Please, God, spare New Jersey from the scourge of the Mister Softee jingle

Lillian Stone
·2 min read
Mister Softee truck parked in front of city skyline
Mister Softee truck parked in front of city skyline

We’re all a little more sensitive to auditory intrusions these days. After being trapped in my intimate apartment building for more than a year, I’ve become well acquainted with my musical neighbors—the dude across the hall who just got an electric guitar and practices Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” at 11 p.m. on a Sunday, along with the working DJ on the first floor who hosts at-home sets and apparently doesn’t own a pair of headphones. Throw a repetitive ice cream truck jingle into the mix, and I might saw my ear off Van Gogh-style. That’s the subject of a recent letter to the editor tweeted by writer Tom McAllister.

“Absolutely thrilled by this insane letter to the editor in the local paper,” tweeted McAllister, who posted a photo of the letter to the editor printed in a local New Jersey paper. The letter, penned by one Frank J. Kleininger, reads:

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“Is Mister Softee that desperate? It’s March for goodness’ sake. In times of COVID when so many of us work from home and may happen to be on conference calls with directors or colleagues, CEOs; or maybe the wife is on a video call with a federal judge—why are we blasted with Mister Softee music for two-plus hours a day as the truck makes its rounds at 1 MPH?”

The letter writer adds that the ice cream truck makes its rounds for up to three hours during the weekends, although he’s resigned to the fact that “even those that dyed their hair green and failed to pay attention in math class deserve to make a living by pushing eclairs and rocket pops.” (As a formerly blue-haired person who nearly failed high school trig, I don’t love the tone there.) But overall, as a fairly prickly woman myself, I can appreciate Mr. Kleininger’s crotchetiness.

He’s also not alone—in 2016, another gentleman told Marketplace that he’s reported ice cream truck jingles to city officials about 50 times. Ice cream truck strife is also the subject of a 2017 advice column in The New York Times and a spirited Reddit thread. Does an unrelenting ice cream truck haunt your neighborhood? Tell us about it in the comments, please.