It sounds like it’s pulled from a video game, but it’s actually sad reality. It sounds like a stand-up comedian’s invented story, but it’s just the reporting of cold, hard facts. It will change the way you look at ice cream trucks from here on out, so read at your own risk.
In New York City, ice cream isn’t just nostalgia, fun for the kids, and a cold break from the heat. It’s big business, and one that attracts many folks that are in it for far more than just putting a smile on a little kid’s face. The money to be had from selling ice cream in New York has led to a kind of Mafia-style territory war, although so far the injury has been limited to a few unexplained, mysterious bloody noses.
The back story of this feud is almost too cartoonish to be true. It seems that, not so very long ago, the Mr. Softee company had a monopoly on the ice cream trucks in New York City. But some of the drivers broke off from the family—er, I mean, company—and started Yogo, a fleet of trucks selling both ice cream and the increasingly-popular frozen yogurt. As the Yogo drivers began trying to serve the routes they had previously served under Mr. Softee, the Mr. Softee drivers objected. With escalating tempers.
Kids might see friendly faces at the truck window, but behind the scenes many of these drivers are engaging in a war, sabotaging each other’s trucks and doing whatever it takes to keep other vendors off their routes. Apparently, if a driver takes a single day off, when he returns he will find that another driver has taken over his area and refuses to leave. Even a few death threats have been floating around, accompanied by the cheery songs of the ice cream trucks.
Perhaps the “Tactical Ice Cream Unit” truck would be helpful to one side or the other in this conflict. You can find out more about that, and some other, less military ice cream trucks on our website. Hopefully there are no ice cream feuds going on in your neighborhood, and we look forward to the day that we read about Mr. Softee and Yogo drivers burying the hatchet (burying the scoop?) and serving delicious treats side by side once again. Maybe there is a Romeo and Juliet (renamed Cookies and Cream) story in the near future?