How Christmas Donuts Changed the World
6:10 AM December 19th at the Drip ’n’ Donuts shop, north side of Columbus OH
Huck (aka, “Hyung-ki”) objected to several things about wearing his Drip ’n’ Donuts nametag. First, as a matter of principle, he disapproved of wearing any trademarked corporate logo or brand name. Not even images that were familiar or fondly regarded — like those for bars, beers, cartoon characters, sports teams, rock bands, superheroes, or Brutus Buckeye — were free from the taint of moneyed sponsorship. Huck’s antipathy to anything commercial included the Drip ’n’ Donuts logo — one D dripping onto a second D, lying on its back — despite his being required to wear its matching cap, shirt, and nametag as a condition of his job.
Second, as he’d explained to his boss, Ms. Johar, numerous times, he did not feel that it was fair or appropriate for front line employees to surrender their identities by displaying nametags on their chests, while managers were not required to similarly reveal themselves. His appeals failed to move her.
Third, even though his given name was, in fact, Hyun-ki, as shown on his nametag, he was born and bred in rural Knox County Ohio, the corn-fed son of a farmer, and nobody had ever called him that, not even his South Korean mother who’d named him. For all his life he’d answered only to “Huck.” Ms. Johar thought it improved the shop’s diversity quota by making him identify as “Hyun-ki,” though.
As a form of passive protest, when he pinned the nametag to his shirt, he left it loose and crooked, dangling face down, so that if somebody really wanted to read it, they’d have to bend over and tilt their heads as if they were ducking for low clearance.
It was already a busy morning. Chavonne fussed with her headset. “I ain’t ne’er gonna git used to wearing this thing,” she complained. “It reminds me of when I was a kid and had to wear braces.”
“Would you prefer to switch jobs?” he asked.
“Nuh uh, no way!” Chavonne held an empty mayonnaise jar with a post-it pad taped to it, on which she’d written the word “TIPS” in bold marker. She dug into her pockets and unearthed a one-dollar bill and…