By: Wayne Brown
As some of you know, I am from time to time inspired to write of my experiences on my morning coffee trips to the local 7-Eleven store near my office. Today was no exception as one of my favorite clerks was working the register. I like her because she laughs easily at my humor and urges me on a bit…kind of like open-mike night at the local comedy club, you know.
I grabbed my normal “large” coffee and snapped on the cover which really conceals the fact that I use two cups. I do not do this due to a fetish of any kind…you know, like stealing or shoplifting, I simply believe that the coffee stays warmer longer if the cup thickness is increased so I create that little scenario for myself as part of my “coffee ritual” each day. Being a loyal customer, I probably deserve it don’t you think?
From the coffee bar I proceeded toward the checkout counter the path to which passes directly by the doughnut display. You know that it is a fact that everything has a center…even the universe. Well, the center of the 7-Eleven is the doughnut display and the rest of the store just seems to rotate around it…at least that is true in my world perspective of it all. So, tempted by the presence of the doughnut display, I reach in and grab one, in fact, I grab two because I notice that the long-running promotional program is still going on featuring two glazed doughnuts for one little dollar. Today, I am working the program!
This promotion started back in the fall with 7-Eleven and continues apparently into oblivion. The promotion offers “two glazed doughnuts for $1 dollar”. The catch is simple, if you don’t want two doughnuts…say you want only one glazed doughnut, the price is still $1 dollar. The promotion only includes “glazed” doughnuts leaving the others with chocolate or sprinkles to sell at normal pricing. Obviously there is some kind of strategy going on behind the scene but for the life of me I cannot figure it out. Thus, I tend to make jokes about it with the help as often as I can.
Today, I stepped to the counter with my coffee and my two “promotional glazed doughnuts” and waited for the clerk to ring me up. While she was going about the task, I remarked that there certainly seemed to be an abundance of “glazed doughnuts” in the universe and raised the question as to whether last year’s crop had been one for the record books. She laughed and agreed. I then stated that the abundance of inventory had significantly driven the price of the item down in lots of two at least. This led me to begin speculating as to how the “futures market” for downstream sales of “glazed doughnuts” might be affected by such a bountiful crop. Soon, other customers joined in and began speculating whether the abundance of or the lack of rainfall had contributed to the glazed doughnut abundance. We had a good time with it.
As I got into the truck and started out of the parking lot, I began to wonder how the “chocolate-covered doughnut” must feel with all this emphasis and promotion on the clear-glazed variety. The little chocolate doughnut is priced normally and it just lays there aging by the hour wondering if it will ever get bought. Do you suppose there was a crop shortage in terms of “chocolate doughnuts” this past year or is there just so much more overhead incurred in the production of these little chocolate delights? I know that I sure think about it a bunch and wonder if it will ever be possible for 7-Eleven to promote the little chocolate doughnut in the same manner as the clear-glazed one.
Then my mind wondered right back to the glazed doughnut promotion and I tried to unravel the mystery of it. Clearly there is a level of genius involved here and it was probably developed by one of 7-Eleven’s former multi-lingual counter-persons (now turned marketing guru in the headquarters shop). Think about it…two glazed doughnuts for $1 dollar. It sounds like a dang good deal and probably is though I really don’t monitor the fluctuations in price of doughnuts of any kind in the marketplace. Still…two for only $1 dollar…people cannot resist it in terms of the temptation. “No honey, I would not have eaten the doughnuts but they were priced at two for only $1 dollar. I couldn’t pass up a deal like that!” Can’t you just hear the rationale?
Still, there are those folks frequenting the 7-Eleven who will look at the promotion on glazed doughnuts and go, “Man! That’s a good deal but that’s just too many doughnuts for my appetite level". Based on that opinion and the strong draw of the promotion, they will avoid the “two doughnuts” and opt for one at the regular price of one dollar….leaving that free doughnut in the case to be sold to some other suckers. All the while, the little chocolate doughnut is just patiently waiting to be bought or promoted whichever comes first.
Of course, if 7-Eleven is selling clear-glazed doughnuts out the wazoo with this promotion then production and downstream demand could just be in frenzy. Traders on the futures selling floors are hawking them doughnuts and bragging to each other as to how glazed doughnuts are now outselling both soybeans and feeder cattle. If that is a realistic scenario, then I think we can expect to see some folks on that Wealth Network who have come by their assets in such a manner. “Tell us Fred…how did you acquire the wealth to such a level that you can afford this big ‘ol custom-made yacht…was it soybeans? “Heck no!” Fred replies, “I made my money in glazed doughnuts!”
Now that I have had time to think on it and consider the alternatives…for example, that lonely little chocolate doughnut still lying in the case, I think it might be time on make my move on the glazed doughnut futures business. Of course, 7-Eleven will have to hold true on their promotional strategy and keep pumping out these glazed doughnuts hell-bent-for leather or I could otherwise end up literally holding the bag filled with a lot of worthless glazed doughnuts if you see what I mean. These investment things are complex.
Maybe I’ll hold off for just one more day and check once more on the inventory levels on the chocolate doughnuts at the store. If you are in there, look real close and you can see where I made a mark with my finger in the chocolate of each one on display…that way I’ll know if they are still there tomorrow or have been sold…pretty good idea don’t ya think? You got to keep your edge in this doughnut business or you’ll be eatin’ ‘em for lunch.
Now, a lot of folks will just laugh at all this and remark, “Why, you damn fool, you’ll write about anything just to get some attention!” That might be true but I am as serious and sincere as a funeral director’s handshake about this doughnut thing. It may seem silly to you at first but once you dig into it and realize the complexity surrounding the production and high volume movement of glazed doughnuts, you’ll be wantin’ in on the deal…trust me!
One thing about all of this totally puzzles me…it is the part that I just cannot put together…if two glazed doughnuts for one dollar is such a good deal, why aren’t all the cops down at the 7-Eleven right now? That’s the part about this investing in doughnut futures that makes me a little queasy and thinking that maybe I am misreading the market. Maybe, just maybe, I need to keep my butt out of 7-Eleven!
©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.
5 Jan 2012