Dunkin’ Donuts is not for people who “like coffee.” Dunkin’ is for the hardened New Englander that requires access to an affordably-priced 32-oz carafe of diluted caffeine on every block. It doesn’t need to be made well, or really even need to taste good. It just needs to be reliably available at a ratio of one Dunkin’ to every 10 people, and it needs to cost at least 30 percent less than Starbucks.
You’re practically born with a large Dunkin’ iced coffee cup in your little fist when you come out of the womb in Massachusetts. Why the hell do you think Ben Affleck drinks so much of it? For the last several years, the Dunkin’ app’s former rewards program, DD Perks, helped facilitate many a Dunkin’ habit. It was easy to make an already moderately priced coffee even cheaper by quickly building up points which could be used toward a free coffee of your choice. Just last week, however, Dunkin’ released an updated Dunkin’ Rewards system that has upended all of this — leaving some Dunkin’ stans in shambles.
In the previous DD Perks system, customers received five points per dollar, which could be redeemed for any size or any style of coffee at 200 points. With a 100-point bonus on Mondays, many regular Dunkin’ drinkers were able to receive a free drink every one to two weeks. Under the new Dunkin’ Rewards program, customers receive 10 points per dollar, but it now requires between 500 to 900 points to redeem for coffee, depending on the order. This means that a free Dunkin’ signature latte that once could have been earned with $40 of spending now requires $90. For many of those on r/DunkinDonuts, the Dunkin-centric subreddit, this change is enough to say goodbye to the brand for good.
Across the subreddit, frequent Dunkiners are expressing their frustration with the change. “I no longer run on Dunkin,” u/PeepnSheep wrote three days ago. “What idiot do you think I am, Dunkin’? I’m making LESS points and unlocking LESS rewards thanks to this new stingy system,” said u/Quack-Zack yesterday, including a middle finger emoji.
While Dunkin’ Rewards allows people to redeem points for food, which wasn’t an option under DD Perks, the program also does away with free birthday drinks. What seems to be pissing people off the most, though, is the language Dunkin has used surrounding the shift. For example, the Dunkin’ website explains that the change was made “Because our members deserve more! Dunkin’ Rewards is designed to help keep you running all day long with the best that Dunkin’ has to offer.” As u/thisthatandthe3rd posted last week, telling customers they’re getting more when they now have to spend more, too, feels like an insult. “Don’t try to piss on me and tell me it’s raining,” they said.
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Of course, plenty of frustrated customers will continue to buy from Dunkin, because you’re basically always within sight of one, like the monsters from It Follows, if you live in the Northeast. Still, many on the subreddit have begun discussing how much money they’ll save by never going to Dunkin’ again, and others have plotted out their newfound commitment to Starbucks, McDonald’s, or regional gas stations like Wawa for their caffeine fix. Some have even been sharing Amazon links to products that will help recreate their usual Dunkin’ orders at home. Strawberry syrup on Amazon? $9.61. Reward redemption value for a large cold brew in Dunkin’ Rewards? $70.
The feeling of treating this corporate change like it’s mob drama straight out of The Departed and stubbornly boycotting Dunkin’ forevermore? Priceless.