“He really just prefers butter for a number of reasons.”
April 9, 2017 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Butter or Margarine? In Dunkin’ Donuts Lawsuit, Man Accepts No Substitutes [The New York Times] “If you order chicken, you expect chicken. If you order a coffee, you expect a coffee. But if you order butter, is margarine or a vegetable spread an acceptable substitute? It wasn’t to Jan Polanik, who sued 23 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Massachusetts for serving him “margarine or a butter substitute” instead of butter with his bagels between June 2012 and June 2016. He filed a pair of class-action lawsuits in March against franchise owners who are responsible for multiple stores. He paid 25 cents for butter and was not told a substitute was used, according to the suits.”
posted by Fizz (126 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Everyone knows you put cream cheese on bagels, not butter. This guy was just wrong.
posted by mermayd at 11:37 AM on April 9, 2017 [19 favorites]


¿Por que no los dos?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:38 AM on April 9, 2017 [7 favorites]


Mr. Polanik needs to meet up with Mary Johnson, who is suing MGM over the fact that they released a box set of "All the Bond Films" that lacked Casino Royale (1967) and Never Say Never Again (1983).
posted by radwolf76 at 11:41 AM on April 9, 2017 [19 favorites]


Everyone knows you put cream cheese on bagels, not butter. This guy was just wrong.

I bet he ordered them toasted as well.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:49 AM on April 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


Dunkin bagels need all the help they can get.
posted by supercres at 11:50 AM on April 9, 2017 [28 favorites]


Why would you order bagels from a donut shop in the first place?
posted by octothorpe at 11:52 AM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


I agree with the plaintiff. Good for him. The award wasn't ridiculous - $500. He made a valid point and wasn't looking to win the lottery. I wasn't aware of the mgm lawsuit but again unless the plaintiff has tacked on millions in pain and suffering that's a valid complaint to me too. I doubt I'd sue over either incident but I think the plaintiffs have a point
posted by biggreenplant at 11:54 AM on April 9, 2017 [115 favorites]


Yeah, I'm 100% team plaintiff here. If you order one thing at a business, and pay extra for it, and are given another, different thing without notification of any kind, that's Bad. It's easy to say "ha ha goofy lawsuit", but a business deceiving customers is a business deceiving customers, and there's no reason to take it lying down.
posted by Itaxpica at 12:04 PM on April 9, 2017 [135 favorites]


I am okay with this lawsuit.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:09 PM on April 9, 2017 [15 favorites]


Yeah, I don't see the problem with this. If you intentionally give a customer something different than what they ordered, you messed up. You shouldn't be surprised to get called out. What if they guy had an allergy to something in margarine?
posted by kevinbelt at 12:09 PM on April 9, 2017 [15 favorites]


Agree. We have a large bakery business here that sells a brioche loaf, says brioche on the bag. The ingredients have NO eggs, NO butter, it is in fact a very lean loaf. I am fed up with food manufactureres and providers that think words don't actually mean anything. Read your ingredients labels folks, they're not fool-proof but they're closer to what's really in the tin then the front of the label may be.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 12:10 PM on April 9, 2017 [17 favorites]


Margarine is gross. I'm still bitter at my mom for slavishly obeying the dumb nutritional guidelines of the 80s that said "fat bad!" so it was margarine on the damned toast.

Wait, this isn't therapy? Oops. Hope the guy wins big!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:10 PM on April 9, 2017 [30 favorites]


Everyone knows you put cream cheese on bagels, not butter. This guy was just wrong.

Yeah, but we're talking about Dunkin', so "round baked good that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a bagel", so while I agree with you in principle, the point isn't applicable in this context.

That said, other people up against the wall, those who ask for a freshly baked bagel, "toasted". Bunch of savages in this town.
posted by mikelieman at 12:14 PM on April 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


Dunkin bagel=roll with a hole.
posted by Splunge at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


There is no such thing as margarine.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2017


Dunkin bagel=roll with a hole.

It's not even a good hardroll as hardrolls go. I think there's a perfect storm of bad choices in ingredients, and one or two bad steps in the commercial scale recipes, but I'm hella biased Rockland Bakery FTW
posted by mikelieman at 12:22 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is fair. Margarine is a distillation of all the failures of mankind.
posted by turbid dahlia at 12:26 PM on April 9, 2017 [20 favorites]


hurf durf butter pleader
posted by zamboni at 12:28 PM on April 9, 2017 [60 favorites]


I once had a friend who was vegan. This intrigued my 14-year-old son, who asked him all sorts of questions about what he did and didn't eat. At one point he explained that butter was one of the things he didn't eat; my son asked "What about using margarine instead?" (which was an interesting question for him to ask, since we never used margarine in our household). I had to laugh at my friend's answer - not because I disgreed with it, just at his heartfelt vehemence: "NO! I don't eat butter, but margarine is poison!!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:30 PM on April 9, 2017 [7 favorites]


Had I known about this I would have filed an amicus brief.
posted by lalex at 12:33 PM on April 9, 2017 [33 favorites]


I wasn't aware of the mgm lawsuit but again unless the plaintiff has tacked on millions in pain and suffering that's a valid complaint to me too. I doubt I'd sue over either incident but I think the plaintiffs have a point

Does the MGM plaintiff have the same sort of point? As MGM point out, the films in the collection are clearly listed on the box. And, even as someone with only a passing interest in the Bond franchise, I would check to see what was meant by "all the Bond films" before purchasing - because everyone knows that the first version of Casino Royale wasn't a "Bond film" per se, and quite a lot of people know that Never Say Never Again wasn't an official part of the franchise. It seems to me that "all the Bond films" could mean a number of things, and that it was quite possibly not unreasonable of MGM to use that phrase alongside a clear listing of contents. The case is not, I think, as closely analogous to the butter/margarine switch as one might imagine.
posted by howfar at 12:51 PM on April 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


Agree. We have a large bakery business here that sells a brioche loaf, says brioche on the bag. The ingredients have NO eggs, NO butter, it is in fact a very lean loaf. I am fed up with food manufactureres and providers that think words don't actually mean anything.

