Pumpkin donuts with icing and sprinkles
Photo by Shayna Douglas (unsplash.com)

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

Fall has fallen. With it, so have my expectations. I do not ask for much, but even that has been refused. Case in point: Franz pumpkin spice donuts. These delectable rings of flavor are considered a seasonal item. Why are they seasonal? Therein lies the rub.

I did my duty as any husband would do, scouring Fred Meyer, Win-Co, and even Costco. So popular were these Franz donuts that I couldn’t find them in stores toward the end of October, when they should have still been in stock.

Donuts, you should know, are one of my favorite food groups. I would put them at the top of my pyramid or at the far end of the ultraviolet spectrum. My wife Erica actually contacted Franz and inquired as to why they had stopped stocking this variety. She wanted to surprise me for the holidays. Predictably, the customer service representative told her that the item was seasonal. Thanks, we knew that. What they couldn’t answer was the most important question: why?

It’s not as if these donuts contain ingredients that are difficult to source. I’m almost certain that they don’t contain a lick of real pumpkin. Partially hydrogenated soybean oil is available year-round, right? Allspice, nutmeg—these are the key spices needed to achieve that familiar flavor. So why the artificial scarcity? And why, pray tell, only for the month of October? Doesn’t November deserve some love? Pumpkin pie is as Thanksgiving as you can get. Fall is more than a single month, folks.

Let’s consider two other popular holiday items: the McDonald’s McRib sandwich, and the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. These typically release at the same time each year for a limited time. In Washington State, the change between seasons is obvious. The leaves wither, the rains fall, and the waters rise. Perhaps limiting these items is an attempt to blend them into the fabric of time’s passage, much as a child longs for summer break.

The psychology is definitely intriguing. But, at the end of the day, we’re still talking about flavors. Making mint chewing gum a seasonal item would be just a senseless. The ingredients are readily available, and consumer interest never wanes. Why then take a product off the market that clearly sells well?

For folks living in warmer climates, the seasonal idea is even more ridiculous. Few people in California expect a white Christmas. So then why should they expect pumpkin spiced lattes in October when the sun is no less lovely? Ludicrous, I say! Give us the donuts. Give them now! I will pay handsomely for them.

Out of curiosity, I searched for “Franz pumpkin spice donuts” on eBay. Would you believe that someone is selling them? Well, they were selling them for upwards of thirty dollars—they’re all sold out at present. It’s just my luck to develop a sweet-tooth for something not readily attainable.

Does Baskin-Robbins stop selling ice cream when summer ends? No! So why should Franz stop selling their pumpkin spice donuts after one month? They sell blueberry donuts year-round, but blueberries in Washington have a season. So do apples, lemons, even raspberries. Yet these flavors are conveniently available. I stand here figuratively waving my wallet, ready to part with my hard-earned cash. Why won’t they take my money?

Madness is the only explanation. Likely, they have tasted their own goods and decided not to share them with the rest of us. They are stockpiling donuts like toilet paper in early 2020. Well, this is me calling them out. Bring back the donuts! I’m a customer. I’m supposed to be right even when I’m wrong, correct?


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