Apparently, life in Shamokin, a central Pennsylvania city of under 8,000 people stuck in the no man’s land between New York City and Pittsburgh, is pretty quiet. When the area’s Dunkin’ Donuts shut down due to extensive fire damage—damage caused by arson, no less—it was big news. For the rest of us, however, the biggest news coming out of Shamokin isn’t the actual Dunkin’ Donuts fire, but the reaction from residents TV station WNEP-TV was able to capture for the local news. Local news broadcasts choosing the strangest soundbites they can find from people on the street has kind of become a meme of its own—all sorts of quotable quotes from “I like turtles” to “hide ya wife, hide ya kids” to “ain’t nobody got time for that” come from this wonderful genre—and WNEP’s Nikki Krize landed some good ones.
On camera interviews with residents like Shamokin’s Dutch Smith start simple enough: “I go there every day; I get a chicken bacon croissant or I get some coffee,” he says. “Powerade, if I’m dehydrated.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; later he admits, “If I have any legal work that I need to do, I go there. I meet with my attorney’s there.” Look, I’m hoping Smith runs a small business in town, though his ambiguity isn’t doing him any favors.
But at least Smith knows what Dunkin’ Donuts is selling. “A lot of my friends go in there; get the cold coffee,” Edna Faust says. “‘Iced coffee’ I guess it’s called?” Alright, sure, she’s apparently not the most dedicated of Dunkin’ Donut fans, but that’s OK. Another Dunkin’ fan on the scene, Alba Wehr, says, “Now I have to rely on myself to go to maybe a Turkey Hill, or something, where I don’t like their doughnuts. I’d rather the doughnuts at Dunkin’ Donuts. And I’m kinda dealing with it, but I really miss Dunkin’ Donuts.”
It’s safe to say that Shamokinites loved their Dunkin’. Most people would probably swing by the DD, see it’s closed, and realize they’ll just have to go somewhere else for breakfast. Not many people would loiter on the sidewalk lamenting the situation until the local news shows up. But maybe there aren’t any other options. “It’s the only thing this town has,” Smith says, sadly. Sure, Shamokin is probably a nice little hamlet. But based on the interviews its townsfolk gave, all I can imagine is a place with a sign that reads, “Welcome to Shamokin! We used to have a Dunkin’ Donuts.”
Here’s hoping the Dunkin’ Donuts reopens soon.