Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cooling The Pink Chill

My family put an ice cream shop out of business when I was a kid.

This is how my husband tells the story. I still don't think it was that sinister. I mean, the place went out of business, that's a fact. Was it my fault? It's hard to say. The establishment could just have easily been laundering money for a meth lab and closed due to DEA scrutiny. (Someone's been watching an inadvisable amount of Breaking Bad.) The truth is, we just don't know what happened for sure.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, my mom and aunt were having a great string of luck with the local radio station's on-air contests. I won't name this radio station because my husband is rather certain the owners of the Pink Chill are among my eight blog readers. He also thinks they harbor ill-will and would like to burn my house down.

He's been watching Breaking Bad with me.

So for a while when this radio station had a contest, either my mom or my aunt won. It was one of the only times in my life I've felt a contest was fixed in favor of someone I knew personally. My aunt won this huge prize package and the radio station broadcast came to her house for the morning. The next year, my mom won the big prize and the radio station came to our house. I've already written about my mother's gnocchi winning a contest. We were winning winners who won.

Among our many prizes was a packet of coupons for a newish ice cream joint in town, The Pink Chill.

I'd been to The Pink Chill before. It was located in the same plaza as the practitioner that adjusted my scoliosis brace. You can picture me now eating my ice cream in my back brace? I probably was scaring their customers away from the start.

Be thankful I couldn't find a higher resolution version of this image.

So this pack contained 50 coupons, each good for a free strawberry milkshake or an item of equal or lesser value.

There was no fine print. It was just straight up free ice cream. Theoretically, we could have walked into this ice cream shop with 50 of our closest friends and retrieved free ice cream for all of us all at once. It was a wildly popular prize for my family.

We started hitting The Pink Chill regularly. In hindsight, it is notable that we were always alone on the 1950's inspired vinyl and chrome bar stools. Other customers never came by to witness the palpable disdain of the cashier as she gave away her product for free.

But we'd won a contest. We kept going back to claim or prize. We ate a lot of ice cream. Or maybe it was like three ice creams. For one great shining moment, we had the hookup for frozen treats. Right up until the pink neon lights turned off for the last time and a "closed for business" sign covered the door.

Was it my fault? I don't think so. It was disappointment with a cherry on top to be sure. But at least it was free.