Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Holy Search For ECTO Cooler

Well, if you haven't heard yet, you're under a rock. Blink twice for help. 

No...? Just a grimace of pain?

I'll take that grimace and grunt as a sign that you are still on the search for the nostalgic item of the summer; Hi-C's ECTO COOLER.

Yes, it's all true that ECTO COOLER returned to this dimension on May 30th. (Memorial Day in the US) It has been a long and chronicled search for the orange tangerine citrus drink that used to haunt our lunch bags in the 1990s. 

From Coca Cola's Press Release earlier this year: 

“Hi-C Ecto Cooler will be sold in 10-packs of 6-ounce juice boxes and in 6- and 12-packs of 11.5-ounce aluminum cans. The cans are specially printed using thermal ink that turns an eerie shade of slime green when the product inside is cold.”

ECTO COOLER's Twitter advocate has warned us that this will not be an "everywhere" launch on May 30th but rather a slow rollout of the beverage to retailers. But the search has begun which has led many to great adventures to find the orange tangy slime

Myself included. 

On May 30th, I had begun the search myself at the local Walmart as ECTO COOLER's official site lists them as a major distributor. I have found it damn near impossible to even ask for help from Walmart employees so when it wasn't on the shelf, I gave up. 

I knew that my daughter had a doctor's appointment in Duluth, Minnesota and this granted me the ability to search a Cub Foods. This was another major partner of Coca Cola's new release. 

However, on the ride, I got impatient. I was on baby duty for our three month old in the backseat of the car and I had my iPad with me. I remember seeing that Craig (from the Yes, Have Some Podcast) had order some online from a retailer called HEB. (In Minnesota, we do not have HEB so it's like ordering from Mars with high hopes.)

The HEB website listed the thermal ink cans in a case with a limit of only 4 per customer. I was excited to see this still in stock as Amazon has been useless to me almost all my life including this ECTO COOLER launch. I decided I would not get greedy and selected a quantity of 2 cases. 

I was pumped. The ECTO COOLER cans would be perfect for the GHOSTBUSTERS NORTH event coming up where we were attending a Fathom Event for the screening of the original Ghostbusters movie on June 8. We were 8 days away and this would give enough time for shipping as the website stated any orders before noon would ship the same day. It was currently 11:39 AM. 

I put in my information for the order and honestly for the price of $9 per case, I wasn't mad. I planned on keeping some cans for the ECTO Cave and these would be portable for the event. Much better than the juice boxes. 

Then the website crashed on me. I re-entered my information and was told that there was only a case left. So I had to re-enter all my information again and resubmit the order. 


I seriously ran the gauntlet of bad timing for this order and lost. The odds of that happening made me disbelieve the reality of the situation.

Bye bye cans. Adios cool toasting in jumpsuit. The beverage of THE DAY for June 8 was off the table. 

My wife and I carried on with the day by attending our daughter's doctor appointment. Everything was great there and after having a baby with an open heart surgery, we couldn't have lucked out better. The relief of that made me kind of forget about "the search."

Until my wife said, "Where's Cub Foods at?" 

Oh yeah! We were going to stop there I gave her the directions and she thought it silly to run in for a kids drink. She has no partial nostalgia to this drink. If it were something "Tales from the Crypt," we would have driven to Utah for it. 

I ran into Cub Foods and I'll be honest that I am not a Cub Foods shopper. I have been in a Cub Foods  four times in my life. Total. Orientating myself to the layout of this store was like coming out of a flashbang pop but thanks to those handy signs over the aisles, I was in business. 







I ran my 31 year old buns down the aisle looking for the Hi-C juice box packages because I knew that the cans were online only or exclusive to Cinemark theaters. 

Juicy Juice. Nope. Orchard Farms. Uh uh. Motts. Not today. 

Then I came to the realization that this aisle had not a single Hi-C product. I remembered that the official website states:

Look for it in the juice aisle at these retailers and check back often as this list grows.

I double checked. I tripled checked. 


I searched other aisle. I found the soda section and checked there. I looked at aisle specialty stands. 

I could almost hear the 1990s box art Slimer laughing at me. 

Finally, I saw two employees stocking shelves and laughing about some girl that they both knew. They were bantering about some college conversation about partying and weekends. Being that I am almost as old enough to be their dad (FML by the way), I asked if they carried Hi-C. 

"Yeah, uhh, Hi-C is in aisle six."

I panicked because I just spent 6 minutes in Heartbreak City and mailed my grandmother a postcard from there. 

"Did you guys get ECTO COOLER?"

"We did... *slight anger and confusion* We only got one case and I don't know if there is any left..." 

Fuck it. I am off. Exit stage left. 

I end up in aisle six which is a fuckery of an aisle that was made up in Trump's America. It's the, and I kid you not, "LUNCH BOX AISLE." 


I found the Hi-C section which was about the size of a skateboard and there was a hole punched in the wall. ECTO COOLER was that hole and in it remained two 10 packs of the juice boxes. 

I grabbed them like a fumbled football on Thanksgiving and headed for the check outs. I had to take a victory photo and send it to my Ghostbusting counterpart, Matt. He had been searching another town for the drink and since we were doing the June 8th event, we made a pact to share the spoils. 

I was so excited to have finally found these that I didn't check price. I ran to a self check out lane and as someone who works in technology, I FUBAR'd that self check out so badly that I needed a store employee to help me undo the mess just to ring out two juice boxes. 

I spent $4.28 at Cub Foods and I have never been so happy in my life. 

We plan on going on the hunt again next week prior to the movie event as we will be in full Ghostbusters jumpsuits. Matt is a film maker and we thought it might be fun to try to film the search, complete with people's reactions to two Ghostbusters asking about something as simple as sugary water. 

For anyone who wants to ask their retailer for availability or
for ordering purposes, here is the UPC.

The return of ECTO COOLER has everyone trying it.
Some for the first time, many for a return to simpler times.

There's just something special about Ghostbusters marketing which has made this drink the juice of the Holy Grail. It's just something cool. I mean it was meant to be "slime" and hit right when that was the cool thing for kids. After Ghostbusters came out, slime was in. Hell, Nickelodeon was LAUNCHED with large part due to their adoption of slime. Kids love the stuff. 

Somewhere, somehow and my theory points at Sponge Bob, slime died off as the "it" item. I am not sure it was a kid thing that killed it rather than a corporate decision by suits. 

If the new Ghostbusters movie does one thing, I hope it brings back the love for slime and ECTO COOLER might have a large part of that. The marketing for everything Ghostbusters has that classic, iconic green slime on it and I fucking love it. 

The contrast of the black and almost neon green just makes all right with the world. Now that I can have that electric green in a clear glass, it stirs something inside me that just makes me wanna smile.

A big thank you to Coca Cola for bringing this back and if there is ONE GOOD THING* to come out of this new movie, it's ECTO COOLER.  


For those that cannot find it yet, it's coming. And it's glorious. 

Now excuse me while I prep myself for the release of the Key Lime Slime Twinkies.

So what do we do?
I don't know ---
What do you think?

*There's more than one thing but if you gotta search for one silver lining.

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