I miss donuts. I’m a french cruller type of guy. I know, maybe not the most popular, all eggy and hollow and french. But, what can I say? Nothing quite gets me like a fresh french cruller. There’s something about the braided dough, the shiny gloss of the glaze, the chewiness of the eggy flesh. My mouth’s already watering.

But I don’t miss donuts because I can’t have them. I’m sure that I could. There are thousands of hole-in-the wall shops littering Southern California.

But I don’t go to donut places anymore. I don’t buy donuts because to me, donuts are all about business. The last time I ate a donut, I was in a business meeting. The last time I bought donuts, I brought them to a business meeting. I used to run entire outreach campaigns focused around donuts. 

“Hey Larry, I’m going to be in town Thursday around 11am, wondering if I could stop by the office and drop off some donuts?” 

And guess what, those campaigns were significantly more successful than my other campaigns, you know why? 

Donuts. Everyone loves donuts. They’re crispy and sweet and soft and delicious and extremely hard to resist. Ever sit in front of a box of donuts for an hour and not eat one? Not even a piece? Unless you’re hypoglycemic or a zen master of self control, you ate, at the very least, a little bit of donut. 

Donut deny it. 

They’re bad, everyone knows that, you’re not gonna find any donut diet plans, they’re not quite keto, but they can be beneficial to you. It’s all about leveraging the donut. 

Donuts make people happy, they’re nostalgic, they’re fun, they are associated with good times, great memories, hot coffee, reading the paper on the weekend. Donuts bring people together. And that’s what you bring to the table when you show up with a dozen. Donuts are “so bad” and so good. “You really shouldn’t have!” the customer says while they wipe the crumbs from their face, but they may as well be signing the check. Donuts are the bagel’s carefree cousin. No cream cheese, no problem. 

In the current COVID-19 environment, one in which drop-ins are a no go, the donut side of business has taken a big hit. Nothing gets you in the door these days, not even donuts (not that I’m currently trying). So for me, donuts have begun to become something more. Now, when I think of donuts, they represent human interaction, the social side of business, the commonality of us all, the fact that despite our differences we are all people, and we all like donuts. 

These days, I don’t get to sit in front of new customers and commiserate about what these donuts are going to do to our respective love handles, or how I really ought to try the old fashioned, or if I’ve ever been to the shop around the corner because they have the best apple fritters. What a way to make a connection! What a way to close a deal!

So, this is all to say: donuts, my dear doughy friends, my glazed co-conspirators, my coffee companions, I miss you desperately. One day, when all this is behind us, we will meet again and when we do, it will be so so sweet.

-Neal

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