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The City Journals

Line stretches around businesses for free cake — here’s why people waited for hours

Jan 08, 2020 02:07PM ● By Julie Slama

Four of the first 22 people in line at Nothing Bundt Cake pose with their punch cards, which are good for a free Bundtlet each month for one year. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

At 4 a.m., Nov. 15, Lauren Wilkinson bundled up and left her family asleep in their Herriman home. She drove 20 minutes so she could camp out in front of Nothing Bundt Cakes.

“I saw it on my Facebook news feed that the first 22 people would receive a free Bundtlet (mini-Bundt cake) each month for a year,” she said. “It got me right there; I love sweets so much.”

Wilkinson was the first to arrive and set camp outside the Sandy store. She was prepared with a chair, hat and gloves — and her husband came later to give her a blanket and breakfast.

“This is definitely my part-time job, a way I can support the family,” she said, adding that she has waited outside of the openings of Chick-fil-A, Costa Vida and Kentucky Fried Chicken to be awarded free food meals, some weekly for a year. “I learned that with some lines, there are people who wait there a whole day beforehand. I just couldn’t sleep, that’s why I came early.”

She was there about four hours before the next person joined to create a line, still three hours and 15 minutes before the first 22 guests in line received punch cards for free Bundtlets for a year and other guests received a free confetti Bundtlet while supplies lasted during that hour.

“I was blasting my friends that I was the only one here,” she said. “It’s great exposure for Nothing Bundt Cake and a great deal for us who love their cake.”

Franchise owner April Wise, who awarded Wilkinson with a full-size Bundt cake, said the promotion was created from corporate offices to honor the company’s 22 years in business at more than 350 franchises nationwide — on National Bundt Cake Day. 

“We didn’t create it, but we just wanted to have fun with it,” Wise said. 

During the last hour before passing out Bundtlets, Wise posed trivia questions from who started Nothing Bundt Cake and in what year to how many different kinds of Bundt cakes are regularly offered in addition to the special monthly flavors. Winners received mugs, Bundtlets and other items.

Sandy’s franchise was the sixth to open.

“I lived in Las Vegas and fell in love with my first Bundtlet — pumpkin chocolate chip,” Wise said. “After going into the store all the time, I saw a brochure on how to open your own franchise, so it just fell into my lap. I moved here 12 years ago because there wasn’t a location in Sandy.”

According to the National Museum of American History, Bundt cakes, baked in a distinctive center hole shape, were inspired by a traditional European cake, but became popular in the 1950s and 1960s, after cookware manufacturer Nordic Ware trademarked the name “Bundt” and began producing Bundt pans from cast aluminum

Bailee Guymon, who was No. 12 in line, traveled from Holladay to secure her free Bundtlet each month for the next year. Red velvet is her favorite.

“This is the closest location,” she said. “My husband and I like cake. I used to live in Sacramento and it was pretty popular there. This is ‘totally’ worth it to get a free Bundtlet every month.”

This is the first time she has waited outside a food franchise to receive a freebie. (She did wait two hours before for a $20 Ulta Beauty gift card.)

Trina Sharp and Jessica Navarro have had fun standing and sleeping outside of the openings of Krispy Kreme, Costa Vida and now Nothing Bundt Cakes to score free items.

“I like free; it’s hard saying no to free,” Sharp said. “Waiting in line here was an easy decision. Their cakes are super yummy; raspberry white chocolate is my favorite.”

Sharp said her sister told her about the promotion and she shared it with Navarro.

“If you figure out the cost of your time per hour, it’s not always worth it,” Navarro said. “But it’s fun; we meet people and create so many memories.”

Even after the first 22 people received their punch cards, the line stretched more than 75 people around the corner of the strip of businesses to receive a free confetti Bundtlet.

Christi Argyle, with 18-month-old Sara Wertz-Holland, were amongst them.

“I love Nothing Bundt Cakes,” Argyle said, adding that her first time eating the product was in 2013 in San Diego. “They’re delicious.”