Arts & Entertainment

Mark and Julie’s Customers Got More Than Ice Cream on Saturday


WEST ORANGE, NJ - Customers at Mark and Julie’s Homemade Ice Cream store in West Orange had bigger decisions to make than just choosing ice cream flavors on Saturday. They had to decide what to do, if anything, when witnessing a scenario of a father/coach berating/bullying his son for playing badly in a game.

Unsuspecting customers entered the store expecting to get some ice cream, maybe sit with friends or family and chat over the frozen dessert; however, instead, they witnessed an act of bullying and had to make a split-second decision about how to react. What they didn’t know was that they were unwittingly being filmed for a segment on the ABC show, “What Would You Do.”

According to the site, using hidden cameras, the show, which has been airing since 2008, establishes everyday scenarios and then captures people's reactions. Whether people are compelled to act or mind their own business, John Quiñones, the host, reports on their “split-second and often surprising decision-making process.”

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According to Julie Orenstein of Livingston, who owns the store with her husband Mark, some of the people stood up to the father.

“One guy was very passionate—to the point where he almost burst into tears when talking to the ‘dad.’” she said.

Julie said that the scenario involved a father, with children, who were played by three child actors, “who got to eat a lot of ices cream.” Each time a new unsuspecting customer entered the store, the actors, including the one scooping ice cream, had to reset the scene to capture the reactions of the customers.

While the scenario may seem easy enough, setting up the show took a lot of time, people and equipment.

“It was like Grand-Central Station in the basement, with like 25 people and lots of equipment,” Julie said. “There were cameras hidden all over the store getting different angles. It took them like four hours to set up in the morning.”

Mark said, “It was very interesting to see the way they set it up—the way they hid all of the equipment. The customers came in—they didn’t know they were going to be on a show like that.”

Julie and Mark said they were thrilled that ABC chose to film the show at their store. They said that the location scouts had been out to the store a few times before deciding to film at the location.

I loved it,” said Julie. “It was so exciting. It was so much fun.”

I love the show,” she added. “It is one of my favorite shows because it’s not just Candid Camera—it’s not just goofy stuff. These are lessons learned types of scenarios.”

“I think it’s kind of important,” she added. “If you see something bad happening, would you stand up and say something? Some people don’t want to get involved. Some people want to mind their own business. And other people, they see abuse going on—they see something unfair going on, and they do something about it.” 

Mark loved the experience and said it was great, especially since it is “a very popular show.” He was also excited that the episode, which should air around June 2016, will expose the store to national television and advertising.

“You can’t pay for something like that,” he said.

“It was awesome and I feel flattered that they picked us,” he said. “They actually said that they would love to do it again sometime.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: All photos were provided by Mark and Julie Orenstein via their store's Facebook page.

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