Some Las Vegas stores refusing to handle Schweddy Balls

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Ben & Jerry's "Schweddy Balls" ice cream. The limited-edition flavor is an homage to a 1998 "Saturday Night Live" skit featuring Alec Baldwin as bakery owner Pete Schweddy.

Las Vegas is a city known for naughtiness, where showgirls walk around in lingerie and the company of women is advertised on handbills.

But even in this climate, a number of grocery stores have kept pints of a certain ice cream off their shelves for fear they may upset customers. The flavor in question: Ben & Jerry’s Schweddy Balls.

“While we do carry many of Ben & Jerry’s varieties, that one we decided to keep out of our mix,” Smith’s spokeswoman Marsha Gifford said. “It has been a decision for Kroger stores across the country. The company felt that from our customers’ perspective, it may be offensive.”

A Mississippi mothers’ group started an action campaign against the ice cream flavor when it was released, calling it “vulgar” and inappropriate for children. Organizers urged members to complain to Ben & Jerry’s about its choice of name and lobby grocery stores to keep the treat out of their freezers.

The rum-flavored vanilla ice cream with chocolate-covered rum malt balls is named after a classic “Saturday Night Live” skit featuring “Pete Schweddy,” a baker played by Alec Baldwin. In the bit, Baldwin shares his “Schweddy Balls” confection with two radio hosts, noting that “no one can resist (his) Schweddy Balls.”

Ben & Jerry’s rolled out the limited-edition flavor for the holiday season. It is stocked on shelves at local Albertson’s stores but is missing from Smith’s and Whole Foods aisles. Both stores carry other Ben & Jerry’s flavors with potentially sensitive names, including Karamel Sutra and Clusterfluff.

Whole Foods spokeswoman Liz Burkhart said the company stocks Schweddy Balls in some geographic areas. The decision on where the ice cream is sold hinges more on the fact that Whole Foods stocks regionally sourced products than moral sensibilities, she said. Marketing coordinator Hilary Maler said some Las Vegas stores did stock Schweddy Balls, but they sold out of the flavor and have no plans to restock it. Workers at three locations reached by the Sun said they never stocked the ice cream, including a Whole Foods manager in Henderson who acknowledged that several customers had requested it.

Albertson’s is one of the few local grocery stores where Schweddy Balls is easy to find. Spokesman Luke Friedrich said it is available in all of the grocery store’s locations but noted that the company decided against marketing the flavor on in-store signs and in circulars.

Customers who have tried the ice cream seem to like it. A Ben & Jerry’s spokesman said Schweddy Balls is the company’s best-selling limited-edition flavor.

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  1. You people need to really REALLY get a life.. it is marketing ,,,,,, if you don't approve of it ,,,, simple don't buy it .....
    like all of the other things we deal with on a regular basis,

    GET OVER IT and worry about the real problems we have here in LAS VEGAS ......

  2. I commend Smiths for taking the high road with this campaign to wipe out potentially offensive language from ice cream packaging. Customers need to be steered towards the more sexually suggestive advertising in the liquor dept, pick up a pack of smokes and gamble in the gambling areas Smiths provides for the customers.

  3. "Some Las Vegas stores did stock Schweddy Balls, but they sold out of the flavor and have no plans to restock it."

    Supply and Demand. It sounds like people want to buy it. Economy must be great when you can turn down sales. If a customer has made it to the store without being offended by the billboards etc. on the streets why would a "flavor name" on an ice cream container put them over the edge?

  4. It's sad when the pc attitude creeps into the ice cream isle. Schweddy Balls was a skit on Saturday Night Live that was on 20 years ago at midnight. Now you have a chance that will be seen at 8pm on a best of SNL. The conscience of tv has changed and this is guided by the FCC censers. Talk to your kids and try this great rum ball ice cream.

    To Smiths, See ya in a few, I'm getting low on Effin Vodka

  5. It must have been so fun to write this article.

  6. Clusterfluff???

  7. "They're made from a secret Schweddy Family recipe. No one can resist my Schweddy Balls"

  8. Actually the skit was on in last year's season. I bought a small dixie-cup size package at my local Wal-Mart a few weeks ago. It was good, When I went back to get more, it's not there anymore.
    Alec Baldwin made a comment about it on the repeat SNL the other night, he said if they don't like that flavor, then B&J has another flavor called 'Get the Fudge out' The crowd roared.

  9. First the Heart Attack burger joint, and now with the Schweddy Balls. Is this a great country or what?

  10. Schweddy Balls? Really? This is offensive to some and being kept off grocery store shelves. Get the sticks out of your hineys and focus on something else of importance. Half the parents that take offense to something like this probably have out of control, drug addled, and pregnant teenage kids that they cant control. I know, let's blame some harmless and cute ice cream name with a play on words.

  11. I think anyone who has time to worry about an ice cream names Schweddy Balls has way too much time on their hands and should be doing something way more constructive. I personally will choose to punish any retailer who does not make this product available to me. That punishment will come in the form of taking my business elsewhere. My money is the same color green of a bunch of crazy bored women in Miss.

  12. The things that pass for issues these days...is this really a legitimate concern for anyone in year three of Great Depression II?

  13. "Some Las Vegas stores refusing to handle Schweddy Balls"

    I thought you had to go to Nye County for that, anyway.

  14. Smiths can have a pit full of slot machines, but stocking ice cream with a funny name is seen as a way to corrupt kids. The HORROR!!! With the overabundance of advertising in supermarkets for junk food I doubt this ice cream even gets a passing glance unless you're looking for it.

    With that said there is no such thing as bad press and this womens group is doing more to sell that ice cream than any other piece of publicity. Can I hire them?