Let me speak to you of the chocolate "croissant."

"Let's take a pain au chocolat, but remove all the butter from the pastry dough, and then coat the fucker in shitty 'chocolate' syrup because our mother never told us she loved us as a child, and so hate ourselves and everyone else."

What's baffling is pastry is fucking simple, not a lot of ingredients, and basically a science, and so perfectly suited to mechanization. Just don't try to fuck your customers and you've got a winner.

Don't get me started on French bread with a soft crust. What the fuck do you think the point was if making it long and skinny you microcephalic toadies?
posted by leotrotsky at 12:52 PM on April 9, 2017 [51 favorites]


Give me margarine when I asked for butter once, shame on you. Pass off butter substitutes a second time, still shame on you. Fool me a hundred times at 23 locations over 4 years, now it's time for a lawsuit.
posted by sfenders at 12:59 PM on April 9, 2017 [22 favorites]


How to test butter
posted by sfenders at 1:06 PM on April 9, 2017 [13 favorites]


That was interesting. I wonder if fear of a similar lawsuit is why so frequently I'll order a Diet Coke or Sprite at a restaurant and the waitperson will make sure they have my explicit consent to substitute a Diet Pepsi or Sierra Mist in its place, even though I'm 99% sure I could never tell the difference?
posted by The Gooch at 1:13 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


The soda specification is a trademark issue, I think. If enough people use your trademarked term as a general term (e.g. "coke" instead of soda/pop) I think you can lose control of your trademark.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:34 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


That was interesting. I wonder if fear of a similar lawsuit is why so frequently I'll order a Diet Coke or Sprite at a restaurant and the waitperson will make sure they have my explicit consent to substitute a Diet Pepsi or Sierra Mist in its place, even though I'm 99% sure I could never tell the difference?

That's probably more because all of the folks I know who drink Diet Coke religiously would notice the difference instantly and send it back.
posted by fifthrider at 1:40 PM on April 9, 2017 [17 favorites]


Yeah if you ask for a Diet Pepsi, they never ask, "Diet Coke okay?" They just bring you the Diet Coke because they know all good and right thinking people prefer it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:42 PM on April 9, 2017 [33 favorites]


That's probably more because all of the folks I know who drink Diet Coke religiously would notice the difference instantly and send it back.

Brand loyal Diet Coke fan. If the brix is off on this, or they aren't keeping the works clean, or it's diet pepsi, diet rite or whatever.

Meh. If this one ain't perfect, another one -- that just might be -- will be along soon enough.

( I feel the same way about coffee, btw... over my lifetime, a bad cup or two is doesn't even affect the stats... )
posted by mikelieman at 1:47 PM on April 9, 2017


I wonder if fear of a similar lawsuit is why so frequently I'll order a Diet Coke or Sprite at a restaurant and the waitperson will make sure they have my explicit consent to substitute a Diet Pepsi or Sierra Mist in its place

Well, it's fear of the same basic reaction, at least: "This isn't what I asked for!" Which is fair enough. I like Coke and Diet Pepsi but dislike Pepsi and Diet Coke; some people are picky. I don't think that people in bars etc are particularly worried about a lawsuit, just worried about pissing off customers. Certainly I worked in numerous service establishments during my time in that business, and I've never seen any instruction from senior management indicating that anyone is thinking about it in legal terms rather than customer service terms.

I'm not sure about the trademark protection angle. While trademarks becoming genericised is a real problem, most service businesses couldn't give two hoots what happens to the trademark of some random company. Actually, thinking through the logic of it, I don't think this happens even where the point of sale owns the trademark. If I own the Coke™ brand, and someone asks me for a "coke" (not caring what they get), I'm not going to explain to them that I can only serve them a Coke™. It's only where I have to sell them Pepsi™ instead that I need to explain, and if I sell Pepsi™, I have no reason to try to protect the trademark of a competitor from becoming genericised.

© PlateOfBeans™
posted by howfar at 1:48 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


I think he deserves nothing on principle alone, as he was apparently unable to tell that it wasn't real butter for four years.

However, here in the land of the enlightened, I will be on the lookout for the hapless waitron that I can get imprisoned for a year when they serve me fraudulent butter, and I will know in one bite!

(I think these laws must be related to those stories my dad told about his parents having to drive over the Illinois border to bring back margarine, which came with little dye capsules to make it more butter colored... but I clearly didn't take in the details of why crossing the border was necessary, in my horror that anyone would go to such lengths to smuggle margarine of all things. And when we clearly have real butter!)
posted by catatethebird at 2:08 PM on April 9, 2017


Certainly I worked in numerous service establishments during my time in that business, and I've never seen any instruction from senior management indicating that anyone is thinking about it in legal terms rather than customer service terms.

Total of 8 years as a restaurant server here - yI was never told anything about trademark, either, but I was told and did experience that it was best to clarify, because Coke drinkers will send Pepsi or off-brand cola back. (Pepsi drinkers, apparently not so much, but then their taste buds are clearly useless inert fleshpads in the first place, so that's no surprise).
posted by Miko at 2:28 PM on April 9, 2017 [24 favorites]


From what I heard, the margarine with the yellow dye capsules was sold during WWII when there was rationing. Perhaps your grandparents could not get real butter, and that smuggled margarine was the only spread available. I am your Dad's generation but born after the war.
As a child we had a small farm with cows, fresh-made butter and margarine was out of the question.
posted by mermayd at 2:29 PM on April 9, 2017


Glad that this is getting publicity and perhaps his should be awarded some compensation, but, and seriously but, I do not care for margarines and it's pretty obvious especially if it's on the side what kind of substance is, so as above "fool me once" but going 4 years accepting the same stuff that you don't like is, is, something, can't think just what but not a significant indicator of food sensitivity.

