When you think of Walmart, you probably think of a large selection of merchandise and very low prices. You may also think of a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with America, but that’s a subject for another day.
What most people don’t associate with Walmart is innovation.
And yet, I am here today to tell you about an invention created by Walmart that can quite possibly change the way we live our lives.
Unmeltable ice cream.
The Huffington Post reports that WCPO Cincinnati reports that a Walmart Great Value ice cream sandwich left out on a porch by a forgetful child for 12 hours on an 80 degree day did not fully melt.
Christie Watson, the mother of the kid who was guilty of ice cream abandonment, was appalled.
“What am I feeding to my children?” Christie thought, according to the article.
She then did what any responsible parent would do: She left a second ice cream sandwich out on the porch. The results were the same, with the added benefit that, in all likelihood, the Watsons now had a lot of happy flies, ants, and bees hanging around their porch.
The tone of this HuffPost article implies that ice cream which doesn’t melt in 80 degree heat is a bad thing. But as someone who has inadvertently left the freezer door open a tad only to find that ice cream on a stick had become a stick in some goop, I think the idea of ice cream that can stand up to a little heat is a great idea.
According to the article, a Walmart spokeswoman said, “Ice cream melts based on the ingredients, including cream. Ice cream with more cream will generally melt at a slower rate, which is the case with our Great Value ice cream sandwiches.”
Notice the wonderful spin there? Not only did this spokesperson deflect any negative connotations, she actually turned the nonmeltability into a selling point! “Walmart Ice Cream. More cream, for a richer, longer-lasting treat!”
But while it may be true that more cream helps ice cream retain its form longer, for an even slower melting ice cream, just add mono-and-diglycerides, vanilla extract, guar gum, calcium sulfate, carob bean gum, cellulose gum, carrageenan, artificial flavor, and something called annatto. That is what Walmart has done, to great success!
For WCPO in Cincinnati (ah, Loni Anderson, how we miss her!), I imagine this story had all the earmarks of a great consumer watchdog piece, except for one thing. There was no video of the ice cream not melting. You can’t do a story on TV news without video, no matter how dire the circumstances. I’m sure they considered staging one of those reenactments that are so popular on true crime shows. Hopefully, before they actually did this, somebody at the station (probably an unpaid intern) might have pointed out that even when you do have video of ice cream not melting, it doesn’t make for very compelling viewing, even if you use time-lapse and speed up the meltlessness.
That’s when some enterprising person at the station (I’m thinking unpaid intern here) may have suggested a comparison test.
And that is what they did. WCPO (“9 On Your Side”) left a third Walmart sandwich out in the famous Cincinnati sun alongside a Klondike bar and a pint of Haagen Dazs ice cream. The poorly-made Haagen Dazs ice cream, severely lacking in mono-and-diglycerides, vanilla extract, guar gum, calcium sulfate, carob bean gum, cellulose gum, carrageenan, artificial flavor, and annatto, melted fastest. The Klondike bar melted, too.
The Walmart sandwich, however, stood strong, resisting ice cream’s natural impulse to whither in temperatures above freezing, proudly declaring its superiority to those fake Scandanavian and faux Alaskan competitors.
This, my friends, is what America used to be all about: strength, innovation, quality and courage in the face of a summer’s day. And let’s not forget pure, in-your-face capitalism.
I can see the commercials now, with Walmart’s smiley face icon at the beach, licking the crap out of a non-deformed ice cream sandwich. “Prices are coming down,” the voice-over would say. “And our ice cream is holding up to whatever summer can throw at it!”
Even without commercials, sales of Great Value ice cream sandwiches are going to soar simply because people across the country will be buying them to produce elaborate and thrilling YouTube videos of ice cream not melting, possibly while being overseen by grumpy cat.
And, as I said, our lives will change, what with ice cream not melting on hot apple pie or wilting under hot fudge or staying on the stick when you leave the friggin’ freezer door open a crack.
Thank you Walmart.
See you soon.