Museum of Ice Cream in NYC: All the least sweet employee stories
We’ve all had a bad job experience though perhaps not everyone’s been encapsulated in a cotton candy pink fever dream. Museum of Ice Cream NYC, a buzzy, multi-sensory experience of all things ice cream, was meant to be a dreamland for all to enjoy but for the employees, it was an absolute nightmare.
Maryellis Bunn, founder of the Museum of Ice Cream, has been accused by former employees of fostering a hostile work environment. The alleged questionable practices uncovered in the Museum of Ice Cream workplace in NYC have left a dark stain on the pastel features of the company. Bunn, who sought to emulate the drive & ambition of Steve Jobs & the creativity of Walt Disney appears to have OD’d on the ambition part.
For all its cute, whimsical aesthetic, Museum of Ice Cream NYC is nothing but an Instagram-able hellscape and here are the employee stories to prove it.
Seeing ice cream through rose-colored glasses
Beginning in New York City, Maryellis Bunn created a pop-up shop dubbed Museum of Ice Cream. Despite the name, the place doesn’t have anything to do with the origins of the dessert, rather it offers a backdrop to take some Instagram pics, the opportunity to scrounge up a bit of clout, as well a small scoop of ice cream all for the low, low price of $39 dollars a pop.
Museum of Ice Cream has a supremely millennial allure; it’s really more about the experience than anything else. Celebrities like Katy Perry, Kevin Hart, and Beyonce have all taken their picture in the pool of plastic sprinkles or astride pink unicorns and, of course, the public wanted their scoop of the sundae.
The company appeared to be a fun, unorthodox place to work, somewhere that would promote the same colorful quirkiness in its workspace as it did on its Instagram page. Yet there was a different story told when Forbes received an anonymous letter in June from the company’s NYC store which outlined a list of grievances against Bunn and her treatment of employees.
Two scoops of employee abuse
Those who were full-time members of Museum of Ice Cream were expected to choose an ice cream nick-name for them to use at work. Bunn’s particular nick-name was “Scream” which was apt as was the name “Scream Sesh” for company meetings where Bunn would berate her staff if she was unsatisfied with their work. Employees claimed she would threaten their job if there weren’t enough tickets sold each day.
Bunn also displayed some derogatory behavior at the Miami branch when she refused to let the work uniform to allow shorts since “fat people’s legs are disgusting.” Bunn was also overheard remarking about a plus-size muralist working at one location with the question, “Why do we pay her to eat?”
Employees were expected to go eight hours shifts without bathroom breaks, leading to incidents like an infection from a tampon that was left in too long and one employee stating they had to explicitly say they were about to “crap myself on the floor” before being allowed to use the restroom.
Employees at Museum of Ice Cream NYC also claimed that they were made to promote the store outside in the cold without proper attire. The worker’s performance was also strictly recorded in a book and everything from untied shoelaces to taking a sick day, even when a doctor’s note proved an illness, was as a strike. If the employee received three strikes, they were then suspended.
We all scream for some privacy
Bunn reportedly kept a tight grip on the reins at Museum of Ice Cream, even going so far as to stream footage from multiple security cameras to her phone so she could monitor employees at all times. Employees were evaluated on their performances on shifts that included singing & dancing ice cream jingles.
Bunn’s style of strict micro-management was transferred onto the managers who would watch the employees on screens linked to the security cameras. Managers would use the footage to radio the employees if their performance was lacking.
A bitter ending for Museum of Ice Cream
Museum of Ice Cream was already floundering before the coronavirus pandemic struck. The company lost its head of finance in March, a hiring freeze was implemented at the beginning of the year, and their line of custom ice cream completely tanked.
Now in the grip of corona concern it seems unlikely that anyone will want to dive into a pool of 100 million germ-infested plastic sprinkles. Museum of Ice Cream is currently open but with the Forbes exposé on the not-so-sweet work environment coming to light, it’s tough to imagine the pop-up will stay put.