Ice Cream Trucks: Relics of an Unhealthy America?

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

ice cream truckice cream truckNothing says summer (or creepy horror movie) like the tinkling bell of an ice cream truck. Yet a group of parents in New York are trying to ban the ice cream trucks for enticing their children with illicit treats and forcing them to tell their kids no. As any parent knows, kids do not like being told no - especially when it involves treats. "Nobody wants to be a crank," one of the opposed moms say, "but one in three kids are going to be obese or diabetic by high school. When my kids see other kids get ice cream, they just start begging me. I just don't think these are the fights we should be having."

Related: 20 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

I remember watching the musical truck as a child as it circled our neighborhood park, and I also remember never getting to buy anything from it. My parents did such a good job indoctrinating me with their dislike of the ice cream truck (throwing around phrases like "waste of money", "you just ate lunch", and "anything that says chocolate flavored is not actually chocolate") that I was amazed to learn as an adult that some people actually do buy ice cream from ice cream trucks.

I'm embarrassed to admit that the first time my friend suggested we buy our kids a cold treat, I didn't even know how to do so. Do you hail the truck like a taxi? Run after it through the parking lot? Do they only take cash? Should I check for chainsaws and duct tape before I make a purchase? That first time turned out to be the last time, as I discovered that a 99 cent "chocotaco" you could buy at the gas station was retailing for $3 from this guy.

Related: 50 Under $50 Frugal Finds for Spring

In all my grinchitude. however, it never once occurred to me to ask that ice cream vendors be banned. It's my job to tell my kids no, and fortunately I inherited the gene that the more my kids whine, the more likely I am to make them go home immediately. I don't like having this fight with my kids, but it's the same lesson as when I tell them no at the checkout line in the grocery store or at the school bake sale or at the concession stand at the ball game (Do you know how much sno-cones sell for these days? There better be a kidney packed in that ice!).

Yet the health nut in me thinks the Park Slope parents might have a small point.

More from REDBOOK:


Permissions: Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.