You know there's going to be a time, a few years down the line or now for some of us, when we will be boring our own grandchildren with stories about how much stuff cost. I remember, 'When I was a boy in the early 70s, gas cost less than 37 cents a gallon, a movie cost $1.00 and a scoop of ice cream only cost a nickel!
But by far the best bargain of my childhood, which I intend to tell my grandkids about every day of their young lives, was Thrifty's Drug store ice cream. Even in the late 1980s when I was an adult, it was 10 measly cents for a single cone. Ten cents! If you lived a few blocks away from the Thrifty and looked down as you walked, chances were good you would find that much on the way to the store. It was still, without a doubt, the best deal of our lives.
Drug store historians will argue that Thrifty ice cream still exists, and the brand never died when Rite-Aid bought out the chain many years ago. But it's dead to me. For one thing, it costs more than a dollar the last time that I went into a Rite-Aids. That's a 1,000 percent price increase in less than a few decades. That's a heartless rip-off of the consumer. Ten years ago, I saw someone using a rounded ice cream scoop at a Rite Aid, which is like making a 'Dukes of Hazzard' movie and recasting the General Lee as a Prius.
A few observations of tributes to Thrifty ice cream:
1. The scoop was innovative: I'm not sure what you would call the Thrifty ice cream scoops, which would dispense the frozen treat in little pucks, with 90 degree angles when you looked at the ice cream from the side. As a result a triple scoop would look more like a stack of tires than a snowman. This made the ice cream about 50 percent more stable, which was better if you were a little kid. It was kind of like having training wheels on your cone.
2. The ice cream was edible: Notice I didn't say 'good.' But it was more than good enough. The mint chip and especially the chocolate malted crunch were my favorites. The latter flavor was like eating chocolate ice cream with the most delicious packing material on Earth inside.
3. The employees were often cool: Sure, you'd get one or two clerks who rudely made the kids at the ice cream counter wait 15 minutes while they helped the customers who were actually generating a profit for the Thrifty Corp. (One wonders if the 10 cent ice cream might have led to Thrifty's demise.) But you got the impression that the checkers enjoyed the break of heading over to the ice cream counter. After all, they were kids once too. And on really hot days Thrifty would usually have a full-time ice cream person.
I'm no businessman, but if I owned a national chain of stores, I'd fill this void right now. Ten cent ice cream at Kragen Auto Parts?
My mom used to take us and some other kids to a Thrifty's, and we'd get the ice cream cones you mentioned. Mint chip and strawberry cheesecake was the one to get. Clark Drug's on Rosecrans and Prairie also had a great ice cream cone, it was a round scoop that was about 50% larger than Thrifty's, so if you got a triple it was huge.
The Clark Drug's was there my entire childhood, but maybe around 2000 it was converted into a CVS pharmacy, and they took out the ice cream area altogether. When I was real young right next to the Clark Drug's was a small Sears store, and in the middle of the complex was a TG&Y. When we were in high school the Sears and TG&Y were gone, and some new stores were an arcade with pinball and video machines where you could get lunch, and a great donut shop.
My fellow classmate and friend, Dixie Briley, packed the cones especially well for my brother Bill and me. Bless Dixie Brileyâ€™s Â heart and hope she is well and happy. Fond remembrances of Thriftyâ€™s. Robert Raupp LHS â€˜56