As a Californian-by-adoption, I am sorry to say this, but I have never been able to find a soft-serve place in California that knows how to put sprinkles on a cone. I have not given up without a struggle. The resulting conversations tend to go like this.

Me: Small chocolate soft-serve on a regular cone, please. And could I have sprinkles on that?

Them: If you have it in a cup, yes.

Me: I’d like a cone and sprinkles. They’ll stick if you roll the cone in them.

Them, with an expression suggesting my sanity is in doubt: Ohhhkay. I could put them on top.

(They spoon some sprinkles over the cone. Predictably, only about ten stick.)

Them: Is this what you wanted?

Me, sighing: No, you have to roll it, but thanks.

Or:

Me: Small chocolate soft-serve on a regular cone, please. And could I have sprinkles on that?

Them: If you have it in a cup, yes.

Me: I’d like a cone and sprinkles. They’ll stick if you roll the cone in them.

Them: Here, I can give you both.

(They fill the cup with soft-serve and spoon a generous helping of sprinkles on top, then stick a cone on upside-down.)

Them: How’s that?

Vermont knows how. Connecticut knows how. New Jersey knows how. Come on, California, you can’t let yourself fall behind this way!

Me, grimacing internally: Thanks.

(I dispose of the cone at the first opportunity, because let’s admit it, they’re made of styrofoam and if unable to carry out their only purpose, which is to contain soft-serve, they might as well go straight to the compost pile.)

Or:

Me: Small chocolate soft-serve on a regular cone, please. And could I have sprinkles on that?

Them, definitely assessing me as cognitively challenged: Um . . . no, but you could have dip.

(I consider leaping over the counter and showing them how it’s done. Instead, I assent to dip.)

What I have said only once or twice, not wanting to begin a civil war, is that in the northeast, people know how to coat a cone in sprinkles. The gravity is the same in both places, so I’m sure all that is lacking in the California shops is confidence and know-how. As a result, our entire state population is deprived of one of the great pleasures of summer: being handed a cone loaded with sprinkles and taking in a mouthful of sprinkle-coated ice cream. As I am about to do in this photo, taken a few days ago in Vermont.