Thursday, August 11, 2005

Time To Make the Donuts

Donuts and I go back a long way. A looooooong way. As a freshly minted high school grad of barely 17, I took a job in a donut shop. My intention was to party, er, work for a year, and start the path of higher education. This was the plan I discussed with my Mother. This was not the plan I executed with my friends, all of whom felt it was idiotic to live in a state where the drinking age was 18 and not exercise that right. After my year was up, my Mother, being a woman of considerable stones, poured me into the University to dry out.

That was one hell of a year.

Donuts require a degree of time management ability. One must get up and not fall into the hot fat fryer, if you expect donuts by 5:30 a.m. I solved this problem by never going to bed. I must have worked for a truly clueless man, because I held that job, drunker than three hundred dollars, for over a year. I made a lifelong friend to boot. (Hi, Bets!) I can assure you, two loaded chicks can have a pretty good time playing with colored sprinkles at 4:30 in the morning.

Good times.

Moving south forced the introduction of many new things. I gave up Indy Racing, one of several sports I watched with my Dad, and started watching NASCAR. I developed a taste for boiled peanuts. I can bait a hook with a shrimp. I also ate my first Krispy Kreme donut.

For the Yankees, the Canucks, the West Coasters and my Mid-Western buds, Krispy Kreme is a venerable southern institution. The donuts ain't bad either.

In April of 2000, Krispy Kreme went public, and became stock market darlings with a ninefold increase over their IPO. That, folks, is a lot of sprinkles. (Trust me when I say that comments were made about the superiority of these southern gems. Blah, blah, blah, fry-cakes. It's easy to emote over a winner. I was a Green Bay Packer fan in the 80's. The only person on the entire team who could score was Chris Jacke, the kicker. When you still feel the love despite the fact your team completely sucks, we'll talk.)

Donuts, apparently, weren't the only thing being cooked at Krispy Kreme. The SEC opened an investigation and the stock dropped by 66%. Ouch.

“The Krispy Kreme story is one of a newly public company, experiencing rapid growth, that failed to meet its accounting and financial reporting obligations to its shareholders and the public,” according to the report. “While some may see the accounting errors discussed in our summary as relatively small in magnitude, they were critical in a corporate culture driven by a narrowly focused goal of exceeding projected earnings by a penny (per share) each quarter.” -- AP
You see, when an image is represented to the public by a company, the facts need to be there to back it up. If the facts are manufactured, eventually the tissue of lies collapses. The money, the profitability, the reason for the myriad of decisions made to drive the company forward, all rest on the accountability of the decision makers. If the image was a false one, the pyramid of employees, investors, vendors and customers all stand to be hurt.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Krispy Kreme, including one that alleges workers lost millions of dollars in retirement savings because executives at the company hid evidence of declining sales and profits. -- AP

Not every stumble portends disaster. In the Krispy Kreme case, the oversight structure (in the form of the SEC) caught the shenanigans in time. The Krispy Kreme board convened a special committee to determine the what, where, when and how's of the deceit. This effort at self-policing pulled no punches.

"The number, nature and timing of the accounting errors strongly suggest that they resulted from an intent to manage earnings," said a report by a special committee of the Krispy Kreme board released yesterday. -- Newsday

Krispy Kreme is on the mend. Livengood, the CEO believed to have orchestrated the false earnings, is out. New blood, with experience in salvaging companies like Boston Chicken and Krispy Kreme, now hold the reins. The flushing of the sprinkles is stayed for now. I think there's still a few donuts left to be made.

There are many good corporate citizens in this country. There are a few who behave better simply because there are avenues of prosecution against them if they don't. There are a very few who feel their size insulates them from the rules. Hmmm... kinda like our government.

When we allowed the Bush administration to shape our viewpoint of America, post 9/11, we began seeing a limited view on the direction of our country. We accepted excessive spending based on their say so. We permitted shoddy accounting to go unreported. We declined to demand accountability for decisions.