Waiting for the SNL skit on this one!
posted by sammyo at 2:32 PM on April 9, 2017


Or just to repeat what half the posters here observed....

But the SNL skit will be awesome!
posted by sammyo at 2:36 PM on April 9, 2017


Skit along these lines.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:40 PM on April 9, 2017


Absolutely glad they're getting sued. Just because butter and margarine look the same and taste somewhat similar (whatever your sensitivity, not everyone can taste the difference) they aren't the same and people have their reasons for needing or preferring one over the other. What if you have an allergy. What if it's your religious beliefs. Etc. I hate that people suing companies over seemingly minor stuff became a national punchline. It's not.
posted by bleep at 3:13 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


pro-plaintiff. it's a slippery slope problem. see also cheese, juice, fish...the fish one is nuts.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:13 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


The yellow dye packets were because initially one couldn't sell margarine dyed as it was considered to be deceptive--a way to pass off vile margarine as sweet life-giving butter.

Not to be a spoilsport, but this kind of story serves the exact same function as the supposed "McDonald's too hot coffee" does, only for consumer fraud as opposed to tort reform. That is to say, a slanted version of an outlier story designed to make a very real problem look frivolous. In a world where our president actually agreed to pay $25 million for consumer fraud just before he was sworn in, you should regard such narratives with extreme suspicion.
posted by praemunire at 3:16 PM on April 9, 2017 [22 favorites]


Isn't margarine worse for you than butter? Also, add me to the list of people who'd never order a bagel at Dunkin, but then again I'm in New York.
posted by jonmc at 3:31 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I hope that margarine gets banned from bagels as a result of this lawsuit.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:33 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


A local coffee shop has "ham" on some sandwiches that is actually spiced turkey. After a few years they eventually put up a small notice to that effect, but I was pretty annoyed when I first got my ham & swiss that wasn't. They were pretty adamant that "ham" actually just describes how the meat is prepared and it could be any sort of meat, which whatever, at least let me know up front, right? Anyway, they don't serve pork for religious reasons, so I wasn't going to cause a fuss and after that I knew what I was getting into.
posted by ODiV at 3:40 PM on April 9, 2017


The yellow dye packets were because initially one couldn't sell margarine dyed as it was considered to be deceptive--a way to pass off vile margarine as sweet life-giving butter.

My understanding is that this was an argument made by the dairy industry lobbyists who got the ban imposed on pre-dyed margarine. Whether consumers viewed it in that way is not clear to me.
posted by howfar at 3:45 PM on April 9, 2017


Who gets DD bagels? I have at North Station having left my Back Bay hotel without breakfast about to get on MTBA for a day trip....

IIRC the kids in the WWI era Moffat books mix yellow dye into their [oleo]margarine.
posted by brujita at 3:47 PM on April 9, 2017


MetaFilter: clearly useless inert fleshpads
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:53 PM on April 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


My understanding is that this was an argument made by the dairy industry lobbyists who got the ban imposed on pre-dyed margarine.

Because there's definitely some other reason to dye margarine yellow other than to persuade consumers it's related to butter?
posted by praemunire at 3:55 PM on April 9, 2017


I worked for several years at a movie theater chain that did not use real butter for the popcorn. We used something called "Supur-Kist II" (which I always called "Sulphur-Kist"). We were expressly forbidden to ask people if they wanted butter on their popcorn, but the company had decided asking if they wanted it "buttery" was OK. Our manager refused to take questions about that. Being smart-ass teens we would occasionally ask patrons "Would you like that with Supur-Kist II buttery-flavored topping?"

I wondered what was wrong with the original Supur-Kist that they had to make a version 2.

Later the company started using real butter, but it was really expensive compared to Supur-Kist II, so if someone wanted extra butter we had to charge for it. It was also a big pain in the butt, the solids would gunk up the pumps and it had to be refrigerated. But it tasted great! They eventually changed back, I guess they realized it wasn't worth it and the public at large was just fine with "buttery" instead of butter.

AFAIK they never got sued.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:04 PM on April 9, 2017 [9 favorites]


"For food safety reasons, we do not allow butter to be stored at room temperature, which is the temperature necessary for butter to be easily spread onto a bagel or pastry"

This makes a bit of sense. As a kid I recall ordering a sandwich with butter in addition to meat, cheese, etc. Seemed like a normal request to me but was obviously not typical, because the sandwich I received had full butter packet-sized pieces of butter awkwardly smeared across the bread. Which horrified my mom but delighted me.
posted by mantecol at 4:09 PM on April 9, 2017


Back when I got popcorn at the theatre here they just called it "topping", except when Grease was rereleased for it's 20th anniversary and then they called it grease, of course.
posted by ODiV at 4:10 PM on April 9, 2017


Contrarian notion - butter:stuff you smear on bread product::kleenex:thing you blow snot into
posted by Caxton1476 at 4:14 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I always ask for "extra yellow" on my popcorn. It's interesting to see whether the poor schmuck behind the counter is entertained or bewildered (score is roughly even as far as I can recall).
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:16 PM on April 9, 2017


If the sign or receipt says "Butter: $0.25," this is straight-up bait-and-switch.
posted by rhizome at 4:17 PM on April 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


That was interesting. I wonder if fear of a similar lawsuit is why so frequently I'll order a Diet Coke or Sprite at a restaurant and the waitperson will make sure they have my explicit consent to substitute a Diet Pepsi or Sierra Mist in its place, even though I'm 99% sure I could never tell the difference?

