So Good it ‘Gurts

My relationship with Pinkberry began on shaky terms.  From what I had heard (and read in US Weekly, my ultimate reference for all things pop culture), the brand was bringing “trendy” back to the fro-yo category- one $6 cup at a time.  American Express Open has even recognized the company for creating a cultural phenomenon in just three years by offering it the highly exclusive plum card.

As a proud member of the Single-in-the City brigade, my modest budget really only allows for one “frivolous extravagance” (my father’s words, not mine) a day—and that spot is either filled by my $5 latte or, occasionally, an $8 tube of C.O. Bigelow lip gloss.  As a proud Southern girl, I was also skeptical of any glorified “sweet shop” passing off what was sure to be watered down Breyer’s at 3 times the cost.

That is until one opened right across the street from my apartment.  Drawn by curiosity (and that stubborn sweet tooth of mine), I wandered over one weekend night.  Upon entering I was hit by a wave of calm.  The air was fresh, the light was soft, the colors bright.  Everything was so…clean.  It almost resembled a laboratory—all shiny surfaces with not a sprinkle out of place.  In a haze, I stepped up to the smear-less glass panel and gazed in at the freshest fruit toppings imaginable. Candy-colored strawberries and kiwis and mangos—oh my.   

Hesitantly, I explained to the beaming employee that it was my first time, and instantly a sample of each flavor- original, green tea and coffee- was lined up in front of me and just as quickly gobbled down.  The texture was light, the flavor tangy, but when complimented with the fruit toppings (and let’s be honest—a healthy dose of chocolate chips), the result was an inexplicably addictive, perfectly pleasing sweet treat. 

The purpose of this ode to Pinkberry is to explain just how right they got it when targeting the female (or at least this female) consumer.  By reducing the flavor options and increasing the quality of toppings, combined with the unique lab-like atmosphere of the store itself, one is convinced each “frivolous” bite is just right… the right temperature, the right weight, the right amount of calories.  Starbucks did it with coffee, Pinkberry has done it with fro-yo.

And that’s where it all began.  I guess some people would call it love at first taste.  I won’t lie: it was hard in the beginning to justify a bi-weekly, and soon nightly indulgence. For this, I defer to a mantra I lived by at age 7: “When I’m a grown-up, there’ll be no one to tell me not to eat dessert for dinner.”

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May 27, 2022
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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