It has become impossible to ignore in recent years — the ever-present specter of the Dunkin’ Donuts cup. From loveable himbos facing the daily dread of existence, to people exercising their civic duty, to a duck who loves to drink water, to Muslims surveilled by the NYPD, to Charli D’Amelio and regrettably a former governor and sexpest trying to rehabilitate his image. The Dunkin’ cup has become an ubiquitous symbol of American life, like dying of a preventable illness, guns and explosive gender reveal parties. Indeed, the Dunkin’ corporation recognized this a few years ago when they proclaimed proudly “America runs on Dunkin’.” This all begs the question, if America runs on Dunkin’, should America not own Dunkin’?
We are living during a time during which bold ideas on what the federal government should do are being proposed. The New York Times is running a series called “Snap Out of It, America! ”, The Atlantic similarly is running a series on who we are as a country called “America In Person.” People are talking about cancelling all sorts of debt, about reviving the Federal Writers and Theater Projects, about building all sorts of new green infrastructure. In the spirit of proposing bold ideas, it’s time to consider nationalizing Dunkin’ Donuts as a federal corporation.
First of all, there are so many Dunkin’ Donuts on the east coast it might as well be a federal agency (nationwide there are about 8,500). No one corporation should have that much power. Like workers seized a McDonald’s in southern France, these locations should be seized by the federal government for the use of the people. Dunkin’, is indeed, the drink of the working people — data shows that Dunkin’ customers make an average of nearly $10,000 less than Starbucks customers ($72,413 vs $63,825). However, Starbucks has nearly doubled the locations nationwide and is located in all 50 states, while Dunkin’ closed 800 stores in 2020. This means workers across the country are forced to wait in Starbucks drive-thru lines with people like conservative influencer Christian Walker as he makes videos about needing a strong, manly man to invade Iraq with — only to overpay for coffee. Much like the Tennessee Valley Authority brought power to Tennessee Valley, nationalizing Dunkin’ will bring cheap iced coffee to residents from coast to coast.
While a cup of coffee from Dunkin’, ranging between $2 for a small regular coffee and $2.59 for an extra large, is the defacto drink of the people, their corporate leadership is the enemy of the working class. The bigwigs who run the company have bragged that they helped stop a minimum wage increase; it’s not them who have to break up a drunk fight in the lobby after a Red Sox game ends. It’s not them who have to fill an order for 500 Munchkins for meetings for a frazzled intern at a law firm who forgot to secure catering for a meeting. Dunkin’ has been quite open about its contempt for its workers historically. In the 1980s, they bragged about how much they oppressed their workers by introducing a character named Fred The Baker.
Fred would get up before the sun rose and would return late at night, repeating the words “time to make the donuts.” In one commercial, Fred is contemplating sleeping in at the encouragement of the devil on his shoulder, who tells him “Don’t be a chump! Get a good night’s sleep for once!” Unfortunately, Fred listens to the “angel” on his shoulder who tells him customers are waiting for him to bake the donuts.
The need for federal intervention is only more serious now that Arby’s (via parent company Inspire Brands) has taken over Dunkin’ Donuts. While thousands of Americans frequent Dunkin’, who visits Arby’s other than maybe the people who stormed the capitol. While Dunkin’ once promoted meatless breakfast sandwiches (now gone in 2021), Arby’s promoted its ecocidal agenda by selling a carrot made of meat. Dunkin’ represents the future of America, Arby’s represents its regressive past.
On Twitter, leftists often like to debate about how to achieve democratic socialism in the U.S.; do we follow the Cuban model or the model set by Scandinavian countries? Both are wrong, we should follow the American model by initiating the state takeover of beloved brands, starting with Dunkin’. A federally run Dunkin’ Donuts would bring people together by allowing everyone to experience Christian girl autumn together — through cheap subsidized pumpkin spice lattes. It would deradicalize future Mark Wahlbergs and allow people to interact with their government in a positive way. Come in for a cheap coffee, leave having been enrolled for Medicare. This is how we sell the Green New Deal — not through lobbying and legislation, but through the state takeover of a fast-food chain.
Nearly 100 years ago, President Herbert Hoover made a promise that he failed to deliver on: the promise of a chicken for every pot. President Joe Biden can avoid the same fate, by delivering coffee, Dunkin’ coffee, for every pot.
Abdullah Shihipar is a writer and researcher.