My grandma was a proud shareholder in Coca-Cola. I think I remember her telling me when I was little that Howard Johnson's got sued by its customers, because whenever a customer ordered "a Coke," they gave the customer a house-branded "HoJo" cola drink instead without informing them. I suspect that would have been sometime from the 1950s to the 1970s.
posted by jonp72 at 4:20 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


I was right. There is a Coca-Cola Company v. Howard Johnson Company legal case from 1974 that probably explains why restaurants today have to insist on giving you the Coke or Pepsi you asked for.
posted by jonp72 at 4:24 PM on April 9, 2017 [19 favorites]


The one and only time that I've ever found margarine to be edible was in the community college cafeteria at 6:30am when generously slathered on dry french toast.

And it was absolutely delicious.

University margarine just wasn't the same. Of course their french toast came from a stainless steel buffet server warmed by a water bath instead of being pre-served on foam plates lined up under incandescent warming lights behind a little sliding glass door labeled "breakfast". Also they had real butter, and they probably used real eggs to make the french toast. And anyways you didn't have to settle for french toast when there was a chilled pitcher of waffle batter ready to be ladled into a hot iron at your command.

And graduate school? The margarine tasted like tears...
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:34 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Quite aside from the butter/margarine thing, I fail to see why anyone would buy anything from Dunkin Donuts. I live in California where you can buy real donuts at any strip mall. I don't think there are any DDs around here. When I was at Logan airport in Boston a couple of years ago I got a donut at DD and was really shocked at how bad it was. Then I noticed they were everywhere. What's up with that; is it some kind of organized crime thing where real donut shops get bombed or something? I won't even go into their "coffee."
posted by charlesminus at 4:39 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


I live in California where you can buy real donuts at any strip mall.

New England has its own relationship with Dunkin, but I can say that I'm from the midwest and in towns I've lived in that didn't have Dunkin or anywhere of its ilk, the donut options were frequently limited to one place with bad parking that was only open for two hours every third Thursday as far as I could tell. (The notable exception was Twinsburg, Ohio. But that's not somewhere you can stop casually, if it's anywhere near as busy as the last time I was there.) If you live in a donut utopia, please don't look down on the rest of us!
posted by Sequence at 4:50 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


I live in California where you can buy real donuts at any strip mall. I don't think there are any DDs around here.

Why that is.
posted by rhizome at 4:56 PM on April 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


Not to be a spoilsport, but this kind of story serves the exact same function as the supposed "McDonald's too hot coffee" does, only for consumer fraud as opposed to tort reform. That is to say, a slanted version of an outlier story designed to make a very real problem look frivolous.

The story didn't make the problem look frivolous to me, which may be confirmation bias, since I came into it not believing the distinction between butter and margarine is nugatory.

I thought the story clearly illustrated the plaintiff's position, without endorsing either side of the dispute. Which elements of the story do you think slant it in the direction of disparaging the lawsuit?
posted by layceepee at 4:58 PM on April 9, 2017


We cutting-edge Butterists order Pepsi Max. Margarinists are stuck adrift in lame history and order Diet Coke. This is facts.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:20 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


When I was at Logan airport in Boston a couple of years ago I got a donut at DD and was really shocked at how bad it was. Then I noticed they were everywhere. What's up with that;

I'm going to read this Ted Ngoy piece and find out. But it's a big difference. Growing up in NJ, I was under the impression that almost all donuts pretty much came from Dunkin'. Your local bakery did have some donuts, but a very limited selection - usually glazed, plain, jelly, and crumb, in NJ, and mayyybe coconut and maybe a chocolate frosted. It ended there. And you really went to the bakery for other stuff (cinnamon buns, crumb cake, hard rolls, bread) with donuts as kind of an add-on, so you just didn't expect a big line of donuts. And there were no other specialty donut shops besides Dunkin'. I was about 16 when I read some article somewhere and said incredulously to my mom "Did you know in California they have mom and pop donut shops?!"
posted by Miko at 5:21 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


I am a strict butterist (other than the rare bag of movie theater popcorn), and I don't order Coke OR Pepsi OR diet anything. Artificial sweeteners taste nasty, every one of them.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:24 PM on April 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


Nugatory

Margarine is to butter as Nugatory is to Nuttelex.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:25 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Don't get me started on French bread with a soft crust.

Is it even possible to get French bread anywhere in the US other than New Orleans?
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:33 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


Now can someone do something about those vegan Just Mayo packets? I know there was some kind of lawsuit about it, but I believe they are allowed to call those fake packets "Mayo" since apparently that's not quite the same thing as "Mayonnaise". My office cafeteria has taken to only them in the condiments section (no regular mayo offered anymore) and I've been planning to write them a sternly worded letter.
posted by peacheater at 5:34 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


My dad says his father applied to join a local dairyman's association in the late 1930's, the process included a blind taste test to determine if the applicant could tell the difference between butter and margarine. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

I hesitate to say nice things about Starbucks here, but (at least in Seattle), getting something with butter gives you Irish butter. Yum. And chocolate croissants may not be much like a classic croissant, but at least they're made with chocolate chunks, not chocolate syrup (what???).
posted by lhauser at 5:44 PM on April 9, 2017


Margarine is gross. I'm still bitter at my mom for slavishly obeying the dumb nutritional guidelines of the 80s that said "fat bad!" so it was margarine on the damned toast.

My husband was always told through most of the 1980's that "butter" was the stuff in tubs that he put on his toast every morning; when his mom for some reason bought the real thing one time he wanted to know, "Mom, why is this butter so much better than the butter we usually have?" and the game was up. Suing parents for misrepresentation of food would probably set a dangerous precedent, though. "For years she served 'Mom's special muffins' to the plaintiffs while taking pains to conceal the broccoli puree 'secret ingredient' from same."
posted by Ralston McTodd at 5:45 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Is it even possible to get French bread anywhere in the US other than New Orleans?

