(Stupid) FAQs at the Ice Cream Shop

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Customers ask a lot of stupid questions, although very often--if you're charitable--you can understand that they're confused and that they're not asking the question they really want to ask. When they make fun of an unusual ice cream flavor like Salty Saffron, they probably really want to taste it. But there are certainly times when our above-average customers can be disappointing. Here are some FAQs we receive at Toscanini's.

1. "Are there nuts in the almond ice cream?"

2. "What time do you close?"
"11 PM."
"But it's midnight."
"Yes. We're closed."
"What are you doing? Why are you there?"

3. People enter a dark store with chairs piled atop tables and workers mopping the floor. They ask, "Are you closed?" What they really mean is, "Will you wait on us despite the fact that you are obviously closed?"

4. A professorial customer points to the vanilla ice cream and asks, "Is that chocolate?" The scooper answers with a straight face, "Yes, that is chocolate." The customer looks perturbed and says, "I thought chocolate was black." The scooper hits him or herself in head and answers, "You're right. The vanilla is white and the chocolate is black."

5. "Is there chocolate in the chocolate chip?"

6. "What's in the mango ice cream?"

7. "What does the mango taste like?"

8. A customer orders a chocolate ice cream cone, pays, and then hesitates by the cash register. "I really wanted vanilla."

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Gus Rancatore is the co-founder of Toscanini, the Cambridge-based shop that The New York Times said makes "the best ice cream in the world." Learn more at www.tosci.com.

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