The tissue of lies is starting to crumple.

There is no board of directors for America, but there are some 200,000,000 tax-payer stock-holders. This deficit belongs to all of us. We can't stick our heads in the sand, let our ELECTED officials scare us with terrorism while our rights and financial sovereignty are undermined, and quit being Americans.

Apathy is the shame of America.

We built, in 230 years, an astonishing country. WE built. American arms, legs, backs, and minds, powered by hope, drive, passion, and belief. I want it back. I want my honor back. I want to wear my freedom on my chest like the badge of honor it used to be.

Builders, not bullies. Growth, not debt. Debate, not debasement.


The proof may not be in the pudding, but perhaps, there's truth in the donuts.


At August 12, 2005 6:09 AM, Blogger Pia Talks said...

sticking your head in the sand works for at the most two months. I tried.

Was going to make a bad Krispy Kreme joke but it didn't come out right

We are taking back America, one muffin not donought at a time. I think, I hope

At August 12, 2005 6:13 AM, Blogger PATCAM2005 said...

I'll have my justice in blueberry glaze please...

At August 12, 2005 10:57 AM, Blogger Nedhead said...

maple sugar, myself.

Jet, very eloquent post.

At August 12, 2005 12:19 PM, Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

Nice post Jet-

I think what we are seeing is the result of government trying to be a business, which it is not and should never be. Too many people touted the benefits of having a president who was a CEO (albeit a FAILED CEO) but the truth is that business and public duty are antithetical.

I'd like to see a return to politicians who aren't in the game to just get rich (especially since most already are) but rather to serve this great country and her people.

At August 12, 2005 4:07 PM, Blogger Brother Kenya said...

Great metaphor, and I linked to this post today. Reminds me, What do a donut and Gwibby have in common? A-hole.

(I can't believe I just said that.)

At August 12, 2005 4:36 PM, Blogger Jet said...

Pia; Sometimes taking a breather to lick your wounds is necessary. What it isn't is permission to quit. As a New Yorker, I know you walk this walk, literally, everytime you travese your city and it's transporation methods. God bless New York.

Patcam! I thought you were gone, Kimosabe. Good to have you back. One blueberry, coming up!

Ah, Nedhead. Maple suger? It's impossible to be a pessimist and like maple suger. One of nature's excellent gifts. Although my lit professors might not equate "eloquent" with an essay including the word "ain't", I thank you kindly.

Thanks, Ken. You've got a pretty decent post up at your place right now as well. I'd love to see the return to the concept of "civil service". Do I see it happening? Not unless we curtail the lucrativness of the current way business is done. If corruption doesn't pay, nobody will want to play.

BK, thank you for the link! Donut jokes? I feel positively inspiratonal.

Off topic, Psssst! Guess what, kids? I start a new job on Monday, an it's a rockin' job. Yea, me!

At August 12, 2005 7:51 PM, Blogger Tracey said... I want a Krispy Kreme!

Great post! :)

At August 12, 2005 8:05 PM, Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

Jet, YOU said:

"Apathy is the shame of America."

And just what the hell could be added to that statement? NOTHING. You said it all right there.

Blog ON, my friend...

At August 13, 2005 2:04 PM, Blogger Jet said...

Hey Tracey, I know! I was starving by the time I finished the post, feeling like nothing but a Krispy Kreme would do.

GTL, perhaps there's nothing more to say, but until we're a nation of wide awakes, let's not shut up, shall we?

At August 13, 2005 8:06 PM, Blogger liberalprogressive said...

Love it! donuts = truth. works for me.

in all seriousness, though, i love what you had to say.

At August 13, 2005 8:14 PM, Blogger Unadulterated Underdog said...

Good post!

I love the history of Krispy Kreme, the comparisons to other companies and enjoyed your bit of personal history. We all evolve considerably during our post-hs years don't we?

