OK, Mister Softee, I’m sure you meant well. But did people really need an app they can download to track where your ice cream trucks are? Have you truly improved the summer experience? Or did you just destroy it?

Let me explain.

Mister Softee, the South Jersey-based ice cream legend, has installed tracking software on its fleet. On the customer end, they ask you to find their Mister Softee tracking app. It’s available through Google play or the Apple app store.

Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Once you have it on your phone you can see where their nearest ice cream truck is. Where it’s going, or when it’s coming. It’s taking all the guesswork out of a delicious treat.

But isn’t it taking all the joyous spontaneity out of the equation? I mean, does a summer cone have to now come as easily as a cheap Tinder hookup? Is this really what we’re doing with our technology is swiping right on a rainbow sprinkle sundae?


I downloaded it to see what it was like. Sure enough, I saw the trucks spread across a map of South Jersey like tanks heading into battle. As I write this there is one on Stacy Haines Road in Mount Laurel. There’s one on Burgess Lane in Willingboro.

Is this how God intended children to get their ice cream? Using an app on a phone like a cheap cheat code in Pokemon Go?

Eating an Ice Cream Sandwich
Jan Tyler

Or should it be what it always was? A surprise. A thrill. A faint sound of a terrible, shrill version of “Turkey In The Straw” being played by the truck’s loudspeaker that one kid always heard before the rest and the mad dash for money began. (Okay, Mister Softee has its own song, but you get my point.)

It would come out of nowhere and God help you if you couldn’t put the bike or the football down fast enough to race home, beg a dollar and make it back to the street before that ice cream man drove away.

It wasn’t just the thrill of the surprise. It was the ever-present possibility that it might happen. With an app, not only is the surprise gone, but when you see the ice cream truck isn’t even in your town the very possibility is gone. It’s like hearing the ice cream equivalent of, “Not today, Zerg!”

So for you guys at Mister Softee, I’m happy you’re happy. But maybe think things through more next time you have a brilliant idea to steal away the gifts of summer.


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