The Fifteen Dollar Snow Cone

Snow cone with cherry syrup

This… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few nights ago, an old friend told me about a recent movie going experience. She related, as anyone does when they talk about going to the movies, how much she spent for popcorn and a drink. But while we stood chatting about the injustice of movie concession prices, a greater travesty was being committed a few feet away. What could be worse than a $10 bucket of popcorn at a movie? A $15 snow cone at an event promoted for children.

Gouging Or Robbery? You Decide.

Random Snow Cones

…not this (image via flickr)


Yes, a snow cone – shaved ice and fruit flavored sugar-water in a cup, with a spoon. Fifteen dollars. To be fair, I have to tell you that price was for the large snow cone, the small was twelve dollars. Also, the price included a souvenir cup, a plastic spoon and a napkin. One napkin.

People bought fifteen dollar snow cones as quickly as the vendors  could scoop the precious frozen water into the wonderful souvenir cups. Most handed them over to their children, but a few bought one for themselves.

Still others got in line, ordered, then realized they were being gouged. This put them in an agonizing position. Pay the outrageous sum or face disappointing their child after standing in line for the privilege of doing so. No one walked away empty-handed. All walked away fleeced.

I Have Standards

As I watched, I wondered what would make a snow cone worth fifteen dollars to me. My first thought was to have it served in The Holy Grail, but I don’t suppose that would be dishwasher safe. I don’t need a souvenir I’m going to have to hand wash, so The Grail is out. So are The Stanley Cup, The America’s Cup and all other major sporting event trophies. My fifteen dollar snow cone starts with a conventional cup – paper if the location calls for that, glass otherwise.

The ice would be the finest available. No commercially frozen water for me. Only free range ice would do in my luxury snow cone. Until served, the ice would be kept at the proper temperature in a container with a hole in the top. After I ordered and paid, the vendor would reach into that hole to begin assembling my treat. Before he did, he would have to say “thank you sir, I’m going to reach into my ice hole and get some ice.” The imagery of that phrase doesn’t do anything for me, but I think anyone involved in serving fifteen dollar frozen water should have to humiliate themselves.

English: A high ranking korean official riding...

Like this, except I don’t wear pink.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The fruit flavors would come from fresh fruit juice, squeezed to order by natives of the place where the fruit was grown. So, if I were to order a pineapple and banana flavored snow cone, a Hawaiian and a Costa Rican would step up and squeeze the fruit they flew in with that morning.

Finally, if I bought this snow cone at a large sports arena, I would be carried to my seat on a large sedan chair borne by at least six people. A seventh person would walk behind the chair, singing a scat song that others would somehow understand was about how I made enjoying cold tropical fruit flavored ice look good.

Until someone is ready to provide that sort of service, I will be keeping my fifteen dollars. I do like the idea of being accompanied to my seat by a scat singer. I’d pay twelve bucks for that, and they can keep the snow cone.

Za bap, ba doodle do-weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


37 Comments on “The Fifteen Dollar Snow Cone”

  1. I disapprove. Although, I really want a snow cone now.

  2. Todd says:

    I think I paid $5 for a snow cone once at a “battle of the food trucks” event. It was a good snow cone. The vendor made her own syrup from scratch, and I think she used organic ice, or something. OK, I made up the part about organic ice, but just you wait. One of these, you’re gonna be somewhere, like Whole Foods or something, and they’re going to be selling organic ice. I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

  3. (We called them snowballs, not snowcones. I always thought it was a Maryland thing. Maybe a Batlimore thing, but I digress. Imagine that.)

    There was a snowball stand on Church Street in Brooklyn Park. It was the place you went to see everyone else, because everyone in Brooklyn Park went to the snowball stand on Church Street. The chocolate snowball was, in essence, Hershey’s syrup poured over ice. Top that or the old-fashioned egg custard with some warm marshmallow and whoa, Nellie.

    I still couldn’t go over $5 for that, with our without the scat singer.

    I wonder if that place is still in business.

