The popular saying: “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” can be heard loud and clear, nationwide Tuesday April 8 2014. It only comes once a year, but for adult lovers of the sweet, cold treat it is an excuse to feel like a kid again, free of charge. Many may recall running down the street as a child, chasing after the local ice cream truck – forking over their parents’ money in exchange for pure flavorful bliss. Well, today millions can experience the feeling of recapturing a childhood moment without having to dig into their pockets or chase after a moving vehicle. Ben and Jerry’s have brought back their annual day of joy, as anyone who walks into one of their stores can also walk out with a free ice cream cone.
There are not many companies out there that give out their prized products for free, ever, let alone one day a year. It seems to be a humble way for the founders of the ice cream giant to offer an appreciation of their loyal customers. Founded 36 years ago in 1978, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield had to have known they were onto something. But, did they foresee just how huge their brand would actually become? With 300 franchises across the U.S., there will be a lot of free ice cream given out today.
The tradition, billed as “Free Cone Day”, was started in 1979. That marked the one-year anniversary of Ben and Jerry opening their first ice cream shop in Burlington, Vermont. To their credit, Free Cone Day has now become an annual event. On this day, anyone can simply enter a Ben and Jerry’s location and request, for free, a cone with one scoop of any ice cream flavor they choose. With so many wonderful concoctions from the dynamic duo, it may be hard to choose just one. However, 3 new flavors introduced in 2014 may be especially in demand: Salted Caramel Blondie, Hazed & Confused, and Cotton Candy.
This celebration of an age-old treat is a testament to the staying power of Ben and Jerry’s. One cannot keep a company running this long without the extreme care and consideration in their product and policies. Aside from the delicious ice cream Ben and Jerry’s have demonstrated philanthropy and social consciousness. They have provided assistance to the non-profit program Children’s Defense Fund, and they have also strongly advocated against the use of growth hormone in milk-producing cows.
The company, which was started by two childhood friends over three decades ago, has come along way. On Free Cone Day in 2013 1,000,000 cones were served, according to a company spokesperson. On Long Island, one franchise owner boasts that she usually serves up to 7,000 cones alone during the giveaway tradition. A manager of a different locale remarked that last year: “There was a line down the road”. So, ice cream lovers should get ready to start their engines, as Free Cone Day is one festivity they won’t want to miss. On this day, from 12pm to 8pm, Ben and Jerry’s are offering everyone a free ice cream cone as a way of saying: “Thank you and come again!”
Opinion by Josh Taub