If You Can Find This Cooler, Walmart Will Sell It To You

Karen writes, “I am planning a trip to Chicago next month and was looking for a travel cooler, and found exactly what I needed…” Then she noticed something odd. Yes, this leprechaun of a cooler will reward you with awesome in-car chilling, if you can just solve the riddle of how to buy it.

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  1. laserjobs says:

    Go to eBay

  2. I’ve had one of these before, and it is very important to remember that all that heat from inside the cooler has to go somewhere. Unless you have the AC running (or windows down) it will shortly be sweltering inside your car.

    …but they totally keep stuff cold.

  3. Legal_Eagle_In_Training says:

    @valarmorghulis: Ah, good to know. Maybe I’ll just get the old fashioned kind that uses ice.

    @laserjobs: I was just doing a quick search online to see what stores to go to. Walmart was obviously of no help to me.

  4. holy crap, this is what my husband needs in his big rig! Thanks, consumerist, for posting this!

    P.S.- WTH?? Reminds me of the post about the electric bike that wasn’t sold in stores or online. False Advertising!! How can you advertise something you don’t stock? Like an auto parts store advertising blenders. Unreal.

  5. ffmariners says:

    Ok, so they are sold out (or the item is discontinued). So rather than buying the item and then finding out “oh crap I need to wait for it” or “oh crap I now need to get my money released cause the item isnt being stocked anymore” they are telling you upfront.

    Damned if you do, damned if you dont…

  6. maneki neko says:

    It’s a Zen cooler. Or perhaps they just mean “Out of Stock”.

  7. @hurkon: that was my thought too…well, the latter one.

  8. TheDude06 says:

    Those coolers are fantastic! One of the few electronic devices that takes advantage of the massive amperage available in a cars electrical system. They use peltier junctions, the same fancy schmancy cooling parts CPU overclockers use.

    And err… if you are a trucker, these are sold at every truck stop. Not extremely popular due to the heat dissipation issue mentioned.

  9. strife1012 says:

    If you can’t buy it, you don’t need it.

    I want one.

    Try Rubbermaid’s website, Wait, not there either.

  10. unpolloloco says:

    @verucalise: How is this false advertising? It says “not available in stores” and “not available online” and does not give you the ability to purchase it. False advertising would be if they offered it for purchase and it wasn’t available online or in stores.

  11. topgun says:

    Checking on Google it seems everybody is out
    EXCEPT I did find this site with other sizes available.
    [www.invertersrus.com]

  12. esthermofet says:

    Maybe it’s out of stock, a new product that they haven’t stocked before, or it’s been discontinued. You could always try Costco [www.costco.com] (product page) or even Amazon [www.amazon.com] (sellers with the product).

    Pretty neat — would make a nice addition to my office. =-)

  13. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @ffmariners: @hurkon: Most websites just put “Out of stock” instead of “Not sold online”. Then again, most sites are designed by humans, not trained monkeys.

  14. Woot has had this item (or one very similar to it) before, and the Woot-off continues (long live the Woot-off!), so don’t be surprised if this item pops up. I’ve been waiting for it, too.

  15. TVarmy says:

    I imagine this isn’t so much false advertising as technical incompetence. Probably realized it wasn’t worth selling at the stores, so it became online only, and then for some reason they decided to stop selling it online, and the website’s software didn’t take down the item or simply list it as out of stock.

    It likely has been discontinued based on the other comments here. I was interested until I found out that it makes the car hot, as my car has a dead air conditioner. Also, I imagine it makes a pretty big ding in the cars mileage.

  16. kathyl says:

    It appears they are trying to do the OP a favor and strongly suggest they purchase the item elsewhere?

    If you Google the product name it appears that there are other retailers (be careful, some of them have really bad seller reviews) who carry the item. Good luck!

  17. LostAngeles says:

    I just looked. I love that it says at the top, “There is an error”

    Clearly.

  18. Meathamper says:

    We’ll find these in the Wal-Mart, time-space continuum branch.

  19. parrotuya says:

    Maybe it can be found if one passes through the Stargate!

  20. Rachacha says:

    Another problem with these types of devices is that to keep things cool, you will need to leave the device plugged into your cigarette lighter. Not a problem when you are driving, but when you stop for lunch or for an extended period (overnight at a hotel) you will need to unplug it or it will drain your battery.

