Dunkin’ Donuts has been exposed! Apparently, the chain has been duping its customers with fake butter.
According to Uproxx, a Massachusetts man named Jan Polanik has issued a lawsuit against the chain for using artificial butter on his bagels between June 2012 and June 2016.
Although butter is printed on the eatery’s menu, Polanik was served a deceitful substitute, which he paid 25 cents for each time. Now, he wants justice.
“The main thrust of the case, really, is to get the stores, and hopefully Dunkin’ Donuts generally, to change that practice and not deceive people,” said Polanik’s attorney, Thomas G. Shapiro, in an official statement.
The suit seeks $500 for Polanik as an “incentive award” for filing the suit, requests for up to 1,400 Massachusetts residents to redeem four free baked goods with real butter, and forces 23 Dunkin’ Donuts locations throughout the state to serve only real butter for at least one year. (But let's be honest, does butter really belong on a bagel anyway?)
Additionally, the suit requests that if the chain decides to revert back to its fake butter in the future, they must explicitly state that on its menus — seems fair enough.
According to The New York Times, back in 2013, a spokesperson for Dunkin’ Donuts named Lindsay Harrington explained why a substitute vegetable spread would be used in place of butter.
“For food safety reasons, we do not allow butter to be stored at room temperature, which is the temperature necessary for butter to be easily spread onto a bagel or pastry,” Harrington told The Boston Globe. She said the recommended protocol was for individual whipped butter packets to be served on the side with a bagel or pastry, but not applied. “The vegetable spread is generally used if the employee applies the topping,” she noted.
Although that may be a reasonable excuse for the artificial spread, it still doesn’t explain why that little detail isn’t mentioned to customers when they order. If they were made aware of this, they may just opt to take a packet rather than settle for the fake butter. Keeping them in the dark relinquishes them of their right to make that call for themselves.
While transparency in the food industry is more of a novel idea than a reality in general, Polanik’s efforts are commendable. Is a little bit of honesty too much to ask?
Interestingly enough, Polanik’s efforts are reminiscent of the time an Illinois woman sued Starbucks for cheating customers out of the cold beverages they pay for by filling the cups up with too much ice.
Who knows what will become of this fake butter case? If nothing else, it certainly sheds light on the importance of paying attention to detail while dining out to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Mike Mozart