Cooler Runnings

Hey Kids,

May is coming quick; before we know it, it’ll be here. We received our key to the houseboat and although I think we need to make another trip down to inspect the interior of the boat for sleeping arrangements and such, I’m not sure if we’re going to make it before our May trip.

It’s been suggested from the responsible side of our marital partnership that instead we should start to work on getting ready to go now and not the week before we leave. I reluctantly agreed that maybe we should. And one of the things we decided that we needed was another cooler.

On a Saturday afternoon lark, we cruised through a thrift store. Left stranded on one of the shelves in the back a cooler waited to be found. It was one of the good ones. No not a yeti, but a Coleman Extreme 5-day cooler, 50 quart, rollaway type. It looked great but we noticed one of the wheels was fatally broken.

I had seen this type of situation before. Two years ago. We had found another Extreme cooler. Typical arrangement, 52 quart; however, the plastic hinges broken leaving the lid free to be removed. A quick web visit to EBay and for $5, I had new ones on the way. Combined with the sticker price of $10, we had realized a savings of about $45.

I whipped out my phone and immediately started hunting for a replacement wheel. I couldn’t find it. I saw others eyeing our find and we had to make a quick decision. The tag also said $10. Would it be worth it if I couldn’t find a wheel? How much would a wheel be if I did find one?

The other bargain hunters could smell the blood of a good deal in the water. They circled. We protected our prey within our cart. I frantically thumbed through more web pages of DIY repairs but could not find the part listed. We ran for the cash register anyway.

“$10 seems a little high for a broken-wheeled cooler,” my wife said to the manager.

“How about $3?”IMG_20170312_215458905


The kill was ours. $3 for a $50-60 cooler, but missing one wheel. We took it home for the night.

I spent the better part of this morning searching online and kept striking out. And then it struck me, the wheel doesn’t have to know for what it was made. Maybe one for a grill would work. To Home Depot we flew.

For $8, a lawnmower wheel would fit. I had to spend an additional 31¢ on a bushing to match the bore size to the axle, but it worked. My wife laughed as I carved figure eights in the parking lot with the cooler in tow. I had to assure it would roll without a limp. It did.

Success. Savings: $48! Mark additional cooler off of the list.

I’m feeling quite proud of myself tonight.


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