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Saturday Night’s Not All Right For Ice Cream

January 6, 2008

I freely acknowledge a certain fact about my life, and that is that I don’t really get out much.  This manifests itself in a lot of ways, but perhaps none more pathetic than when you hear that going to the supermarket on a Saturday evening is something I look forward to. 

Keep in mind that my choice of food purveyor is not a usual one – it’s Stew Leonards, dubbed the Disney World of supermarkets.  If you’re in marketing, you simply must visit this store sometime and see how they work.  Mr IT said something about them having higher sales per square foot than most other supermarkets, but they still deliver an amazing customer experience.  Singing bananas, costumed cows and chickens walking around, and, in warmer months, a little animal farm for petting make it more tolerable than the average mega-mart.  Their dairy products are the best – everything is so fresh.  Meat and vegetables are also top notch.  You can’t do much better than their prepared convenience foods.  Their customer service is remarkable.  But it’s not any of those that got Little IT and me off the couch last night.  It’s the ice cream parlor.

Stew Leonard’s has some of the the best soft serve ice cream, period.  Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate are standbys, but they often have seasonal flavors like peppermint, apple pie and pumpkin.  I love it all.  The stuff takes me right back to my childhood.  I grew up on Carvel, but now find it a bit gummy. 

Anyhow, flash back to last night.  Little IT and I park and head into the building.  We begin discussing when we would have the ice cream, first and eat it as we went through the store, or would we get it on the way out, to go, and eat it at home.  When your cash register receipt totals more than $100, you “win” a free ice cream or coffee, so we often go after we’ve completed our shopping to claim our prize.  But last night, we decided to get it first, and excitedly walked up to the counter to see the following sign:

The ice cream parlor is out of service

We apologize for any inconvenience.

And with that, our dreams of a fun Saturday night were dashed.  I have no idea why the machines weren’t working, but there was little we could do to remedy the situation.  When you want fresh soft serve, nothing from the freezer case will do.  Little IT was indignant, and walked around the store the whole night griping about our ice cream occlusion.  We shared our grief with our cashier, whose own dreams were dashed as she planned to grab a cone after work. 

Consolation was found in a box of fresh glazed chocolate donuts, a new product at Stew’s which took over for fall’s apple cider donuts.  The donuts, they claim, are made with Stew’s chocolate milk, which is the best around.  They were quite good, but we did remark how much better the warm donuts would be mashed up with some vanilla soft serve.  

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