I am not at all ashamed to love Cold Stone Creamery. Sure, I could mix my ice cream and candy together myself, like an animal. At Cold Stone Creamery, they mash your ice cream and candy together like they do for Hollywood celebrities. What’s not to love?
Plus, they’re the only place you can find cake batter flavored ice cream. If you asked me if I wanted to eat a spoonful of cake batter I’d think you were insane. Flavor ice cream with it and I’m handing you six dollars.
So when a Cold Stone Creamery opened in North Hollywood, I was pretty excited. Finally, an ice cream place near my gym. But imagine my surprise when I approached the front door and read:
There are so many things wrong with this sign, I barely know where to begin. To refuse to participate in a “Shrek 5” promotion is one thing, but this is the “Make A Wish” foundation. They’re the guys that help terminally ill kids meet WWE superstar John Cena. Say what you will about the taste of these kids, but at least honor whatever coupon helps them out.
But if you’re going to not participate in an event that helps sick children, at least go down to Kinko’s and make a decent sign. This scrawled out note says, “Hey: I don’t care enough about kids to make a decent sign telling you how little I care about kids! So fuck off, kids!”
This sign, and the other things I experienced inside this Cold Stone Creamery, lead me to believe that its owner is insane. I’ve spent hours cataloging his crimes against basic human decency. I’ve taken dozens of covert photographs of his store, and even interviewed his staff countless times to document his incredible lack of sanity.
And by “interviewed his staff” I mean “ordered ice cream from his staff” but the point remains - I’ve done my homework. Whoever he is, he’s a madman. He’s a goddamned madman.
Here’s an example:
I love this sign - it’s as rational as it is mature. It’s a great way to tell your customers, “Hey, I set weird traps for people. You should come eat my ice cream.”
This guy spent $3 on a fake $100 so he could not catch someone stealing fake money. Makes sense to me! Also: either spend more than 99 cents on a tip jar, or don’t advertise that you spent 99 cents on a tip jar. It’s a great way to tell your employees, “I spent as much on a stuffed fish as I did on your happiness.”
Here’s how the Cold Stone Creamery in Venice labels its tip jar:
See? That’s how you deploy your tip jar, asshole.
In the North Hollywood Cold Stone Creamery, there’s a sign next to their (far crappier) tip jar that says, “New Mix-In: Hazelnut Delights!”
I don’t know what Hazelnut Delights are, but I do enjoy delight. So on my recent visit, I ordered a “Love It!” sized ice cream with them mixed in.
The clerk reached into the tub with tongs and pulled out one.
Then, she pulled out another one.
Then, she closed the lid.
Two Hazelnut Delights is not a Hazelnut Delight. It’s a Hazelnut Outrage.
To think - I could have had a whole Twinkie. But I look at the teenage clerk and I can see straight away - two Hazelnut Delights isn’t her choice. It’s the crazy, crazy guy that owns this place - he told her to do it. He’s the problem. He clearly told her, “You give the customer two. If I see you hand out three, I will put you on the stone and mash you with the Twix.”
So I didn’t complain to the clerk, who was the the only person working at 3 pm on a Saturday, a.k.a., “Fat Guy Prime.” I handed over my $3.95 and I left. But even I’d wanted to complain, I’d be thwarted by another sign:
Why are people trying to return this ice cream? Does it taste like employee tears? You don’t see “no refunds” signs at ice cream shops because it’s a product that’s impossible to hate. It’s delicious, and you eat it the moment it’s handed to you. How badly are they fucking up this ice cream?
Also, that “No $50s” sign is really passive aggressive. Here’s a much better “No $50s” sign, which I photographed at the (much better) Cold Stone Creamery in Santa Monica:
This is how you get shit done, North Hollywood Cold Stone Creamery. You call people “valued customers.” You “apologize for any inconvenience.” You ask people to “enjoy their ice cream.” You don’t treat them like lepers for only having a $50.
There’s is a right way and a wrong way to warn people about your inability to accept $50’s and $100’s. The guy who chose the wrong way is basically Hitler.
I’m so disgusted by everything I’ve seen at this point that I immediately turn to leave. That, and I’ve finished my ice cream. But on my way out, I see this:
Here’s how the thought process for this went:
“Have a nice day!” - nah, makes too much sense.
“Have an “ice” day!” - hmmm…makes less sense, so it’s better.
“Have an “ice cream” day!” - well this is total nonsense, so I think we’re done here. Wait, how about…
“Have a “nice cream” day!” - PERFECT. This makes absolutely no sense. Let’s hang it up and charge people to read it!
After writing a whole article about how much I hate this store, I still regularly continued to eat there. Of course I did. They have cake batter ice cream. Then the other day, I saw this:
This is what happens when you don’t honor Make-A-Wish coupons. This is what happens when you’re stingy with toppings, and taunt would-be thieves, and generally run your store like a total asshole.
That, and a Pinkberry opened up next door. Still, what a dick, am I right?
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