Of course! At any number of bakeries. In this area Italian-style loaves are more common, but even so, I can get a well-made loaf of french bread of different styles at a bunch of bakeries if I make a point of going.
posted by Miko at 5:46 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Of course! At any number of bakeries.

WHERE? I live in New Orleans. I have been all over North America and I have never, anywhere, seen actual French bread available in grocery stores or been offered sandwiches (much less "po boys") made with it. Italian bread does not count -- the crust is what makes it. You can get it at every grocery store within 50 miles of New Orleans or Baton Rouge, though.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:51 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I didn't know about the HoJo's lawsuit, I guess that explains why if you ordered a coke at Friendly's the waitress always said "We don't serve Coke, we serve Friendly cola."

Dunkin' is pretty much the only doughnut source around here, they weren't too bad when they made them in the store, if you came in at 5:30am they were a tasty treat. But now they're shipped in from some factory in New Jersey. Calling day old donuts "fresh" should be a crime.

"food safety reasons" is a bunch of baloney. Butter can be left at room temperature for a few days, especially salted.
posted by Marky at 6:04 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Of course! At any number of bakeries.

WHERE? I live in New Orleans. I have been all over North America and I have never, anywhere, seen actual French bread available in grocery stores or been offered sandwiches (much less "po boys") made with it. Italian bread does not count -- the crust is what makes it. You can get it at every grocery store within 50 miles of New Orleans or Baton Rouge, though.

Plenty of crusty french bread in the DC Suburbs of my youth.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:18 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


One of the benefits of Vietnamese immigration to the SF bay area is that the Viet bakeries often make a very nice french baguette, and if you don't like those, there's always Acme.
posted by tavella at 6:19 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


I never ate real butter until I got married. All I'd ever had was margarine, so I obviously hated the stuff and ate all my toast dry. Then I had kerrygold and now I'm a full-blown-hurf-derf butter-eater. Oh, and diet Pepsi is vile.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 6:22 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Definitely on Team Butter--or Team Dairy. Because woe betide the person/establishment that serves "creamer" when I ask for cream for my coffee. Even worse--flavored "creamer." That stuff should all be outlawed. Half & half, or in a pinch, whole milk, or nothing!
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 6:24 PM on April 9, 2017 [7 favorites]


What's annoying is when caffeine-free-coke-zero is darn good but neither Wegmans nor Tops ever have it, so I end up making do with caffeine free diet pepsi. Or drink water like an animal.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:25 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Whenever the subject of butter vs margarine comes up, I can't help but think of a particular brand of margarine I saw one day that had a very odd name.

Near as I can tell, the marketing department must have been in a very weird mood the day they named this product. It seems like they decided that instead of basing the name on what it is, they decided to focus on what it isn't.

"That's not very odd," you might say. "What about 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter'? That's a very popular brand, and has been around for decades."

True enough, but what I speak of takes it to an entirely different level. It turns it's name into an existential questioning of the product's own identity, seemingly infused with a sense of loss and ennui.

"Memories of Butter" brand margarine. A product that knows it never really was butter to begin with, and its purpose is only to act as a replacement for a better product that it knows it can never be as good as. It's a product that knows you know that too, but for some reason, be it chance, health concerns, or budget, the two of you are stuck with each other, and you'll both just have to get through this meal together.
posted by chambers at 6:36 PM on April 9, 2017 [8 favorites]


When I was at Logan airport in Boston a couple of years ago I got a donut at DD and was really shocked at how bad it was. Then I noticed they were everywhere. What's up with that; is it some kind of organized crime thing where real donut shops get bombed or something? I won't even go into their "coffee."

The honest answer (which you dismiss) is that people like DD's beverages. That's basically it. I don't know anyone who thinks their donuts are particularly good.

Krispy Kreme tried to break into the northeast and got wrecked because they brought good donuts to a beverage fight.
posted by tocts at 6:38 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the plaintiff would've settled for an Imperial crown and a trumpet blast.

we're talking about Dunkin', so "round baked good that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a bagel"

And yet they call it a bagel! I foresee a lawsuit in their future.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:54 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well I guess this means more margarine for me!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:55 PM on April 9, 2017


chambers,
I don't know where you live, but unless you're a Canadian it's unlikely that you're familiar with the Loblaw store brand "Memories of..." line. Usually it's followed by a geographic reference, "PC Memories of Damascus Tangy Pomegranate Sauce," "PC Memories of Thailand Fiery Chili Pepper Sauce," "PC Memories Of Hong Kong Soy, Sesame and Ginger Sauce," etc.

Now, I don't know where you'd geographically link butter-like margarine--maybe PC Memories of the Milking Shed, or PC Memories of the Cow Pasture--but I guess Loblaw felt it needed to do something to brand its oil-based spread in a fashion familiar to shoppers, hence its name. So in a way seeing it (or hearing about it) doesn't phase me in the least (the fact that I've never noticed it in the dairy cooler I guess speaks to the fact I've never bought margarine and tend to skip by that section and rarely buy PC store brands). That said, I love your interpretation of the product's identity.
posted by sardonyx at 6:55 PM on April 9, 2017 [6 favorites]


Krispy Kreme tried to break into the northeast and got wrecked because they brought good donuts to a beverage fight.

Ugh. I'd rather have a Hostess donut than one of those horrible over-sweet excuses for donuts.
posted by octothorpe at 7:00 PM on April 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


Had I known about this I would have filed an amicus brief.

Okay, serious question, is it possible to file an amicus brief for literally anything? Wikipedia tells me that the Supreme Court has its own rules, but how much variation is there among lower courts? At what point will a court be like, "If you don't stop submitting printed-out Facebook rants with the word 'amicus' scrawled in the margin, we're calling the cops"?

