Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Krispy Kreme and Zipcar have forged an unlikely alliance: Krispy Kreme brings doughnuts, as could be expected, to people using cars provided by, as may be obvious, Zipcar. All customers have to do is buy a lot of doughnuts (at least $30 worth), pay a delivery fee ($5) and wait for a delivery person to bring the sweet, hot lumps of slow, horrible death.

This is nice of Krispy Kreme, at least because the delivery fee does not cover the cost of an hour’s rental of a Zipcar in Boston — delivery is only from the Prudential Center site, and nearby Zipcars start with minimal one-hour rental fees from $9.50 to $12.50 — and even nicer of Zipcar, because this little partnership is against its rules and effectively takes a Zipcar off the streets. Out of the crunchy, urban driving gloves of its users.

“The use of a Zipcar vehicle under the following conditions is prohibited,” the rules say, starting with “any speed race, competition or timely delivery of goods.” Even the “Zipcar to Business Driving” plans discuss hourly or daily rental, meaning something’s got to give: Either Krispy Kreme rents a car daily, every day it’s open, which is all week, removing a car from the streets; or it plays the hourly rental game, in which it may be unable to deliver reliably because cars are rented out from under it.

Cold Krispy Kreme doughnuts aren’t so special. And unreliable delivery is hardly a selling point for a company that’s already struggling.

In perhaps a warning sign, when the Boston Herald wanted Krispy Kreme to send over a driver in a Zipcar, for a photograph, Krispy Kreme officials resisted.

Because, it’s all too possible, there was no Zipcar available.

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