a vision of customer service hell

File this, I guess, under “predictably strange side-effects of working in Times Square.”

So this afternoon, some of my lovely co-workers dropped into my office and dragged me (without much argument at the time) over to something called Coldstone Creamery.

Now, I’d never heard of this thing before, but apparently Coldstone Creamery is, like everything on 42nd Street between 6th and 8th, a franchise operation. Specifically, they’re a mid-range ice cream shop. The primary gimmick is that they’re not really interested in serving straight-up ice cream: instead, you order one of a number of deadly “creations” from a menu, and they assemble them for you by smashing in assorted additions (nuts, candybar bits, cookies, syrups, chips, etc) with metal paddles on a chilled bar before plating and serving.

Okay, nothing terribly horrible there except from a nutrition (and possibly taste, but YMMV) perspective, but we’re not actually done yet. Because Coldstone Creamery has one other little innovation to add in the customer service and presentation department:

They sing.

Every time someone puts some change into the tipjar, and also at just regular (roughly once every 2-3 minutes) intervals as the line of customers snakes through the store, the entire staff has to burst out singing, in unison, one of about a dozen or so Official Corporate Jingles, most of which are rewritten snatches from either current popular songs (My Milkshake, etc) or military marching chants.

The horror. The horror.

Now, I have had some crappy jobs in my life. I have spent months in a converted broom closet being sneered at by Wharton students. I have mowed lawns, walked dogs, dug ditches and flipped burgers. But none of them, not even Burger King, ever asked me to sing, on cue, in front of the customers.

For this, I am more grateful than I can ever express.

(For the record, I had the Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip. I had the smallest serving they offered, and at the moment it is only by immense force of personal will that I am not vibrating a rift through the space-time continuum. If you notice any major violations of General Relativity in your area in the next 90 minutes, or hear a very large explosion from the vicinity of 40th Street, you know who to sue.)

Postscript: Since several people complained that the soundclip above was not actually a link to any of the Coldstone jingles… Well, their website, thankfully, doesn’t have any clips, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it that this happened. Of the dozen or so we heard while I was there, the two that I was unable to blot out were:

“Coldstone, Coldstone / Whatcha gonna do? / Whatcha gonna do when we scoop for you?”
“I don’t know but I’ve been told / coldstone cream is mighty cold!”

…and there was definitly one based on Ferris’ “My Milkshake”, but I am thankfully unable to remember.

Remember: you asked.

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