This could be an exciting new frontier for moon-law practitioners.
posted by compartment at 7:10 PM on April 9, 2017 [10 favorites]


I agree that one should get what one pays for and this sounds like some bait and switch which should be stopped. However, the idea that he's taken 4 years and 23 locations to gin up enough righteous outrage to do something gives me pause to think there's more to this. I'm sure not going to wait 4 seconds much less 4 years to seek redress if you give me a diet-anything-but-Coke.

Frankly, the bigger crime pointed out in this article is that you can't get Kerrygold in Wisconsin. Should I go there, I'll need to pack my own.
posted by kjs3 at 7:17 PM on April 9, 2017


I have been all over North America and I have never, anywhere, seen actual French bread

I don't know what to say. I've lived in NJ, Philadelphia, and four out of the six New England states, and in none of them have I had a hard time finding French bread. You are talking about something looking like this, right? With a crisp crust that shatters and a light crumb? I feel like it is easy to find. My grocery store sells an OK version. Whole Foods has a decent version. And new-generation bakeries that are French-style has it. I would just never have identified it as a rarity. I'm not saying it's at every market and convenience store, not at all, but I've also never had a hard time finding a french (as opposed to italian) long loaf...let alone baguette, epi, etc. It's around.
posted by Miko at 7:17 PM on April 9, 2017


I want truth in advertising and government transparency.

I don't care what fat product you smear on them.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:18 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


"For food safety reasons, we do not allow butter to be stored at room temperature, which is the temperature necessary for butter to be easily spread onto a bagel or pastry"

Which is weird, because one might think the same thing about cream cheese.

Also, it's very weird to live somewhere where there are multiple local donut shops, of the kind that sell boxes of donuts and not just a handful of artisanal ones.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 7:20 PM on April 9, 2017


In my experience the Vietnamese do better French bread than the French do so I buy my French bread from Vietnamese bakeries, and my mille-feuille from wherever it is available and they don't have neenish tarts.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:22 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


is it possible to file an amicus brief for literally anything?

You generally need permission from the court to file anything in a case, including an amicus brief.
posted by praemunire at 7:27 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Memories of Butter" brand margarine. A product that knows it never really was butter to begin with, and its purpose is only to act as a replacement for a better product that it knows it can never be as good as.

OMG I'm not the only one! I first saw this at the downtown Portland Safeway and nearly screamed "DO YOU ALL SEE THIS??? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS???! WHY AREN'T YOU FREAKING OUT???!"
posted by Automocar at 7:34 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


When I was a youngster and working at Burger King, we were told to say, "Is Pepsi okay?" when people ordered Coke. And were told for exactly this reason: otherwise, people can sue us if we serve it to them.

I thought that was weird but understandable when I was 13. The more interesting observation was that 90% of the answers I got to that question were "No, I'll take root beer" or "No, what else do you got" or "No drink then." People who don't order Pepsi by name -- and I've literally never met anyone who did -- do not like Pepsi.
posted by dobbs at 7:38 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


We don't eat much bread anymore, but every once in a while we get a hankering, and so we go to Arizmendi and get a loaf and then we go to the cheese place up on 24th in Noe and get some awesome butter and also some buttery cheese and then we come home and eat it all. Glorious.
posted by rtha at 7:39 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


I have walked out of a restaurant and bought a Coke at the liquor store next door when they tried to offer me a Pepsi. Fuck your exclusive soda contract.

I also keep a bottle of maple syrup in my car.
posted by ryanrs at 7:58 PM on April 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Me, I keep a bucket and a tap in my trunk.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:10 PM on April 9, 2017 [7 favorites]


Plenty of crusty french bread in the DC Suburbs of my youth.

Vie de France at Giant?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:29 PM on April 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


Me, I keep a bucket and a tap in my trunk.

They're called spiles, Marie.
posted by rhizome at 8:32 PM on April 9, 2017 [6 favorites]


Memories of Butter previously.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:33 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Plenty of crusty french bread in the DC Suburbs of my youth.

Vie de France at Giant?

You know it.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:37 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Now, I don't know where you'd geographically link butter-like margarine--maybe PC Memories of the Milking Shed, or PC Memories of the Cow Pasture"

All my memories of the cow pasture have little to do with butter. Except on a systems-level I guess.
posted by traveler_ at 8:39 PM on April 9, 2017


Miko: Growing up in NJ, I was under the impression that almost all donuts pretty much came from Dunkin'. Your local bakery did have some donuts, but a very limited selection - usually glazed, plain, jelly, and crumb, in NJ, and mayyybe coconut and maybe a chocolate frosted. It ended there.

Not exactly. There's always a box of Entemann's donuts at the supermarket, and their Rich Frosted will stand up to anyone else's.
posted by mikelieman at 9:14 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


Okay, serious question, is it possible to file an amicus brief for literally anything? Wikipedia tells me that the Supreme Court has its own rules, but how much variation is there among lower courts? At what point will a court be like, "If you don't stop submitting printed-out Facebook rants with the word 'amicus' scrawled in the margin, we're calling the cops"?

This could be an exciting new frontier for moon-law practitioners.


I think the normal thing is to essentially send the brief along with a short motion asking the court to accept it. Permission of the parties might be involved as well in some cases. My understanding is that they're pretty darn rare at the trial court level, but it looks like it's possible in California civil cases anyway.

This kind of thing came up in Washington's lawsuit against Trump's travel ban, when someone claiming to be (more on that in a sec) "Mikki the Mime" filed a truly amazing handwritten motion to intervene on the basis that she feared she might not be allowed to re-enter the country, "and the future of birthday parties in the Untied States would be sadder." And this sentence: "Now she fears that doing so outside the Untied States–in one of the 7 bad countries, or anywhere since her country of origin is the earth–will land her in an imaginary box she can't escape from. It's hard enough to escape from simple ones." I drew great hope from this particular bit of moon-law.

