Friday, August 22, 2008

Buying Ice Cream With Your Eyes

When you go to an ice cream dip shop…..tell me this: How do you buy your ice cream?

I asked a friend this question and she looked at me a little puzzled. “With cash?”

Now, generally, the whole ice cream parlor experience should be a total sensory one. I have visited several parlors that do this very well. When I walk in, I feel wrapped in indulgence. It is a visual plethora of colors and textures of which I can feast my eyeballs upon – rich, dark chocolates, brightly hued sherbets, creamy peanut butter pieces, chocolate chips, raspberry revels, fluffy whipped cream, bright, sparkly, red cherries. I don’t even care how many calories I am about to stick in my body! I don’t care how much it is going to cost me to buy ice cream for myself and my two “bottomless pit” boys. All I do care about is that the fresh-faced soda jerk isn’t a stingy one. Load me up, ice cream kid!!

Even in the frozen food isle at the grocery store, I don’t buy a single package of ice cream unless I feel I have a VERY descriptive picture of the ice cream plastered all over the packaging. I want an indulgent name and I want to see how good it could look in my bowl. I guess I am just a visual kind of gal.

I think most of us can say that we buy ice cream with our eyes.

Because I have friends in one particular geographic location, I have frequented a couple of store locations of a popular regional ice cream dip-shop franchise in that part of the country. After visiting a couple of store locations of this franchise, it occurred to me that none of their stores show you what the ice cream looks like!! The nerve!!

The only view of their ice cream product is what is featured on lively, full color posters adorning the shop walls. The posters show one or two featured sundae choices but you NEVER get to see the actual ice cream selection in the dipping cabinet! In fact, it took me a couple of minutes to even find the menu board!

I decided I wanted to try one of the sundaes on the poster, since it was the only flavor of ice cream I could actually identify the flavor appearance with the name. The poster showed the sundae served on a frog’s head. I am pretty sure it was not the image of a real frog but that of a cute, colorful plastic frog. I know – weird but that was why I wanted to try it! They served it to me, instead, in a pastel-colored cardboard dish. What?? No cutie little frog head?!

My “man-friend” was confused because he, too, thought the sundae was served in a dish on a fake frog’s head. Imagine our disappointment when our server informed us that the poster was not depicting a sundae that was actually served on a frog’s head but, rather, a doctored-up photo representation of what (I am thinking) their ice cream sundae would look like if it was actually served atop the noggin of an amphibian. Don’t offer me a serving suggestion of placing ice cream on a frog and not mean it. That’s just being a tease.

So, let this be a lesson to you, “Mr. Popular-Ice Cream-Parlor-Franchise-Somewhere-In-The-Mid-Section-Of-This-Country”: Ice cream parlors that don’t show us your ice cream?? To use the words of the great ice cream lover, himself, 40th U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, I cry out: “Tear down this wall!” Let us see the glorious flavors and colors and inclusions in your wildly creative and unique flavors. Don’t sell me “Mississippi Chew” and expect me to know what is in it or what it looks like without being able to see it! Pull back that fancy oak paneling and let us see that ice cream. Unless there is something you are trying to hide….

Oh…and if you are gonna tell me that the ice cream is served on a frog’s head? Well, I think you know where I stand.

Until then, I remain…..1SweetMama

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