When I applied for a job at my favorite childhood ice cream shop I knew one thing already: I would be eating way too much ice cream. This has proven itself to be true, but after three years of asking my customers what I can get for them I have run into a few other details that were left out of the job description.
1. Your right arm is the key to success
Serving ice cream becomes an art form when that creamy goodness freezes into a block of what seems like all ice and no cream. To make a long story short, I could definitely lift 20 pounds more with my right arm than my left. Focus on your right arm at the gym before applying to any ice cream store!
2. Ice cream loves your clothing
Your favorite sweatshirt? Don’t ever wear it to work at an ice cream shop. Leave any clothing that you even remotely care about at home because if not, it will become a magnet for ice cream, jimmies, hot fudge -- the list goes on.
3. You know the smell
Whatever you do decide to wear to work will return from a shift with a very distinct, unforgettable stench. Something you can’t quite put your finger on; is it spoiled milk or rotten chocolate all over you? Roll those windows down on the way home from work because that ride is bound to be stinky.
4. Customers need your help
"Where are the Napkins?” “They’re behind you, on the post.” This is a conversation that occurs at my workplace with 80% of our patrons. We’ve tried signs, we’ve made it clear, but they need our help. They’re either coming to the window to remind us that their ice cream was supposed to have jimmies or to ask where we keep the napkins, and I’ve come to terms with it.
5. Jimmies or sprinkles
Are jimmies chocolate while sprinkles are rainbow? Or are they all jimmies? Or could they all be sprinkles? Every creamery has their own idea of the mini wax-like shavings, but no matter what you call them they get EVERYWHERE.
6. Soft serve is actually hard
It took me about a month of trying until I understood the concept and hand-eye coordination needed to twist the right spiral for a soft serve ice cream. It's one thing if they order it in a cup but its another when it’s in a cone. Pull down the lever and say a little prayer because a chocolate-vanilla swirl just might explode into your face.
7. Did someone say frappe?
Its one minute until close and theres one customer in line. If you work at an ice cream place, you know exactly what their order will be. That’s right, the messiest, milkiest, most likely to spill delicacy you offer; it’s a frappe.
At the end of the night, we understand that everyone loves ice cream. From babies to adults to dogs and birds we see them all from the window, and scoop their ice cream just the same. And then add jimmies.