By now, you are probably aware that it is National Donut Day, a nonsense holiday that falls on the first Friday of every June. More likely than not, you had that realization because the holiday often brings with it the promise of a free donut at your local coffee shop. And since we’re in Massachusetts, your local coffee shop is probably a Dunkin’ Donuts.
With all of that in mind, you should probably know that you will not get a free donut at your local Dunkin’ Donuts. They will tell you it is free, but that is either a lie or a statement that comes from some deep confusion about what “free” actually means.
See? They are happy to not charge you for your donut, but only if you give them money first. That is not free. That is you spending money in order to receive a donut, known commonly by its simpler description: “buying a donut.”
“But wait!” You might say. “If they’re not charging you for the donut, the donut is free!”
No, the donut is free if you can walk in, ask for a donut, have a donut handed to you, and then walk out. But this is not what is happening.
Sure, if you walk into your local Dunkin’ Donuts with the express purpose of buying a drink and, upon completing that transaction, are offered a donut at no additional charge, that’s a nice surprise and probably feels like “free.” But it’s not.
Free is when you get something for nothing. Dunkin’ Donuts’ National Donut Day promotion is when you get two somethings for the price of one of those somethings. That’s a pretty good deal, but that isn’t free.You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me @dougsaffir