All across the great Finnish land full of Finns called Finland last week there was much crying and weeping and gnashing of teeth, as the nation effectively taxed ice cream trucks out of existence, in Finland. Woe be unto the child (or grown man, I don't want your judgments) who wants ice cream delivered by truck.
Nestle, the Swiss company that operates most of the ice cream trucks in Finland, pulled the plug after seeing revenues plummet in the wake of a new tax on sugary foods like candy and ice cream, according to the Wall Street Journal:
Jannica Hartikainen recently had to have a pretty difficult chat with her 5-year-old daughter, Ciara, who somehow needed to understand that the powder-blue ice-cream truck that has long roamed the neighborhood to the tune of a happy jingle was going away.
"She almost shed tears," Ms. Hartikainen said, standing on the side of a road while waiting for the ice-cream truck with Ciara and her other child, a 3-year-old son, earlier this month. "She asked me 'Is this really going to be the last time?' "
See, Nestle? See what you did? You made a little girl cry. Bastards.
I guess some things, like revenue, are more important these days to corporations, than the tears of little Finnish girls, which cannot be sold. There are, apparently, people who do love nothing but the tears of little Finnish girls, so maybe Nestle can try bottling some and sell it to them:
While many will miss the trucks, there are opponents happy to see the trucks go because they just hated the chime. They argue the song was a pollutant to people who worked at home or were late-shift workers trying to sleep during the day.
Some people just hate nostalgia, or have horrible repressed memories of getting hit by ice cream trucks, or something.
Finland is actually one of the biggest consumers of ice cream per capita in the world, despite its reputation as a barren, frozen hellscape (I actually hear it's quite lovely). In the two years that have passed since the sugar-tax has been introduced, though, pre-tax revenues from ice cream have fallen 20%.
The problem with Finland is that it's actually quite rural, making ice cream trucks travel quite far between communities and making expensive to operate, putting their profits on thin ice as it is. Take away that 20%, and suddenly there's not much of a case for them anymore.
And as for those who just love Finnish tears?
Others, like Krister Sanmark, have one request if they do come back: "I hope they choose a more bearable chime compared with the one they had."
In all fairness, the ice cream truck jingle they use over there isn't so much joyous as it is a creepy, terrifying series of tones that are reminiscent of a CIA-backed numbers station:
Maybe they have a point.
Photo credit: Rasmus Sten