I always had a soft spot in my heart for the humble donut. Long years after the cappuccino and croissant became the preferred breakfast of young urban professionals, I would always sneak into the little donut shop on the corner for my glazed twisty and cuppa cheap coffee. Then Starbucks came on the scene, and I never looked back.

Now venerable donut chain Dunkin' Donuts is beckoning again. The chain is offering 99-cent cafe lattes in the afternoon hours, hoping to lure cash-strapped consumers who've shirked their $4 Starbucks afternoon fix.

The lattes, which normally sell for between $2.59 and $2.79 depending on the market, will sell for 99-cents at all stores between 2 and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. As Homer Simpson would say, "Woo-HOO!"
The promotion was launched in part to counter a similar promotion pushed by Starbucks, in which it charged customers only $2 for an iced coffee drink in the afternoon, with a receipt from earlier in the day. This in recognition that the expensive coffee drink is often the first little luxury to go in hard economic times.

Now that the words "Crisis" and "Depression" are in the air, the cheap coffee promotion is certainly an idea whose time has come. And snacks are sure to follow. Dunkin' Donuts is also offering an all-day 99-cent egg and cheese sandwich with the purchase of a medium or large hot coffee.

Both deals last through November 11. Something's gotta get us through the bailout vote and the elections.

The times, they are a changin'. I don't know about you, but I'm so there. I'm there this very afternoon, thank you. And I'll still be picking up that glazed twisty, too.

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