It’s a household tradition around here to take a child out for ice cream on the night before his birthday. Accordingly, I took one of them the other day to Baskin-Robbins, and I also took the opportunity to see how a local Tri-Citian would satisfy my insatiable desire for surprises.
- The boy here would like a single scoop of “Mint Chocolate Chip” on a sugar cone. And for myself, I’d like you to surprise me. Anything on the menu is fair game!
- (looks down meekly and laughs to himself) uhm, okay. Uh, would you like it in a cone or a bowl?
- Your call! Surprise me!
- (smiles nervously)
This was a curious experience, because the fellow behind the counter almost seemed embarrassed about the whole thing. It was as if my asking him to surprise me was like asking him to hold my purse while I used the restroom. Not that I have a purse. Or that I would ask anyone to hold it if I did.
After getting past the initial social awkwardness of someone asking to be blindly surprised, the kind man handed me a single scoop of “Salty Caramel” ice cream on a sugar cone.
Scoring Breakdown: Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream
|Audacity||Frankly, the poor fellow seemed rather meek and apologetic. He literally avoided eye contact with me as soon as I’d asked to be surprised. Then he asked me about my preferences (cone vs bowl, when I didn’t even limit him to ice cream), and finally he chose a fairly safe flavor – caramel in vanilla ice cream.|
|Reaction||I give the server a neutral on this one because while he did seem embarrassed about the thing, at least he smiled and laughed a little instead of heaving a sigh and looking toward heaven.|
|Discovery||I probably wouldn’t have ordered Salty Caramel among other choices, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary as far as ice cream goes.|
|Satisfaction||I doubt I’ll order Salty Caramel again; other ice cream flavors are much more interesting.|
Overall score: -2. This might be a little harsh, but I really was expecting more from Baskin-Robbins – they have all kinds of weird flavors and odd stuff on the menu. This didn’t really broaden my taste horizons.
Observations to Date
I have only completed four of these little vignettes, but already I am beginning to detect patterns.
Safety bets. Nobody has yet given me anything that would remotely qualify as being “off the beaten path” (except possibly the “Grandma’s Cake Batter” ice cream, but I’m informed that cake-batter-flavored stuff is a “thing” now, so apparently it’s on the beaten path). People seem more eager to minimize risk than to offer me something potentially unpleasant.
Nobody else does this. Maybe I’m way off base here, but I would have thought servers would encounter this type of thing more often. I’m a pretty boring person, so surely other more exciting folks must ask for surprises occasionally? Server reactions thus far suggest that the answer to that is “no.”
Let the surprises continue! Being that I do not wish to spend exorbitant amounts of money going out to eat all the time, I am devising creative new ways to apply this methodology of surprise. Stay tuned.