Krispy Kreme donuts are good but too sweet for me. I'm not surprised at this given that most of the people working at the places (at least in OK) seem to be hs grads and college students. Maybe they're living it up too much? The donut is a way of life, that's for sure. So is corporate scandal, as so many American corporate hogs know, including El Shrubbo.

At August 15, 2005 6:27 AM, Blogger frstlymil said...

Great post, as usual - and lovely road you took in the telling. And congrats on the new job!!!!

At August 15, 2005 10:34 AM, Blogger Jet said...

Hey liberalprogressive, welcome to God Dem! Thanks for the reading and chewing a few donuts with us.

OK Lib, evolution is a fact. ;-D
Good thing to, I don't think I could maintain the pace I set in my 20's for life. Smart and somewhat sedate seems to suit me these days.

Thanks Mil, Glad you liked it. I'm excited too. Change is good.

At August 15, 2005 11:03 AM, Blogger liberalprogressive said...

**dusting sprinkles from my chin**

thanks jet! I have added you to my site and forwarded your page on to a few of my friends.

i'll be back!

At August 16, 2005 1:28 PM, Blogger Jet said...

Glad to hear it, and thanks!

At August 20, 2005 11:16 AM, Blogger 1138 said...

Very good Jet.

You took that to a wHOLE different place than I had thought it was going.
In a way Congress is our board of directors and the loss of faith in them for not digging in their heels against management is what I believe lost the election (Kerry having been a part of that board).
Having been an unapologetic ABB voter in the last election I can see where others may have seen the difference as being lemon filling vs cherry filling.
Me I prefer an old fashioned cake doughnut.
Sprinkles or not, a steady diet of doughnuts can be lethal and this country has been binging on them of late. It's time for a diet and a sobering cup of coffee.

Again, excellent post.

At August 23, 2005 9:29 PM, Blogger Sally said...

And here I thought this post was just about donuts... Very nice post!!!

Does lifelong Boston Red Sox fan count?
Years of suffering...decades of it!

How's the new job?

At August 25, 2005 10:17 AM, Blogger Jet said...

The job is going well, although I'm still organizing my time to find some for writing. It'll sort itself out, never fear.

Boston Red Sox DEFINITEY counts. So does being a Bears or Lions fan, although being a die-hard Packers fan precludes me from acknowledging their pain.

At August 25, 2005 5:48 PM, Blogger Sally said...

Just as being a Red Sox fan makes acknowledging any Baltimore Oriole fan pain is just not possible. But, there is a kindred feeling with Chicago Cubs fan pain.

At August 26, 2005 9:37 AM, Blogger Jet said...

I share that kindred feeling with Cleveland Browns fans, but mostly I just like watching them get drunk and deconstruct.

At August 29, 2005 6:20 PM, Blogger Sally said...

We won't talk about Fridays game...

At August 30, 2005 9:57 AM, Blogger Jet said...

Not a good weekend for the Pack either. Good thing people in Wisconsin know how to drink.

At August 31, 2005 10:13 AM, Blogger ~Betsy said...

Fun post, I must agree, as your cohort in donut debacles some twenty (!) years ago...hic!

As 1138 commented, I agree that we should be very disappointed with our Congress for their lack of any serious questioning of this administration. They all voted to approve going to war, they dropped the ball when it came to seriously putting Rove's feet to the fire, and they're all starting to sound alike. There were plenty of Dems signing on to the Energy Bill with pork for their states and counties.

Where is the accountability? If you were running a business, wouldn't you fire an employee who was caught stealing? How can Halliburton keep on making massive amounts of money off the war when they've already been found to have overcharged millions of dollars for MRIs and other supplies?

I'm not complacent, but I think it's hard to get the point out there, without drowning in the subterfuge from the right.

It's all about money and power, and I have little of either. And even less, now that gas is $2.77 per gallon!

Downward spiral, with chocolate glaze.


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