Wednesday, April 7, 2010

An Ode to Thrifty Ice Cream

Yesterday a friend emailed me a link to a Yahoo! business news story about Rite Aid (the drugstore) and how they're closing stores and losing money (the article also talked about Borders, Blockbuster Video and some other "going down the toilet" companies). Well, join the club, right? The economy is mostly still flailing, isn't it? I mean, except for iPads, what exactly are people spending their money on right now? (I'm not gonna link to the article; you can do your own search if you're that interested.) (Also? After closing three bookstores and one video store [not a Blockbuster], I can happily say that I have never worked for Borders, so their demise has absolutely nothing to do with me. I actually like shopping there!)

(Check me out, all passive aggressive today.)

Years ago, Rite Aid was Thrifty Drugstores. There was some complicated buy-out that you can read about on Wikipedia or wherever you get this kind of practically useless information, if you're interested (I'm not). The old Thrifty in Culver City (where Sepulveda and Sawtelle Blvds. meet, a phenomenon most people disbelieve until they see it for themselves) was pretty damn cool. In elementary school we used to walk there after school for ice cream, but the place was so big and full of neat stuff to look at that we'd sometimes just hang out. I loved the cheap-ass jewelry section, and wasted a lot of time wandering around looking at weird things like heating pads and all the different kinds of light bulbs and household extension cords.

(The other neat thing about that Thrifty has nothing to do with Thrifty at all: I loved the old shopping center it was in. I can't find any pictures, and I wish I had some. I don't know, it was just cool, this giant ugly shaded center, composed mostly of cement. Except for Toys R Us, the other stores, if memory serves me right, seemed abandoned, but way in the back was Ronn's Statuary, where Joy, a friend of the family, used to take me for little projects to paint. It was a cool store, and supposedly still in business in another location in Culver City, but I can't find evidence of that. I seem to remember there being a big courtyard with a giant plant in it, like an elephant ears plant.)

Anyway, what the hell am I doing devoting all this time to Ronn's statuary and the cement monstrosity that was the old shopping center that housed Thrifty? Eventually they tore that place down, re-built, moved in Pavilions and some other hoity toity stores (the early 90s marks the beginning of Culver City getting all full of itself), and through the magic of some mysterious corporate buy-out,Thrifty became Rite Aid.

Luckily Rite Aid retained the best part of Thrifty, which was always... the ice cream. Even as a so-called adult, I love outings to Thrifty for ice cream. Sure, you can buy hand-packed containers, but a fresh cone of chocolate malted crunch (the favorite flavor by far of all my friends) can't be beat.

My favorite memories of Thrifty ice cream? Lining up at the old Thrifty's in the 3rd grade with Shevaun, Joanna, and Sheryl. I don't remember what flavors each girl would get, but I do recall that rainbow sherbert, chocolate chip, and mint chocolate chip were almost always chosen (I always order at least one scoop of chocolate malted crunch, which, in those days, was double chocolate malted crunch). Also, later on, when I was in my 20s, I have a fond memory of driving an old boyfriend crazy by singing "You Really Got Me" to him while we waited in line. He got really embarrassed by me calling him "Girl," but it's not my fault he had that silly Prince Valiant haircut.

Anyway, after my friend sent me that story, I had chocolate malted crunch on the brain. No time to pick any up until after a flute ensemble lesson, but at 7:40 last night I cruised by the Rite Aid on Jefferson Blvd. in Culver City (okay, so it's where "Sepulveda, Sawtelle, and Jefferson Blvds. meet"), did a little browsing in the haircare aisle, and got a delicious cone for only $1.29. Best almost buck thirty I ever spent.


  1. Hey we went to that Rite Aid on Wednesday and treated ourselves (and the kids) to some Thrifty's ice cream! Yummy! I was bummed they were out of the mint chocolate chip, and the kids didn't get what our excitement was all about. I did have some delicious praline pecan, however.

    I totally remember that statuary shop too. My friend and I used to buy all sorts of those little plaster things to paint. There used to be a Slender Spoon in there too. I remember my mom buying their low cal frozen ice creamy treats : )

  2. I made ice cream for a birthday party last Saturday night-French vanilla and coffee flavor. They came out great, but the two quarts ended up costing about $20 and in the end I think Thrifty ice cream tastes just as good.

  3. Dan, I'd like to be given the opportunity to try that ice cream for myself!

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