It turns out a whole lot more than a bargain scoop of ice cream.
I wasn't sure what impelled me to shlep out with my own and a few extra kids on a Wednesday evening to take advantage of Baskin-Robbins' 31 Cent Scoop Night.
After all, the few dollars saved on Gold Medal Ribbon or Rainbow Sherbet were more than offset by the half-hour spent on line.
But like most adventures, getting there -- in this case all the way up to the counter -- was the best part.
Baskin-Robbins hosted the event to raise awareness for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Posters about the organization hung in the store, and corporate Baskin-Robbins, along with parent company Dunkin' Brands, donated $350,000 to the organization that honors fallen and injured heroes and supports their families and co-workers.
"The company wanted to get people out to make them aware of this great organization," said David Yadegar, who co-owns three Baskin-Robbins stores, including this one on Robertson Boulevard a few blocks south of Pico Boulevard. "And the whole neighborhood comes together."
Yadegar served 500 people on 31 Cent Scoop Night, but he'll see no profit from the evening. He said it was more about charity and community.
Baskin-Robbins also runs incentive programs for schools, offering free cone certificates for student excellence. Yadegar donates scoops for Pressman Academy's Reading Rewards program and is eager to get schools and synagogues signed up for his ice cream social fundraisers. Just a few weeks ago, he donated a percentage of his earnings to America Eats for Israel.
Yadegar's Robertson shop has kashrut certification that covers all his products, though nearly all Baskin-Robbins flavors are kosher.
Last Wednesday at his store -- at the crossroads of Beverlywood, Crestview and SoRo (South Robertson) -- Jews, Latinos, African Americans and Sikhs were all out for a sweet bargain.
My kids and I saw friends from school, from shul, from the gym, from the neighborhood. There was a sense of giddy camaraderie as everyone hung around the grungy parking lot trying to keep kids away from cars attempting to jam into tiny spots just inches from where we stood on line.
A kid nearly got his arm yanked off by a woman -- not his mother -- who grabbed him when he walked behind a car pulling out. The crowd erupted in applause when a minivan driver, with the help of some impromptu traffic directors, angled awkwardly into a tight spot. Yadegar said he even thought about getting a DJ.
After we got our double scoops in giant waffle cones -- which the proprietor couldn't get off the iron fast enough to satisfy all these nouveau double- and triple-scoopsters -- we stood outside, offering those still on line a glimpse of the joy yet to come.
Of course, they probably already knew the truth: In this dessert adventure, the fun part was the journey there, and the ice cream was just the cherry on top.
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