Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Wisdom of Crowds at the Ice Cream Counter

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Scooped-out tubs at the Whole Foods ice cream bar attest to certain flavors popularity. (Ignore the image of the avid photographer/eater reflected in the case.)
  • Scooped-out tubs at the Whole Foods ice cream bar attest to certain flavors' popularity. (Ignore the image of the avid photographer/eater reflected in the case.)
We looked over the ice cream selection at Whole Foods, my out-of-town friend Winny and I. The selection was so perfectly designed to hit our hot buttons: bracing citrus sorbets, aromatic coffee ice cream, lush berry mixtures, coconut and pineapple ice creams promising memories of the beach. Winny chose a berry mixture and I chose a tropical combination.

There are so many different logics that go into a decision about something as simple as ice cream, especially if you really love ice cream. As a resolutely independent thinker, I occasionally make a regrettable choice, just to test the envelope. I selected the least-scooped bin to find the road less traveled. Realistically, if the flavor was good enough to win a spot on the Whole Foods ice cream bar, it had to be good.

And it was.

I asked Winny, "How do decide which ice cream to order when you go to a place where you don't have a favorite?"

"I choose the one that's most scooped-out, because I figure that people who come here the most know what the best flavors are," she answered.

So different than my "find the hidden gem" approach. What's yours? Do you always get that same flavor, do you branch out, or is your system completely different?

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