Remember when Coors was special?
First, a warning and disclaimer.Warning: This column contains a confession that I smoked marijuana in college. I make no excuses. Let’s just classify it as (in the words of President George W. Bush) “a youthful indiscretion.”Disclaimer: By mentioning my use of marijuana, I in no way intend to imply that “smoking dope” is “cool.” Nor do I recommend that anyone follow in my wobbly footsteps. In fact, every time you see the word “marijuana” (or any synonyms) I urge you to mentally add the word “evil” right before it. Which brings us to the subject of Krispy Kreme donuts.Everybody knows about Krispy Kreme donuts. They were a fad, a wild food frenzy. New stores were being mobbed the day they opened, lines around the block, people camping out overnight to get the first batch of hot donuts on opening day.But now it seems to have fallen apart. The company’s two top executives have resigned and shares of stock that once went for $50 are selling for about nine bucks.What happened?Well, that question takes us back to my college days. (See warning and disclaimer above.)Late one night, a bunch of us were sitting around the dorm, stoned and hungry. A friend came running into the room – giggling – with a loaf of hot, fresh-baked bread.We tore the bread apart, almost burning our hands in our eagerness, and devoured it. Even discounting the effects of the marijuana, it was magnificent.Then our friend revealed his secret: It was Wonder Bread, standard, oh-so-ordinary commercial white bread, which we normally would have scorned. Even stoned.But our friend had discovered a Wonder Bread bakery – a factory, really – just a few blocks from the dorm. And, at about 2 in the morning, if you pounded on the back door, one of the guys from the factory would sell you a loaf for a dollar – unsliced, right out of the oven, so hot you could barely hold it.It became a late-night habit. We’d prepare carefully: get stoned, find a stick of butter, scrape up a couple of bucks and send someone out for the bread. It was extraordinary, every time.And then, one night, an over-eager friend ran out and got the bread – without waiting for everyone to get stoned first.So we set the steaming-hot loaf aside, rolled a joint, smoked it. Rolled another, smoked it. And then, properly prepared, we lunged at the bread.But by now, it was cold. And it was … Wonder Bread. Plain old Wonder Bread.We ate a few mouthfuls, threw the rest in the trash, and never went back to the bakery again.And that’s what happened to Krispy Kreme.It got cold.The whole Krispy Kreme frenzy was based on people watching the donuts fry – right there in the store – and then gobbling them down, fresh out of the hot fat.In fact, when people used to bring boxes of Krispy Kremes back from Denver, I could never figure out what the big deal was. They’d open the box – ta-da! – and there were these … donuts. Plain old glazed donuts.And Krispy Kreme, in its eagerness to expand, had moved beyond the limits of its several hundred “watch ’em fry” stores and started shipping donuts off by the truckload to supermarkets all over the country.And people began buying day-old Krispy Kremes and realizing they were just … donuts.And that was the end of the mystical frenzy.Just like our Wonder Bread experience.So … is there a lesson here for Aspen?Strike while the donut’s hot? Nah.Know what it is that makes you special and don’t destroy it by making bad choices – or by taking time to roll up another doobie?Well, maybe. Um … particularly the first part.Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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