Krispy Kreme finds itself in a sticky mess
Say it isn't so…
Amidst reports it upped shipments to cover declining sales, Krispy Kreme is refiguring its earnings for the past fiscal year, causing its stock to tumble and analysts to predict hard times ahead for the doughnut company.
Enron, Woldcom, HealthSouth and now Krispy Kreme, all in hot oil, so to speak, over alleged shady accounting.
What's next? We will learn that Chef Boyardee was really Chinese? That Tony the Tiger wore a fur coat – other than his own – to a movie premiere? That Mrs. Butterworth uses sweatshops to make her syrup?
Federal officials allege Krispy Kreme overshipped doughnuts to wholesalers at the end of fiscal year 2004, only to credit them back at the start of fiscal year 2005. The scheme, officials say, was an effort to pad the profits to meet Wall Street projections. A little extra glaze on top, so to speak.
Through all the allegations and denials, I couldn't help but wonder what Lucy thought about the whole mess. Lucy was a nice lady who worked at the Krispy Kreme doughnuts in East Lake. We used to go there after high school and, even though I'm sure we were annoying and never left a tip, Lucy would let us sit there and hang out at the counter.
For 50 cents, you could get a doughnut. If you had another 50 cents, you could get a drink. My choice was cake doughnut with chocolate and peanuts on top, with a glass of water. I ordered this so much that eventually Lucy knew exactly what I wanted and I didn't even need to say anything when I walked in the store.
All of this doughnut eating and talking with Lucy was taking place about 1987, long before the low-carb craze hit and people abandoned good gooey things such as doughnuts. I don't know if Lucy is still working at Krispy Kreme, but I think about her every time I'm back in Birmingham and drive by the East Lake store.
The "hot now" sign is still out front, calling all high-carb eaters in like a beacon.
Government officials say Krispy Kreme's leaders sold their own company stock when they knew things were going badly, pocketing some $19 million from the deal. I doubt Lucy saw any of that money, even though the doughnuts now cost more than 50 cents.
I hope Krispy Kreme makes it through the hard times and comes out on top. I hope Lucy still works at Krispy Kreme in East Lake. I hope groups of broke high school kids still can find a snack there after school.
And I hope we all learn a valuable lesson from this mess: Into each life, a little glaze must fall.