    If you are an over the road trucker, it may not be an issue as you are typically running your truck 24/7, but perhaps not as convenient for a family traveling on their yearly vacation.

    I used a similar device when I was traveling with my (at the time) younger children (6mos & 2)and used it to keep milk/juice/formula & cheese cool in the car. In the evenings, I pulled out the AC adapter and used it in the hotel room. It was convenient, but when mine died, I never replaced it, small ice coolers are all I typically use now.

  21. bcsus83 says:

    How to buy it? You google the brand and name of it and find it somewhere else. ;)

  22. notlupus says:

    Try Walgreens, I know we carry these exact models for the same price in our small appliance sections.

  23. TheDude06 says:

    If you are having trouble finding one of these, you really must not be looking! They should be in the automotive section of every major retailer. they all work about the same, i wouldnt think this particular model was better than any other one

  24. Legal_Eagle_In_Training says:

    I’m obviously going to look elsewhere to get a cooler, but thought I’d share this quirk with everyone : ) I’ll probably just end up going to Target or a sporting goods store in my area and picking something up. Thanks for all the comments though!

  25. FLConsumer says:

    Target has these in stock… and I have 3 of them.

    Words of advice:

    1) They can only drop the temperature about 40F. So, as long as you keep it in an area that’s under 80F, it’ll work fine as a fridge.

    2) I’d also suggest getting the 110v converter. It takes at least an hour for one of these to come down in temperature. Pre-chilling things helps. Expect about the same cooling performance as a cube fridge. A warm can of soda will take a few hours to become cold.

    3) If you’re buying this exact cooler and know what to do with a soldering iron, rip out the fan inside the cooler and replace it with a quality 80mm computer fan. I also reversed the airflow on mine and the combination of changes improved performance substantially. Mine at work keeps Coke cans cold enough that there’s ice crystals at the top of the drink. Yum!

    3a) I’ve soldered a standard Molex 4-pin computer power connector inside mine. Now fan changeouts take less than 5 minutes and only require a single Philips screwdriver. Might be something to consider. Also, lighted fans are kinda fun. Have a fan which lights up in blue inside mine. (It’s what we had left over in the spare parts bin at work)

    4) If you buy one of these are run it 24/7, see #3. Every single one of these I’ve bought and run 24/7 usually has the fan go out in the first year. Only killed 1 aftermarket fan so far.

    5) Beware: there’s no thermostat on the cooler. I have had soda cans burst when the cooler got a bit too cold inside the cooler and we didn’t open it regularly. That said, I still love drinking Coke/Pepsi with ice crystals on top. Well worth the occasional cleanup.

  26. dragonvpm says:

    This seems like an amusing situation. I will point out that there is an option for looking at “similar items” so having that page isn’t entirely unreasonable (I’ve often thought to look for specific items I saw a while ago). Personally I prefer finding “out of stock”/”discontinued” pages when I’m looking to buy something in particular (as opposed to finding nothing). That tells me I need to look for something else or find it through something like eBay etc…

    I think the only thing wrong with it is that the “Not sold in stores/online” messages are a bit too vague and really should tell you more about what the actual status on that item is.

  27. FLConsumer says:

    Just thought of another one to suggest. Coleman made a rather large version of one of these that uses a Stirling Engine as a compressor and uses real refrigerant. Power draw is less than these little coolers and it gets down to 0F with 100F ambient temperature outside. For those who will be using a portable cooler in warmer temperatures, it’s a much better product. It also comes with a rather steep price: $375. BUT, there’s something to be said about a freezer that can run off a small solar panel and is portable.

  28. mariospants says:

    OK, if the cooler’s not in stock SAY “NOT IN STOCK”. “Not sold in stores” and “Not sold online” means what that says: they don’t sell it and it shouldn’t be listed.

    Obviously this must be a data entry problem.

  29. @FLConsumer: Pimp my Cooler?

  30. Chairman-Meow says:

    Funny, but I’ve seen these at our local Walmart on the shelf.

  31. IC18 says:

    My dad bought one of those at a local Walmart, they must have it at certian stores.

  32. coren says:

    Supposedly “Not Sold Online” means out of stock (as came up the last time Walmart tried something like this), but with them, who knows?

  33. Aisley says:

    Hiya Karen:

    I have the same cooler. I bougth it from Target, believe it or not.