Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Like A Dunkin Donuts On Wheels

By Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

Do you know what I miss?

Helms Bakery.

When I was a kid growing up in Fullerton, California this guy that sort of resembled a cross between Sheriff John (you know, the host of the mid day show in Los Angeles back in the 60's for kids) and the Man In the Yellow Suit from Curious George would drive a cool yellow Chevy truck on to our street, ring his bell and we would all go out to greet him with a fist full of dollars and coin.

It was me, our neighbor Barbara with curlers in her hair and fuzzy slippers, my first crush and really cute neighbor with a Southern accent Tammy, Mrs. Leverich, Bob our neighbor with the beautiful dog...and various others on Rosslyn Street. It was kind of like going to a portable Starbucks in the middle of the road. We would chat, hold up traffic, and get caught up.

And Sheriff John (actually I think this guy's name was really John) had this wonderful assortment of fresh donuts and pastries and coffee and milk and other goodies.

Sort of like a Dunkin Donuts or Winchell Donuts on Wheels.

It seemed like such a great concept. I can't remember when or why it died out.

Probably about the same time gas station attendants stopped full service and 7-11 personnel stopped serving Slurpees. Somewhere along the line great customer service became uncool all of a sudden.

I was thinking about this the other day. I was in a Starbucks. I was wondering why somebody like Starbucks or Panera Bread couldn't do the Helms Bakery thing and drive a truck into neighborhoods. Then I got to thinking...I really am not crazy about Starbucks coffee. A coffee roaster friend once told me it was over roasted coffee and I went, oh yeah, I guess it is. But then I started looking around Starbucks and the following day Panera Bread.

It's really not about the product. It's about the socializing and the community. In those two places and others, to be fair, there are great conversations going on at all the tables or somebody is writing or somebody else is reading. That's what it really is all about...human contact and sharpening our brains with stimulating conversation.

Just like standing in the middle of Rosslyn street in 1965 with the neighbors and the Helms Bakery Truck.

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