Ice, ice baby

Duh, duh-duh duh dunna duh duh.  Now that I’ve got that stuck in your head . . .

The plan for Gabriel’s milk feeds during our three-day separation last week involved frozen breast milk (fortunately, I had plenty stockpiled) and dry ice to keep the milk frozen during the eight-plus hour car ride.

Given the early Sunday morning departure time, my only option was to purchase the dry ice on Saturday night.  A bit of research suggested that somewhere between 10-20 pounds of dry ice would do the trick, and, with the heat wave in full force, I called Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (our dry ice source) four days ahead of time to make sure that picking up 20 pounds of dry ice on Saturday night wouldn’t be a problem.  The person on the phone said I couldn’t reserve it, but it would be no problem.

Worried that I would get there and find them out of dry ice, I called again on Saturday morning, hoping they would set some aside with my name on it, but again, no dice, with the same line that they would be able to fill my order when I arrived.

After we put Gabriel to bed on Saturday night, I drove over, expecting to wait in an insane line.  I was pleasantly surprised to see almost no line upon my arrival, despite the full parking lot and many people milling around.

I ordered a quart of soft pack  frozen custard and twenty-five pounds (I’d decided to increase it just a bit from the recommended 10-20 lbs) of dry ice.  The cashier informed me that I needed to speak to a manager about the dry ice.

The manager on duty, who was the World Expert on Dry Ice, came to the window and informed me that she would not sell me 25 pounds of dry ice.  Not that they didn’t have it, but that it was much more than I needed for keeping the milk frozen, that it wouldn’t last for more than 24 hours regardless of how much I bought, and it didn’t matter that I was the customer and a worried mother who wanted to make sure her baby had plenty of safe, properly stored milk and was ready and willing to pay for 25 pounds of dry ice.  Nope, none of that mattered one bit to the World Expert on Dry Ice.

I.  Was.  Livid.

We argued back and forth for quite awhile, but apparently her management training manual left out the whole, “the customer is always right” part, and I could not convince that woman to sell me more than 12-15 pounds of dry ice.

They were handing out 1-pound blocks of dry ice like candy to customers to keep their custard frozen on the way home, and I asked the cashier for one for my custard — after a slight hesitation, she chose the course of greater wisdom and handed it over without argument.

I left with my insufficient dry ice, having decided to drive across town to the other Ted Drewes location to procure enough dry ice to have at least twenty pounds total.  In my rage and frustration, I drove over the concrete parking block, furthering my negative mood with concerns about having damaged the car, as icing on the cake.

Fortunately, I purchased ten more pounds of dry ice at the second location with no problem, and I returned home to unwind from the aggravating ordeal (though not before I called the first store location and told the manager again just how upset I was with the service and refusal to fill my order).

The next day, the milk made it to it’s final destination in good shape.  The World Expert on Dry Ice may have been right that twenty-five pounds was overkill, but it was not overkill for giving me some peace of mind.  And, despite her “over nineteen years of working with dry ice,” the World Expert was wrong that it would only last for 24-hours, a claim on which Matthew had already called B.S.

Turns out we’d be back for more dry ice sooner rather than later . . . .


  1. Jacquie says:

    Getting dry ice is the worst! I had to use it all the time when Ben was a baby and had to fly back to the Midwest for holidays/ etc. We have only used it once with Jacob so far, but I hate the process every time. We have gotten ours from assorted industrial places before and they give us however much we want, no questions asked. Maybe that could work next time since you may not want to give the custard place your business a second time. 🙂

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