Saratoga County

Saratoga businessman gets his licks in

There is math behind all this: the long lines, the ice cream, the fact that demand could be met with
Shop supervisor Harley Huxhold serves a cone during "Free Cone Day" at Ben & Jerry's in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Shop supervisor Harley Huxhold serves a cone during "Free Cone Day" at Ben & Jerry's in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

There is math behind all this: the long lines, the ice cream, the fact that demand could be met without the masses becoming restless.

And there were masses.

That’s because the most important number of all behind the annual Ben & Jerry’s promotion that had thousands lining Putnam Street over Tuesday afternoon and evening was …

Zero.

As in the cost. Give out free ice cream, and people will come, and keep coming.

Do it on a perfect day, the best a co-owner said he’s seen in the 25 years he’s owned the franchise and has been doing this promotion, and you will get kids and adults more than willing to wait for a free scoop of Chunky Monkey or Phish Food.

What you didn’t hear was people complaining even though the line was …

100-plus people deep.

Normally that would dissuade even the most determined.

But despite the throng, the average wait at 3 p.m. was calculated to be only …

13 minutes.

“The key is to keep a cool head and to keep the line moving,” said supervisor Jeremy Kitchen, one of six servers on duty at any given time during the after-school rush.

“We see friends. We see people we graduated with. We even see family. The most we can say is ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye.’ ”

It seemed like every Saratoga Springs resident came out. Actually, that would be an exaggeration. A closer estimate would be …

One out of three.

“We will serve 9,000 in an eight-hour stretch,” said co-owner Patrick Pipino, which equates to roughly one cone or cup for 33 percent of the city of the Saratoga Springs.

Serving that many over an eight-hour stretch comes out to …

Nearly 19 a minute.

During the 3 p.m. hour it appeared customers were going through at a 13-customer-per-minute clip.

That means each server must scoop…

More than two cones/cups per minute.

Apologies accepted for not catching up with small talk.

Workers and bosses alike said navigating the nonstop torrent of customers is a matter of attitude.

“It’s what you make of it,” Pipino said. “If you think it’s going to rot (and he cleaned up the word for print), it’s going to rot.”

Despite the lines, workers didn’t seem stressed, and those in line were pleasantly shocked that the queue moved so fast. “Cashing people out,” co-owner Carol Godette said, “is what slows people down.”

In fact, the line moved so quickly, more than a few waiting already had cones in hands, meaning they were going back for seconds. Or …

Thirds, or fourths.

That’s what 15-year-old Scotty Lippincott of Saratoga Springs was shooting for Tuesday. Apparently he wasn’t that hungry.

“I got six last year,” he said.

Those free cones can add up quickly.

Reach Gazette reporter Mark McGuire at 395-3105, [email protected] or @MJMcGuire on Twitter.

Categories: Business, News

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