The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

I ventured out to International Plaza this afternoon for a little shopping. While there, I stopped by the Haagen-Dazs store to get a Mint Chip Dazzler. Not being one to eat my ice cream sundae while running, I plopped myself into a plush chair just outside the food court area to enjoy my frozen treat.

A couple of minutes after sitting down and spooning the Dazzler, a dark-haired little boy of about 8 ran up to me, pointed to my cup and asked, "Ice cream...?"

I sensed a Latin American accent. I responded, "Yes, mint chocolate chip!"

"Here?" he asked, still pointing at the cup. He wanted to know if I had, indeed, gotten the ice cream in the mall.

"Yes, just back that way," I answered, and pointed back toward the food court.

He beamed a big smile, nodded, and took off. As he was running away behind me, I could hear him start to beg his mom for some ice cream.

I went back to eating my Dazzler. For the remaining five minutes it took me to finish the thing, I heard at least two other passers-by remark about how good that Dazzler looked, and how they needed to get some ice cream. I caught at least a couple of others staring at the cup for several seconds while walking along. All were heading in the direction of the food court and the Haagen-Dazs store.

So by my figuring, my few minutes of sitting there eating that Mint Chip Dazzler served as super-effective advertising for Haagen-Dazs. I might as well have been a spokesmodel. I'm betting the visual I provided resulted in at least two or three direct sales for that ice cream store--maybe more. Not to mention the brand exposure, which would undoubtedly lead to later store and grocery purchases.

As I pondered this, I thought about heading back to the Haagen-Dazs store, explaining all this, and asking for a proper commission for my work. But by then, I had finished the Dazzler, started feeling a little queasy, and decided to finish up my shopping and leave.