I was asked by my friends to get popsicles at a pop-up shop located in downtown Copenhagen a few weeks ago.
I said yes, obviously, and we ambled along the cobblestone sidewalks. Little did I know I’d be getting more than sticky fingers and a bad joke.
As we walked into Magnum Pleasure Store Copenhagen — no, this doesn’t take a turn for the raunchy, although the store does sound suggestive — I quickly realized how long the line was.
About 20 people filed behind the counter like little ants huddling around a cracker.
If it’s popular, it must be good, I thought to myself.
Thankfully, the pop-up was located in a fancy department store, so I was able try on some overpriced reflective sunglasses while I waited in line. It passed the time quite well, I must admit.
When I finally got to the counter I was asked if I’d like white or dark.
“Dark, please,” I said.
Then the suave — and might I add good-looking — Danish man unwrapped a vanilla ice cream popsicle and carefully dipped it into the molten dark chocolate pool conveniently located in a crock pot.
After this, I was asked what toppings I wanted. I could choose three. With so many choices, I felt like I was flying an airplane and it was my job not to let it crash and burn.
There were dainty edible rose petals — vibrant hues of yellow and pink look great on the Instagram — chocolate rice crispies, meringue, caramel swirls and chili pepper, among other yummy things.
I opted for coconut flakes, some toasted nuts and crispy chocolate balls that explode in your mouth. Once he was done pouring the toppings on the popsicle, he proceeded to drizzle white chocolate over my masterpiece, and then he added a little chocolate coin with an M seal for Magnum.
I was impressed. The thing looked legit. Obviously I had to take a picture. After I paid, I headed over to the Instagram booth they had so thoughtfully provided for the ultimate user experience.
There were two spotlights above a podium where a square flip pad of designed paper rested so you could choose the perfect background. I ended up going with a faux marble background. I took a few pics and added one to Snapchat with a large “YUM” overlay.
Once I finished fumbling with my phone, I was ready to take my first bite. I was finally about to experience my own personalized ice cream bar. Long story short, it was delicious, albeit messy.
This is the future of consumerism. Companies will succeed by leaving the choice up to customer.
The idea of a millennial user experience has, perhaps, been around since the OG ice cream parlor. It was up to the customer to make the decision. Then followed fro-yo, which usually turns into a crappy combination of fruity and chocolate flavors because I can never decide in which direction I want to go. Chocolate covered strawberries work, right? Not in fro-yo.
This do-it-yourself mentality has branched out to stir-fry places and the folks at Chipotle, who should be called “burristas.” It’s time other companies take notice and incorporate the customer as the chooser, not just the buyer.
This article was originally published as a column for the Indiana Daily Student on 21 August 2015.