Rita’s Italian Ice and I go way back. I still have vivid memories of driving there with my friend Emily during our high school lunch period. Back in those days, we had little concern for our own nutrition, and would often make a meal out of ices or gelatos, with the occasional addition of a cheese pretzel if we were especially hungry. Way back when, we were such big Rita’s fans that we went so far as to keep a running list of all the flavors we had tried throughout the season. We might have even rated them, but I can’t be too sure about that.
Over the years, I settled into my favorite flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip. Not your typical Italian ice, this is a cream-based flavor and, to me, is one of the most delicious frozen desserts in the world. These days, I don’t make it to Rita’s nearly as much as I used to. So, when I do, there’s no question of what flavor I’m going to order.
Yesterday, on my way home from work, I decided on a whim to stop into Rita’s to pick up some ices for Michael and myself. I had never been to this particular Rita’s before, and was quite impressed to see that it was a sit-down establishment. However, the novelty of the space quickly washed away as I was greeted with a paltry selection of 12 flavors, and Mint Chocolate Chip was nowhere to be found!
Not only did they not have Mint Chocolate Chip, but they didn’t have any of the creamy flavors (fudge brownie, cookies & cream, piña colada)—they were all just straight-up fruit flavors! When I was paying for my second-string ice (mango and pear), I asked the girl, “Do you usually have Mint Chocolate Chip?” To my horror she said, “No, but if you want, you can sign up with your email address and then we’ll send you an alert the day we have that flavor.”
This post is already pretty long, so let me get to my point: Imagine going into a clothing store to buy a pair of pants and being told, “Oh, we only have pants on certain days, but we can email you the day they’re in so you can drop what you’re doing to come and buy them.” What kind of business model is this? Mint Choco Chip was one of their staple flavors. You can’t eliminate it, just like you can’t eliminate pants. If they want to cycle some flavors in and out, why not start with Swedish Fish or Cotton Candy? You know, the weirder stuff. I guarantee that no one is counting on Cotton Candy always being there, but I can’t be the only one whose favorite flavor is good old Mint Choco Chip.
To add insult to injury, the Pineapple flavor I got for Michael tasted more like chemicals than fruit, which is something I’ve NEVER experienced in all of my Rita’s consumption. What’s going on with you, Rita’s? Unfortunately, I think you’re losing yourself. Do yourself a favor. Forget all of this email/text/Twitter technology nonsense, and go back to selling quality ices. Oh, and bring back Mint Choco Chip.