The tale of the discount donuts

"How do you sweeten the sour?"


Once upon a time in a small and sunny but troubled archipelago nation, there operated two large and upscale doughnut chains. 

There were other bakeries that peddled the ring-shaped baked goods, but these two sold the best, tastiest, and most costly.

The donuts of these two bakeries were toothsome and delectable, but alas! Because they were expensive, only the well-to-do Archipelagians could afford to buy them regularly. A great many of the nation’s people were regular folk on a tight budget, and a quarter of the population lived below the poverty line.

This was sad because the Archipelagians as a people loved their families very much and observed a custom called ‘pasalubong,’ bringing home gifts, usually food, to their loved ones. And among the most favorite foods to give as pasalubong were donuts.

So when the two chains announced a special, grand discount for their wares, the people were elated. At last they would be able to buy the best donuts for their children to try! 

Happily they argued with each other on what was the better brand, and where to buy, and what to buy. They counted on their fingers, one two twelve! They vowed to buy a dozen and a dozen more because no one knew when such a big promotion would happen again.

On discount day, they queued up in front of the stores, making long lines that went thisaway and thataway as far as the eye could see. In their pockets they made a fist around their hard-earned money.

They hopped from one foot to another as they waited as the lines made their slow way to the front. 

They hoped there would still be donuts by the time they turn came. 

When at last they were face to face with the trays of donuts, they pointed to their choices, handed over their cash, and gleefully made their way home, their arms wrapped around boxes of the precious baked goods.

Said one, “My wife and parents had never tasted this. They were happy when I brought home the box, and I felt good that I was able to give them this treat.”

Said another, “My children were overjoyed and said I was the best dad ever.”

But this is not The End of the story.

The people did not know that while they were waiting patiently in line, someone had taken their picture and posted it to the Internet.

This someone was an entrepreneur and business guru. She wrote, “Who else thinks their time is only worth buy one, take one donuts? (Laughing emoji) Remember, you can always afford donuts. You can always make more money. But you can’t make more time. Change your mindset, change your life.” 

Many Archipelagians were offended by this post that they considered poor-shaming. One tweeted, “urban poor community: *exists* [entrepreneur]: omg stop being poor.” Another said: “in a scale of 1 to [entrepreneur], how elitista, egocentric, and non-empathetic are you?”

One pointed out that queueing happens all the time: “Let’s not be a hypocrite here & pretend you haven’t been in line before. you haven’t been in line to a public transpo? you haven’t been in line to get your passport? you haven’t been in line to pay your tuition? to one of those new bubble tea kiosks?”

“[Entrepreneur] needs to mind her own goddamn business. Paki mo ba what people want to spend their own time and money on,” said someone else.

Entrepreneur shrugged it off, saying her post was not for everyone. Her supporters said they appreciated her point about time and productivity.

But it was too late. Her mean-spirited post, particularly the laughing emoji, had already negatively affected her brand, something that as a self-styled business guru she should have been more careful of.

But the people who waited two hours to buy delicious donuts at half-off couldn’t care less what she thought and they and their loved ones savored each sweet, luscious crumb.

The lesson of this story is: Don’t shame others for being poor. If you have an unkind opinion, keep it to yourself, don’t share it on the Internet unless you are ready for criticism. Above all, as a famous Archipelagian saying goes, walang basagan ng trip.

The End. ***

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The Chinese advise sour people to eat more desserts to sweeten their nature. / FB and Twitter: @DrJennyO

Topics: Jenny Ortuoste , doughnuts
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