The court denied the motion, and the docket stated "Further, the court DIRECTS the Clerk to refrain from placing any future filings by Ms. Mime on the court's docket for this case [unless it involves appealing or reconsidering the denial]."

Then it turned out that this whole thing got into extra super moon-law, as the thing was actually filed from the county jail and wasn't actually written by Mikki the Mime and there's some unspecified drama involving assault charges and restraining orders, and I was sad because this is why we can't have nice things. Or as Sarah Jeong put it: "Behind every funny pro se filing is an unfunny story of why someone is held on $100,000 bail for assault."

So yeah. Moon-law is going to moon-law.
posted by zachlipton at 9:18 PM on April 9, 2017 [9 favorites]


I fail to see why anyone would buy anything from Dunkin Donuts. I live in California where you can buy real donuts at any strip mall. I don't think there are any DDs around here.

I can attest to this. Last weekend I took a trip to California's Central Valley and out of curiosity + a desperate need for caffeine, stopped by the Modesto Dunkin' Donut for my first (and last) DD experience. I ordered a chocolate covered cake and a robust drip. Both were awful individually, the coffee only made semi-drinkable by sipping it around a mouthful of donut. It reminded me of Folgers in the metal can (Memories of Coffee). Despite the name, the donut itself was not up to the rigors of being dunked and a third of it was irretrievably lost to the bottom of my cup.

Years ago, my SO brought home a Tim Horton's donut. It was 3 days old by the time it traveled from Alberta to San Jose and it still tasted better than the Dunkin' donut I had last weekend.
posted by jamaro at 9:24 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's been too long since I laughed about Panburger Partner so hard I cried. Good times.
posted by medusa at 9:49 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


You know, I don't even eat donuts - cept maybe once or twice a year. I also have a deep, deep family connection to New England and Dunkins and the Sox, etc. DD got me through college with it's terrible coffee before we knew better. But having lived in California for the past 21 years, may the holy deity of donuts bless Ted Ngoy for fueling the surviving range of CA donut shops. One of the things I like about living in a state that's overpowered enough to be it's own country is that it has weird pockets of things that survive the onslaught of hegemony. Of course, it also tends to power that hegemony as well... mixed emotions.

Now, should I walk the three blocks to the 24 hour Cambodian donut shop in my sleepy neighborhood?
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:00 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


"For food safety reasons, we do not allow butter to be stored at room temperature, which is the temperature necessary for butter to be easily spread onto a bagel or pastry"

This is why one toasts bagels.

The other reason is that on the West Coast most bagels are crap, and toasted crap is better than non-toasted crap.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:37 PM on April 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


( I'm convinced a driving factor in DD's Northeast dominance is the bump their numbers get around the Boston area, which, at least 5 - 10 years ago, after midnight 'diners' and 'meals' are hard to come by and if you're looking for something, an egg sandwich and a cup of coffee is about your only options. )
posted by mikelieman at 10:47 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


Durkee products. Who needs or even wants real butter when Durkee is in the house?

Popcorn seasoning buttery flavored

Imitation Flavored Butter. Use in cakes, cookies, candy, puddings, sauces, ice creams, muffins, quick breads, icing & frostings and other desserts. Add a touch of butter flavor to vegetables or savory sauces.
posted by AugustWest at 11:37 PM on April 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


However, the idea that he's taken 4 years and 23 locations to gin up enough righteous outrage to do something gives me pause to think there's more to this.

I don't think there's actually a legal obligation to feel righteous anger in order to actually take part in a class action suit. You can just feel a general feeling of annoyance and have the free time and resources to be the point person, and have put up with this long enough to establish a pattern of behavior on their part. If outrage was necessary, then a lot of class action suits about things that impact large numbers of consumers in very small ways would never happen.
posted by Sequence at 1:31 AM on April 10, 2017 [11 favorites]


I'm 99% sure I could never tell the difference?
Give it a blind taste test some time, you might be surprised.

Pepsi recently switched to a new artificial sweetener, so post-2015 Diet Pepsi now tastes like sucralose, industrial byproducts, and angst. Diet Coke still has the same old flavorings of aspartame, failed biowarfare experiments, and regret.
posted by roystgnr at 5:53 AM on April 10, 2017 [9 favorites]


> I think he deserves nothing on principle alone, as he was apparently unable to tell that it wasn't real butter for four years.

He just couldn't believe it's not butter.
posted by RobotHero at 5:56 AM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]


All you Pepsi haters make me laugh. Real sugar Pepsi drunk straight from a glass bottle on a hot day is the best. Second that is RC in a glass bottle. Coke is good, too, I suppose. Most people can't tell the difference between Coke, Pepsi, and RC in blind taste tests because they're really all just battery acid. People who can actually tell the difference are called "super tasters" which is a fancy way of saying you regret running into them at a party, trying to make small talk about the salsa and being treated to a ten minute diatribe on how it has too much cilantro and the cook used the wrong type of tomato.

However, try to serve me a Mr. Pibb when I asked for a Dr. Pepper and I guarantee we'll have words.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 6:20 AM on April 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


1. This guy is a hero. If you ask for butter, and they do not provide butter as an option, then they should just say so and let customers know what is available. I prefer the millionaire CEOs of multinational fast food restaurants to fear the hassle of these lawsuits, because then they are less likely to empower their employees to lie about things they think are “insignificant”. What they consider to be insignificant and what I consider to be insignificant are rarely in accord.

2. I say this as a butter lover, but also a lover of fake butters. I love industrial nightmare gold-goo movie theater “butter” that is clearly anything but. I also love fake vegan margarine (Earth Balance, yay) for certain things, because it is this strangely charming simulacra of the concept of butter, and it melts in a way that makes it more useful than real butter in certain applications.

