Wineka column: Dishing it out at DQ

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 31, 2012

SALISBURY — Now I know. The “DQ” in Dairy Queen stands for disqualified — as in, I’m not qualified.
When Melissa Utley asked me a couple of weeks ago to take part in the “Battle of the Media Titans” with David Whisenant, I expressed my reservations at being able to properly take orders, prepare and deliver soft-serve ice cream at the local Dairy Queen.
Melissa quickly put me in my place.
“Sixteen-year-olds can do it,” she reminded me.
So there I was Saturday afternoon making Dairy Queen blizzards, shakes, sundaes and cones for the people who came up to my window to support the Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Whisenant, the WBTV reporter, toiled away at the other window, raising money for Rowan Helping Ministries. That’s where the “battle” part of it came in.
We had two hours to take in — through orders and tips — as much money as we could for our respective causes. All proceeds went to RHM and FFAS, with Dairy Queen sweetening things by giving an extra $100 to the winner.
I went down in a butterscotch-dipped heap of Butterfinger Blizzards topped with wet nuts and cream — the whipped kind.
David scored a solid victory by selling $328.55 at his window and gathering an additional $302.19 in tips. With his $100 bonus, David raised $730.74 for Rowan Helping Ministries.
I was nowhere close, but hey, David is on television. People coming to my window were just surprised to see I was bigger than my half-inch column picture.
I ended the two hours by selling $253.57 at my window and collecting $220.36 more in tips. It adds up to $473.93 for Faithful Friends, so Whisenant and I together collected more than $1,200 for the two organizations.
We’ll take it. David, who is a nice guy, was totally gracious in victory. I went outside and kicked my truck.
In hindsight, I now realize Whisenant must have worked harder.
We wore Dairy Queen T-shirts that Utley supplied for us. He looked like a painter who had been rolling ceilings all day — his T-shirt was splattered with ice cream.
I could have worn mine to the opera that night.
My girl Friday throughout my shift Saturday was Lauren Allen, who is an East Rowan High senior headed for veterinary school at some place like Virginia Tech, Clemson or N.C. State. She has a lot on the ball and probably can take her pick of schools.
Sadly for her, Lauren could not take her pick of news titans. She was stuck with me, though she was excited about our Faithful Friends cause.
Lauren guided and instructed me, showed me where all the ingredients were and saved my cookies and cream several times throughout the day. She also dealt with the money, as did Jessica Utley, David’s assistant.
Katie Smith, a senior at West Rowan, ran between the windows, helping each of us. It was crowded back there and got stickier by the minute with everything I was dripping on the floor.
I would grade my Dairy Queen talents like this:
• Cones: C+, though I was getting better at the end.
• Dipped cones: D. Once I dipped the whole cone into the butterscotch, making Lauren gasp. Scared of doing that again, I didn’t dip far enough on later cones. Whisenant was a good dipper, by the way.
• Sundaes: C. A lot of times my towers of ice cream were off-center, meaning I didn’t leave room for things to drip over the top and down all sides.
• Blizzards: B+, but I soon learned they are the easiest things to make.
• Shakes: B. I think I made pretty good shakes for the customers, but Lauren and Katie ran for cover whenever it came time for me to use the shake machine. Truth be told, I think my worst shake of the day — a chocolate one — went to Melissa Utley’s mother.
• Banana splits. F. I didn’t do many of these, but apparently the girls were not impressed with either of us. “That one banana split was a little on the edge,” Jessica said of David’s. “It literally was hanging on the edge.”
Katie summed it up for both of us. “You had some banana split trouble.”
As you might expect, the line outside Whisenant’s window was constant throughout the two hours. Once I had a lull and shouted to the folks in David’s line, “Animals are people, too!”
When David wasn’t looking, I also spit into the sundaes he was making. You think I’m kidding? Ask my truck about what a sore loser I am.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@