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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

Ice, Ice Baby

February 22, 2016

I dozed off for a minute and ice chests became valuable commodities.

A couple of years ago I was stopped at an intersection in my truck and saw a Yeti window decal on the vehicle in front of me. I asked my wife if she knew what that was and she didn’t have a clue. I assumed it might be a new heavy metal rock band that hadn’t heard of, or maybe even some type of surf shop a college kid visited during Spring Break. But the surf shop guess didn’t hold water because a Yeti is a mythical snow monster that wouldn’t have anything to do with the beach— maybe it was the name of a ski shop in the Colorado Rockies.

Months went by and I began seeing more and more of these window decals on people’s vehicles. It was either a very popular band or a booming ski shop. Still I had no clue.

I was taken aback when I finally learned that the Yeti decals I had been seeing were for a brand of ice chest. “Who loves an ice chest so much that they are motivated to put a sticker on their vehicle?” I asked my wife. “That must be one heckuva ice chest.” I made a mental note to check one of these ice chests out the next time I was in the jewelry store, A Sharper Image, or Neiman Marcus.

I was shocked when, a couple of days later, I was walking around the sporting goods store and spotted a Yeti sign similar to the window decals I had been seeing. There— not in Neiman Marcus or Sharper Image— in all of their ice-preserving glory were several tan and green ice chests. I was a little underwhelmed when I finally saw one of these things. I can’t remember what I was expecting, but one would think that an ice chest that is so good it motivates people to put a window decal on their truck would have to be a very, very special ice chest, indeed. Maybe one with a built-in clock radio, iphone charger, small television screen, Bluetooth capability, a picture-in-picture feature, and a remote control, bedazzled even.

A sales clerk walked up and asked, “Looking for a Yeti?”

“Maybe. What’s the deal here?”

“It’s the greatest ice chest ever made,” he said. “Keeps ice for days.”

“Nice. How much?”

He looked inside the Yeti’s  lid (no iPhone charger, radio, or screen in there) and found a small price tag, “679.00”

In all of my 54 years I have never actually executed a natural spit take when told a joke or shocking news. Though I do believe that had I been drinking a beverage at that precise moment I would have spewed it all over the sales clerk and the $10,000 stack of ice chests standing before me. “What?!” I asked.

“But it keeps ice cold for days.”

When did ice become so valuable that I need to spend over $600.00 to make an 89-cent bag of ice last an extra day? That’s like getting a $250,000.00 Ivy League degree in psychology and taking a $32K per year job doing social work for a local government agency— a noble endeavor indeed, but a psychology degree at the state college, for a 1/10th of the cost, would have landed the same job.

“I think my ice situation is OK,” I told the sales clerk.

“But the ice lasts for days.”

“I understand.”

“Let me know if you have any more questions,” he said.

Oh, I had questions alright— many, many questions— but none that he was going to be able to answer. He was way, way smarter than I. He had struck gold and become a distributor of a product that people were used to paying $20 for and now they were excitedly doling out a week’s pay. And not only that, they were also advertising the product for free on their vehicles!

I talked about this to my friends. They all said the same thing. “But the ice lasts for days.”

“It’s frozen water,” I said. “Why would I spend that kind of money to preserve a product that is free at my house, or under a buck at the convenience store?”

“But the ice lasts for days,” was their only comeback.

Then, months later, my wife came home with a Yeti drink cup. “What in the name of all that is holy have you done?” I asked. “Have you lost your bearings?”

“It’s a Yeti Rambler,” she said. “It was only $40, and it keeps drinks cold for hours. Seriously Robert, I can put ice in here and it will still be cold the next day.”

“Yes, honey, but when I put an iced drink in my $2 plastic tumbler it keeps my drink cold for a few hours. The crazy thing is I usually have finished my beverage in 10-15 minutes. Why do I want to preserve a soft drink or a glass of water for 24 hours?”

“But the ice lasts for days,” she said.

Et tu Brute!


Beeson Punch

1 46-oz can pineapple juice

1 small can frozen orange juice

1 small can frozen lemonade

1 quart ginger ale


Add enough water to make 1 gallon

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