The clock struck midnight on this Cinderella story long ago, and sadly, there doesn’t appear to be a happily ever after in sight for the Coolest Cooler — or its backers.
Proving that sometimes, pumpkins really are just pumpkins (even with huge Kickstarter backings promising to turn them into gilded carriages), the company is now asking infuriated customers already labeling the product a crowdfunding scam for even more money. And it’s not exactly chump change either — despite managing to raise $13 million in its initial campaign in 2014 (which was then a Kickstarter record), the Coolest Cooler says that it now needs another $97 from consumers still waiting for their coolers years later.
Two-thirds of the 36,000 backers of one of Kickstarter’s most epic disasters have yet to receive the product promising beach-time nirvana, with everything from a Bluetooth speaker to a blender on board. This, despite the fact that the company has since put its product on Amazon with the price tag of $400. Sure, it’s a lot higher than the Kickstarter price of somewhere between $165 and $225, but at least you’ll actually get a cooler if you order from Amazon.
Initially, the cooler grabbed headlines and backers’ cash by its promise of including said amenities such as a battery-powered blender, waterproof wireless speaker, USB charger, and an illuminated 55-quart interior. But even with all those bells and whistles, Amazon reviews are mixed — while the cooler does live up to its title, a number of users note that it’s almost too heavy to take along and simply doesn’t justify its $400 price tag.
Needless to say, things within Coolest Cooler organization aren’t exactly smooth sailing either. Employees of the beleaguered company have been threatened, doxxed online, and otherwise harassed by angry customers, and certainly, asking for another $100 isn’t going to improve matters much. But creator/entrepreneur Ryan Grepper claims to remain dedicated to fulfilling his Kickstarter promise, no matter how late. “As long as there is breath in my body,” he said, “We are committed to getting each and every backer their Coolest Cooler.”
So sorry guys. But some rags to riches stories go right back to rags.