  4. Linda Sand says:

    I sure hope the place was doing a fundraiser for a worthy cause. I can see no other reason for this price. And I can barely see that one.

  5. T E Stazyk says:

    Not to sound cynical, but as long as people are dumb enough to pay that kind of money, vendors will be smart enough to charge those kinds of prices.

    As to whether the Holy Grail would be dishwasher safe–that’s another story. I bet you could put it in the dishwasher but it should probably not go in the microwave!

  6. sarahnsh says:

    Oh my goodness, $15 for a snow come? The water for that ice would have to come from the sacred waters of some untouchable spot, or a cave, I hear cave waters are pretty clean and maybe organic and that would up the cost, I guess. I swear I ate at one place where you weren’t charged, you just paid what you wanted to give. Nah, that sounds too magical, I probably made it up!

  7. sarahnsh says:

    Whoops, I mean snow cone, I don’t know what a snow come would look like!

  8. Mmmmm…snow cones. I would definitely pay $15 for one…if it had extra fruity sugary flavor…and it was 90-plus degrees outside.

  9. Debbie says:

    I wonder why the people standing in line forever didn’t ask the price of those snow cones before they lined up? Talk about buying a pig in a poke! I like snow cones, but no way would I pay $15 for one — not even with the scat singer and the chair-carriers. I guess some people are always on the lookout to gouge others, especially with something that, if refused, would leave their kids hollering!

  10. Laura says:

    There’s no way I’d pay $15 for a snow cone. Frozen lemonade, maybe, but never a snow cone.

  11. robincoyle says:

    Have you ever had shave ice in Hawaii? The BEST. It isn’t called shaveD ice, but shave ice. And, they serve it over a scoop of ice cream of your choice. The BEST. However, not even shave ice is worth $15.

  12. That seems execessive. I’d expect to have the product spooned directly into my waiting pie-hole by virgins.

  13. $15 snow cones are a matter of course at the circus. And $10 cotton candy. I prep the kids ahead of time that they are getting NOTHING. NOTHING!

    • omawarisan says:

      This is the same company that does the circus, and the ice shows. Similar stuff at all of them.

      Wait, you succsessfully pulled off the “getting nothing at the show” thing? You could get rich if you published the method. Seriously, $12-15 a copy.

  14. Betty says:

    Maybe you also get $15 worth of brain freeze.

  15. When I was a kid in Richmond, in the days when parents threw their kids into the backs of trucks and station wagons like so many bags of groceries without really bothering about seat belts, a snowball truck went around my neighborhood in the summer and they always came down my street.

    A regular one with one flavor was a dime and a rainbow one (with a lot of flavors) was a quarter. They were hand scooped, of course, and put in a paper cone cup.

    They didn’t give them out on a window on the side like you see on ice cream trucks today. They had a window on the back, so you could step on the bumper to watch them pour the syrup and then reach for your snowball (and step off).

    The big boys used to hang on while the truck pulled away although you weren’t supposed to do that. But I wanted to prove how brave I was (being on the runt-size). So one day I hung on, the truck pulled off and I almost immediately fell off. BAM! Onto the asphalt, flat on my back. Never will forget how much that hurt, although of course, I was too proud to cry.

    Of course, the truck didn’t slow down or stop or anything. I didn’t run in and tell my mama, who was at work, anyway. I just learned not to do that and of course when I heard the bell, I was peeling out of my house the next day to get a snowball. That was how they did things back in the age of the dinosaurs.

    $15 snow cone, huh? Did it have gold leaf in it?

    • pryan51 says:

      And if you HAD told your mom she would have smacked you for being dumb [or told you “wait till your father comes home…..”] or laughed at you.

  16. […] friend was writing a blog post about snow cones and it reminded me of this […]

  17. spencercourt says:

    Was this a charitable event? Lots of price gouging in the name of charity….

  18. planetross says:

    This reminds me of the $5 shake in Pulp Fiction.
    … but $15 for a snowcone is not just gouging: it’s amputating!

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