Sunday, June 4, 2017

First World Ice Cream Problems

My family loves ice cream. Chocolate ice cream in particular and in the summer we eat it almost every day. As chocolate ice cream connoisseurs we've discovered the very best tub of plain chocolate comes from Trader Joe's. Other bulk ice cream purchases are bound to result in a fight as the three of us have slightly different ideas about what makes an appropriate ice cream mix in. We thought we might solve this problem with Ben & Jerry's pints. Everyone gets their own little container. Then one person (not mentioning any names but it was the youngest of us) ate the whole pint in one sitting. She claimed to be confused about what we were doing. As in she thought we were eating three night's worth of ice cream in one night.

She was pretty sad on nights two and three.

Dessert was a lot of work until we discovered double chocolate Magnum bars. An ice cream novelty, Magnums are like Klondike bars with real chocolate that tastes good in place of the waxy whatever-Klondike-is-dipping-their-ice-cream-patties-in these days. Also the Magnum has a stick.

We'd achieved perfection until stores stopped stocking the double chocolate variety. Peanut butter and weird fruit combinations, some sacrilegious white chocolate concoction, Magnums of every variety except for double chocolate lined the freezer section. The only store that still carries our flavor is Giant Eagle. I don't like shopping at Giant Eagle.

Second from the left, that's our ice cream bar!

Then one day, Julia and I were stalking the Target freezer case for Magnum bars and we saw this glorious display of new Ben & Jerry's Pint Slices. Target was running a buy 15, get 5 more free deal. (That might be an exaggeration but I feel like Target is always trying to get me to buy about 8 more than I need of their sale items.) I thought maybe we'd better try them before committing to a freezer full.

Oh happy day!

Fudge brownie Ben & Jerry's Pint Slices are even better than double chocolate Magnum bars. And there's no stick! It was heaven in a friendly blue wrapper.

For a while, it was all good. Pint slices were readily available.

Until they weren't.

In Target, with my husband, I was ready to stock up for the summer. They had every kind of B&J Pint Slice except fudge brownie.

"This is ridiculous," I said to Tim.
There were 57 Target employees in this aisle restocking the shelves. "Are you finding everything okay?" one of them asked as clearly I was not.

I relayed our difficulty to her. She looked in her handheld stock checking contraption and confirmed that there were no fudge brownie pint slices anywhere.

"I'll put in another request to our distributor," the friendly Target employee said. "I've done it before, I've noticed that shelf's been empty for a while."

"Thanks," I said. "That must be the only flavor anyone likes."

We went home with cookie dough pint slices (blech) and my old friends: shame and guilt. Why is it upsetting to me that out of cases of ice cream options, Target doesn't have the one flavor (okay, two flavors because still no double chocolate Magnums) I want? How can I let that cause me even a moment of distress?

The Internet calls this a "first world problem." It's a meme that even I, in my insulated Twitter-free existence, have seen. First world problems are things like having an unsatisfying massage, being sick of one's iPhone, or (hello 1986) discovering the person before you didn't rewind the VHS tape you just rented.

It's one of those funny-not-funny categories of Internet joke.

Personally, I've found no way to prevent my instant disgust at the empty space where the product I want is supposed to be. Then I feel bad about it. My only consolation is that I'm not sick of my iPhone6 and I've never had a massage. Therefore, I must not be as bad as the rest of you.

Problem solved.