Ask The Consumerists: These Flowers Just Need To Chill

Billy’s wife owns a small flower shop near Austin, Texas. The shop’s floral cooler broke down recently. They can’t afford a new one, and can’t find a used one for sale in the area. A misunderstanding when taking out an insurance policy means that the business’s insurance won’t cover the cooler malfunction.

Without a place to keep the flowers fresh and cool in the summer heat, they might as well close down the shop—but who wants to do that?

Billy writes:

We had a couple of days off from working in the flower shop and came back to find that the floral cooler had stopped working. The cooler still powers on, but doesn’t cool. We not only lost the cooler, but several hundred dollars of flowers. I had a refrigeration guy look at it, but the cooler doesn’t have service ports and they can’t hook gauges to it. I’ve tried calling other people, but they want $200 just to look at it and tell me it needs service ports.

I thought that our business insurance would cover all of the loss. We had a great insurance policy a few years ago that would cover any and all loss, but they cancelled it based on someone (my wife’s a$$hole brother) calling them saying we didn’t own the business. We ended up getting another policy thru another company that was supposed to be the same, but it isn’t. I spoke to the adjuster today and they only cover the cooler if it is damaged based on a natural disaster. There isn’t too many times that we will have a wind or rain storm inside the building, so the only other disasters would be lightning or fire. We had neither and now we have no cooler and no business.

We have a huge wedding that will keep us going thru the slow summer, but nowhere or nothing to store the flowers in. I’m emailing you guys to see if anyone in the Austin / Central Texas area has a floral cooler or two that they aren’t using and want to sell. I’ve tried Craigslist and the Austin newspaper, but no luck so far. We have to find something within the next week or face closing the business for good. We can’t afford a new one, so finding an inexpensive used one is priority. I wouldn’t mind paying someone to look at it, but not for the price that I can buy a used one for.

Any ideas for the shop, Consumerists? Sources for used coolers, repair ideas, or alternative flower-chilling ideas would be much appreciated.

(Photo: matsuyuki)