Ice cream trucks unfair marketing to kids?


It only took me a few months of being a parent of a child who understood the meaning of "ice cream" to change my mind. Long enchanted with the idea of mobile musical sweet frozen treats, sometime in the summer of 2003 I converted to a quietly glowering group of mothers who would cheerfully sign a petition for a global ban on ice cream trucks. It's not even that we're worried about pedophiles behind the wheel (much though re-runs of that Law & Order episode give us the shivers). It is this: we see the sinister-cheer of the music of the ice cream truck as an insidious and unfairly omnipresent, exploitative bit of marketing to our children.

And, judging from today's New York Times, we're mad, and we're not going to take it any more.

As I read the story of moms who have stood up in protest against ice cream carts in Brooklyn playgrounds and ice cream trucks in Las Vegas streets, it was all I could do to stop from raising my fist in solidarity (my husband looks at me strangely when I do that). Says one parent of a three-year-old: "I feel kind of bad about having developed this attitude. I want Katherine to have the full childhood experience and all. But it's really predatory for them ... to be right inside the playground like this."

Originally published