Ice Cream Truck

It’s summer. And you know what that means kids. Yes, every few days you get to hear the little jingle that tells you the ice cream man is near. I find it interesting that the same sound can cause both delight and horror depending on who you are.

Kids love the sound of the ice cream truck. It calls to them with an enticing melody. They can’t resist running out with their coins to spend money on ice cream. The thing that makes this very ironic is that most homes already have plenty of ice cream in the freezer. But that doesn’t matter.

Kids can have just finished a big bowl of their favorite ice cream. And if they hear the sound of the ice cream truck, they may say that they feel cheated because they wanted to get ice cream from the truck. I tend to believe this is less about ice cream and more about wanting to buy something that they don’t have.

The pressure to payout intensifies if kids look out the window and see their friends bouncing toward the truck with money in hand. It’s almost as if the kids feel like they are not as cool, loved or priviledged as their friends unless they too can be a customer. I wonder if the kids use this as a barometer to indicate who is really in charge in their house. They might even do this without knowing it.

 Most adults (especially parents) hate the ice cream truck sound. First, they know it is going to start a barrage of begging and pitiful gestures by kids who want adults to pay for ice cream. As the sound gets nearer, the kids become more desperate. There comes a point where $2 per kids seems reasonable to establish peace and tranquility.

The problem is if adults give in to the kid pressure, this can get expensive in a hurry. You have to draw the line and let them know who’s the boss. On the other hand, you aren’t an ogre. You like ice cream and fun just like the next person. Ice cream trucks bring confrontations to homes by offering kids one more opportunity to be a consumer.

Do most ice cream jingles really qualify as songs? Sure, these simple tunes tend to be catchy. I think that I hear the ice cream song in my sleep sometimes. The truck that drives by my house has this female voice that says “Hello.” Then comes a musical jingle that sounds like a kid’s song from the 1940s. When you hear this sound for 15 minutes, it becomes extremely annoying. Yet, if you go out and buy ice cream, the song strangely seems pleasant and reinforces your purchase.

NPR recently carried a piece on a competition in NY to come up with the best ice cream truck song. At least someone is trying to do something new with these jingles that have gotten more than just a little old. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9945901 

This is just one of those everyday observations that recently stuck out to me while I was trying to talk on the phone as the ice cream truck drove near my home.   

So when you hear that sweet tune do you come running or want to run away? Oh, to be a kid again!

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