Sweet Observations. Part 1: The Butter Pecan Phenomenon

So I’ve been working in an ice cream shop for almost a year now, and I figure it’s about time to bring to light a few of the things I’ve taken notice of. More than likely this will be part one of a seventy part series, because I’ve been given plenty of material to work with, but don’t worry, my observations will be short and sweet.

You can tell a lot about a person by the type of ice cream they order. I’ve spotted trends amongst the sorts of people who order specific flavors, but perhaps the strongest I’ve seen is what I like to call “the butter pecan phenomenon.” The obsession that those over the age of sixty seem to have with butter pecan ice cream is strong. I’m fairly convinced that on your sixtieth birthday, as soon as you blow out the candles on your birthday cake (or have made good use of the fire extinguisher in the corner) you develop an insatiable thirst for butter pecan ice cream. I’m serious here, 8 out of 10 seniors who walk into our shop ask if we have a butter pecan.

Now our shop has upwards of forty-five flavors readily available at all times, but guess which flavor is not included in those forty-five? Butter. Pecan. If you were disappointed to hear this, I’m guessing you are also eligible for the senior discount at the movie theater.

The utter despair that follows “Unfortunately we don’t have a butter pecan,” would cause some to believe that these devoted butter pecaners had just learned our flavors were limited to brussel sprout or chicken of the sea. Don’t you dare try and steer them towards another flavor, because it will just not be the same. Pistachio? How dare you!

After this, there will be a long period of sighing, lamenting the lack of their favorite flavor, as if this grief will somehow cause a bucket of butter pecan to miraculously appear in shop. When this doesn’t happen they’ll try about 20 other flavors, and you’ll cross your fingers they don’t ask for rum raisin, because that’s second on the elderly’s most popular list and second on the list of few flavors we don’t have.

Eventually they’ll find something that works, and you might even believe for a moment they’ve gotten over their beloved butter pecan. They’ll comment how wonderful this new chocolate flavor is, or how sweet the lemon bar is, and you’ll smile, glad that they found something just as good as butter pecan. And then they’ll get to the door and casually mention over their shoulders: “You really should have a butter pecan.”