Pinkberry, the new frozen yogurt craze that is "swirling" the nation. When I discovered it's origins in West Hollywood, I thought to myself "OMG! It'll be totally radical dude!"
Well, not really. I was sure it would highlight the plasticity that is Los Angeles. Just looking at the website made me cringe a little (and turn off my computer speakers). Pinkberry's marketing strategy focuses on three things; happy, peppy employees, store design and atmosphere and a great product. They are community-concsious (like most of our local businesses), but it comes with that California pretension and, well...insincerity.
When I visited the first New Orleans location on Magazine Street yesterday, I was not at all surprised by the clientele packing the tiny shop. The parking lot was a money-scented slew of BMW's, Lexus and Mercedes and their owners carried Louis Vuitton purses and wore Moss Lipow sunglasses. I suppose I could also blame that on the Whole Foods across the street, but it was still unnerving. Every single person who walked through those spotted lime-green doors oozed affluence and an innate sense of privilege. It all felt so elitist...so materialistic...so very California.
In my mind this shop represented everything New Orleans wasn't. New Orleans is wonderfully down to earth and folks take you for who you are, not who you are trying to be. They'd love to share a meal or a drink and it doesn't matter one whit that you drove a beat-up Pinto to get there.
My only problem now is that not welcoming a unique shop like Pinkberry would be very inhospitable and very unlike New Orleans. Well, that and the fact that the yogurt rocks!