I don’t love fake butters in place of butter, I love them for their own non-butter selves. But I would never want to spread them on bread or bagels that require actual butter, and I resent the corporate insinuation that they might have the right to make those choices for me.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:27 AM on April 10, 2017 [6 favorites]


Yeah if you ask for a Diet Pepsi, they never ask, "Diet Coke okay?" They just bring you the Diet Coke because they know all good and right thinking people prefer it.

All I wanted was a Diet Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me.
posted by asterix at 9:33 AM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]


I am not a super taster and I routinely crushed the pepsi challenge when it was still a thing in stores.

This is because Pepsi is vile and has a weird metallic aftertaste like licking the bleachers of a failed municipal baseball franchise.
posted by winna at 10:11 AM on April 10, 2017 [6 favorites]


I said this the other day: "Sometimes I order a cup of soup from Bay Cities Deli, but secretly I really want the delicious roll that comes with it. Today I bought a roll from Le Pain Quotiden, but secretly I really wanted to taste the slab of organic butter. " I approve of this lawsuit and could not be an impartial juror.

Re DD in SoCal, there is one in Santa Monica, blocks from local favorite, DK's. DD is still busy in the mornings; are people going also for the coffee? I hear people are into the DD coffee. DK's seems to be doing fine.

but I'm hella biased Rockland Bakery FTW

Aww, when I was little, before we moved to L.A., my dad used to drive to Nanuet (from New City) just to get bagels. Good memories.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:16 AM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Not exactly. There's always a box of Entemann's donuts at the supermarket, and their Rich Frosted will stand up to anyone else's.

I didn't even think of counting grocery store donuts in, because then you'd have to also count the 6-packs of dry cinnamon-sugar and powdered-sugar donuts in the bakery aisle, too. I feel this is a different beast than a fresh donut meant to be consumed the same day as made.

Also, have you had any Entenmann's products lately? I've tried a couple things in fits of nostalgia, and they have become very, very bad. There's been some sort of big ingredient or process shift. Things I remember as delicious are flavorless (especially the mini chocolate chip cookies - I once could consume these by the boxfull, but the last time I bought them I brought them to work and stuck them on the coffee counter because they were gross and I couldn't finish them). I've verified with others that it's not just my tastebuds getting old - they've changed.

Coke v. Pepsi - I can tell the difference at first sip, and I'm not a supertaster. Pepsi tastes disgusting to me. Coke has a very identifiable signature.
posted by Miko at 10:49 AM on April 10, 2017


Pepsi and Coke smell different from each other. That's the first thing I notice, before even tasting them.
posted by sardonyx at 10:56 AM on April 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


Diet Pepsi tastes like Diet Coke that came from a machine that someone forgot to clean, and/or messed up the ratio of carbonated water to syrup.
posted by tocts at 11:22 AM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


I clicked on the Entenmanns link and in the What's New section there's a link to their mascot trying to navigate a corn maze which was apparently LIVE STREAMED and I hate everything
posted by lazaruslong at 1:16 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


On the subject of ordering bagels at DD, it varies by location. When we moved to New Haven, we had an early train trip and ended up not having time to get breakfast before the station, wanted something which wasn't sweet, and were pleasantly surprised: it was not the place my wife's family bought from in NYC but better than anything I'd had in California. We ended up doing that most times we were taking Metro North early.

When we moved to D.C., this lead me to try the DD between the metro station and my office, where I learned just what an outlier my earlier experience had been.
posted by adamsc at 2:18 PM on April 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Vie de France at Giant?

Man, I had a wierd moment last year. I grew up in DC and loved Vie de France croissants, especially the almond ones. At some point in the 90s the brand disappeared from supermarkets, and I moved to San Jose not long after. So it was quite strange when I happened to drive past a coffee shop and it had the familiar Vie de France logo. After a little research, apparently a Japanese company brought the brand and used it for a coffeeshop chain in Japan, which eventually re-expanded to the US.
posted by tavella at 2:32 PM on April 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


it was not the place my wife's family bought from in NYC but better than anything I'd had in California.

California is a place where multiple bagel shops believe that a “nova lox sandwich” should have sprouts and avocado on it. It is not a bagel-friendly state.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:03 PM on April 10, 2017 [3 favorites]


To be fair, sprouts and avocado come with everything by default in California.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 3:14 PM on April 10, 2017 [8 favorites]


Regional eccentricities are fine in most things but this is a god-damned nova lox sandwich, not a fucking hamburger.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:29 PM on April 10, 2017 [6 favorites]


You people talking about drinking blended sheep's eyeballs with fake sugar (even in the non-diet versions) and "Black #38 colouring" and saying Pepsi tastes weird?
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:51 PM on April 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


Speaking of butter, I liked this Signal v Noise podcast about a company that makes butter lambs for Easter.
posted by zamboni at 9:27 AM on April 11, 2017


Most people can't tell the difference between Coke, Pepsi, and RC in blind taste tests because they're really all just battery acid.

I have actually done a diet coke / diet pepsi blind taste test three times in a row, correctly selecting the coke one each time to the evident distress of the pepsi test giver. I don't know if I could tell the sugary ones apart, but diet pepsi has a lot more artificial sweetner and I can taste that a mile off (and loathe it). I warned the guy before I did the test!

I also have started going to Dunkin Donuts for my crullers and their cake donuts because my corner donut shop stopped making crullers and crullers are a must whenever I get donuts. I've always liked DD's cake donuts - blueberry in particular - and their creme frosting ones. Their boston creme is ok. My favorite donut is crullers, though, until the end of time. I just wish DD crullers weren't quite so sugar saturated; I like them a little crispy.
posted by Deoridhe at 10:58 PM on April 11, 2017 [1 favorite]


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