Monday, May 3, 2010
Normally not a person who goes easily into combat. Most times I find I don't need to fight to get my way - there are other, more peaceful methods that seem to work better for me when I want to get things done.
Unless you've overcooked my steak and you have the nerve to serve it to me at a restaurant. Then momma's gonna throw down.
Of all places, though, I thought I'd always be safe from a duel in a donut shop. They seem like such safe places. The air smells sweet, and they're always full of smiling faces.
That was, until Saturday morning.
That's when I learned how to get into not just one, but TWO fights at a donut shop.
1. Show up at OK Country Donuts with a camera. Be very open and visual about the fact that you're snapping photos.
Even in my five short years of working in journalism I've dealt with my share of folks who don't want their photos taken (or their stuff being the subject of photos). But I don't think I've ever been told not to take photos in a restaurant before. Most food people are proud of their work and are excited by the opportunity to break through the noise of competition and tell lots of people about what they can do by way of a photo and a write-up.
The folks at OK Country Donuts, however, don't feel this way.
OK Country Donuts isn't your ordinary donut shop. They have this line of donuts that are tailored to kids and the young-at-heart. OK Country sells donuts in the shape of everything from the letter M (and the other 25 letters of the alphabet, too, by the way, making it fun to spell stuff in the best font ever - donut!) to a flip flop shoe to puppies to palm trees. And they're all expertly and colorfully iced. They're gorgeous.
And, they're delicious. These are the reasons there was a line out the door when we showed up at 10:30 on Saturday morning, a time by which most donut shops are packing it up for the day.
I'd heard so much about this place from all over - Facebook, Twitter and IRL, too. I've been itching to try them for some time now and couldn't wait to snap photos of all those cute and unique deep-fried pastries.
About five shots in, though, an employee approached and notified me that I wasn't to take photos inside the store.
After she explained why not - there were people who had stopped in the store, took photos and tried to replicate OK Country's specialty, according to the employee - and after I told her exactly what I was up to (read: researching for a blog post, not stealing business ideas), she decided it was cool if I took photos after all.
But when I finally made it up to the counter - you know, where the display case sat full of absolutely adorable donuts - the woman who I assume owns the place spoke up: "Stop! No photos!" Her voice was raised, her arms were waving and she stalked off to scold the employee with whom I just spoke in a language I couldn't understand.
And even still, I can't figure this out. I didn't want to press the issue about the photos because I'm not about to try to dictate to people what's going to happen in their places of business, but folks, if you own a business that creates a product that's unique and that's creating a buzz, you're not going to gain much from trying to hide it from people who you're afraid might steal it.
Because you're hiding it from potential customers, too, especially when you're talking about being featured on a blog with a proven goal of getting Tulsans off their duffs to try (and buy) the best of what this city has to offer.
Besides, if anyone tries to steal your idea off a blog post, newspaper write-up or magazine feature, those people are going to look like total dirt bags. You're the original. Own it, baby.
While I didn't get to shoot the display case, I did take a few photos the donut I used my own hard-earned money to purchase:
An elephant! My son's No. 1 favorite animal. His room is decorated in elephants - actually, someone in my family got the idea that I collect elephant stuff, so the things have cropped up all over my house. But we love elephants.
When my son saw he could have a donut shaped like an elephant, he pretty much freaked out.
And bit its foot off.
And suffered somewhat of a sugar rush.
Karma, baby. Karma.
Way No. 2 to start a fight in a donut shop: Be the guy who orders every single last puppy, flip flop, palm tree and piglet donut in the house. In other words, order all the cute donuts in shapes other than the traditional O.
Dude had every right to buy up all the cutesy donuts. I mean, he was next in line. Any of us in that position would have had the same option.
But I just had to have a puppy-shaped donut for my kid, the kid who loves anything and everything puppy.
So, I edged toward the guy, put my sweet voice on and asked if he'd mind leaving just one puppy donut so that I could buy it for my son, who's just over there (of course, I turned and waved - hey, if my kid can work those blond curls, then so can I, especially when a donut is involved).
He refused. He had a slumber party of girls to feed, he said.
So, as an employee notified this guy that even more cute donuts were about to come fresh out of the frier, and as he totally ignored the fact that the display case was full of traditionally shaped donuts and that none of his slumber party guests were around to throw fits in the event they didn't get a puppy-shaped breakfast, I asked again.
He didn't refuse that time. He just pretended not to hear me, staring straight ahead and smiling.
So, I leaned over to the next-nearest employee and stealthily ordered this:
Right out from under ol' Captain Meanie Pants.
At which point he was out a piglet instead of a puppy. Karma, dude.