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Don’t Cry Over “Spoiled” Milk

April 17, 2016 - - 0 Comments

Every year; millions of American food and beverage retailers suffer from elevated electric bills and food spoilage due to inadequate temperature control in their walk-in coolers & freezers.

About a year ago; I wondered into a supermarket near our manufacturing plant, trying to sell them some strip curtains for their walk-in cooler and freezer. The place was rather run down and I couldn’t help but notice that the store was very large inside; yet it was only staffed with two or three people. The manager of the store approached me and asked me if I was trying to sell them something.

I answered; well I was but I’m just looking around to see if I needed something from the store first. The manager asked me to follow him because he wanted to show me something. I was a little Leary about it but my curiosity got the best of me; so I followed him back through a torn up swinging door into the back room of the store.

Sadly; I noticed that the back room was more organized than the front, where customers shopped. I asked him how many years had they been in business? He replied; about nine years. He liked to talk and told me that he was not the manger; he was the owner of the store. He walked me back to what appeared to be a very old walk-in cooler made out of wood.

I asked him if I could see what was inside and he opened the latched door for me. It was wood on the outside but made out of commercial cooler material on the inside; with few to no items visible inside of it. I asked him if this was his only cooler. He replied yes; and stated that because it leaked somewhere, he couldn’t keep many things in it for any period of time. He told me that he had replaced the gaskets on the front door, but it didn’t help.

I noticed that on the left side of the cooler was what looked like the largest empty coffee can I had ever seen in my life, attached to a pipe going into the concrete floor marked in bold letters; “Milk”. I said the word milk and asked him why the milk and pipe setup was there.

He told me that it was used to dump spoiled milk into. I asked him how much milk spoils that he had to make a spoiled milk dump contraption like that? He said up to 40 gallons a week, maybe more. He told me that he couldn’t afford to pay $10,000 dollars for a new cooler, a compressor, and the installation of both; because he had to throw away allot more than milk; and he had to lay two employees off, as well.

Seeing this was an emergency; I asked him if he had a flashlight and a small ladder that I could use to see if I could help him out. He said that he didn’t know how I could possibly help him out; but obliged me and let me use both items.

I looked at the coolers temperature gauge which read 59 degrees before I started; which accounted for the premature spoiling of food items and milk, all the time.

I could only check the sides and around the front latching door because the cooler was built to the ceiling.

I couldn’t feel any cold air coming out from any part of the cooler; until I climbed up the ladder and that is where I found the cool air leak.

I discovered that the top wooden frame of the cooler, just behind the external latching door; was warped inward, about four inches or so. Cool air was rushing out at my face. I asked the owner to check it out and he was amazed that the source of all evil was finally found. You really couldn’t see the damage from below because of the gaskets that he had recently purchased; by an installer who never to the time to let him know about the real reason that the store owner needed the gaskets in the first place.

The store owner asked me if there was anything that I could do about his cooler warping problem. I said “Absolutely”, that’s what I do. I went on to let him know that a simple strip curtain with accommodating hardware was all he needed to fix the problem; and keep his temperature regulated to where it needs to be.

I also let him know that the hanging hardware was made out of aluminum and could easily be bowed to match the warping in the wood at the top of the frame of the door.

He let me know that by performing a forensic examination of his cooler, which he couldn’t afford to have anyone else do; may very well have saved his store, his health department harassment; and the jobs of the two employees he had to lay off.

He also let me know that his accountant had informed him that just in the last year he had lost over $30,000 in spoiled food.

The store owner called me up recently and thanked me again, for my assistance with his uncontrolled temperature problem in his walk-in cooler .

 

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