bus stop after school. This is type of shit that happens when there’s nothing to do, you get bored, and you start snooping on your neighbors because you think they might be havin more fun than you.

Small town America has done as much to contribute to our nation’s drug problem as our drug policies have. When I was a teenager, my friends and I didn’t have a place to hangout and do teenager things, so we’d just drive around until we found somewhere deserted and smoke weed until we thought of something better to do. We usually didn’t. As the years went on, more of my friends started to try new drugs, and when the opioid epidemic hit, small towns like mine were hit especially hard. By sophomore year of high school, people were smoking percocets in the bathrooms during lunch and doing Oxy bumps off of their desks. It’s a lot easier for a kid to get drugs than it is for them to get alcohol, so it’s a lot more common for kids to do drugs in small towns.

Now, if you’re older and married and have your life figured out, I can totally understand why you would move out here; it’s cheap, it’s quiet, it’s pretty, nobody bothers you (for the most part), there’s a lot of open space if you’re into outdoors-y things, and you can begin to build a family there. If you can afford to, live in a medium town, something with more than 10,000 people in it. That way, if you decide to have kids, they have choices and opportunities when they decide to leave the nest and make their own lives.