Posted in Blurt, Humor, News

Profiting From The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is sweeping the internet and bringing in a ton of cash to help eradicate that disease. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a degenerative and fatal nerve disease that is better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The challenge, involving people choosing to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads or donate some cash to support ALS research, has nearly quadrupled donations to the ALS Association. It is hard to argue with the good that the challenge is doing in both raising awareness of the condition and backing research toward a cure.

But ALS charities and sufferers are not the only beneficiaries of this silliness. Some are riding the gravy train of this trend all the way to the bank. I tapped my vast Nudge/Wink Report expense account and went after one of these nouveau riche millionaires to get the full story.

Meet Bob Cubbage

Ice is food, damn it. Respect ice. (photo credit, me)
Ice is food, damn it. Respect ice. (photo credit, me)

Robert Cubbage III is a third generation ice man. He inherited an ice making business from his father, Junior, who got it from, well, you know the story. Cubbage & Sons Ice Company started in the late twenties, when founder Robert Cubbage began hauling ice to fill home ice boxes in the towns surrounding Chicago.

Over the years, the business grew. Now diversified and providing ice to the food service and convenience store industries, Cubbage’s Cubes produces and sells 380 million pounds of ice per year. When I went to his company’s offices, Bob Cubbage wasn’t around.

Three days later, I tracked him down. He was living aboard a leased yacht, docked in the harbor on the island of Martinique. I asked him about the effect that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has had on his industry. His eyes lit up behind designer sunglasses as he started his reply.

“Dude, are you kidding me? ALS is the best thing to happen to the ice industry since frozen pizza. I freakin’ love that shit.” He paused to light a cigar. He used a $100 bill to do it, then continued. “Seriously, my crews usually crank out about 300 million pounds during the summer months. People use the stuff to cool beer or keep their catch fresh on fishing trips. This summer, every yahoo with a video camera and indoor plumbing is dumping ice water over their heads. We’re putting out at least three times as much ice. I’ve got crews freezing cubes 24/7 and the stores are screaming for more”.

Profits Put A Chill On Product Development

Cubbage went on to explain that the demand for ice, any kind of ice people can get their hands on, is so great he’s backed off on some promising innovations he was making in the ice industry before this summer. “Organic ice…back burner. No sugar added ice…back burner. Panko breaded ice…back burner. Gluten free ice…you get the picture, don’t ya buddy? My company is going full steam ahead on cranking out plain old cubes so people can douse themselves for charity and for me.”

I got the impression that Cubbage, and millionaire ice men like him, were taking advantage of the boom in sales. He pointed out several nearby beach houses. All were currently occupied by ice men like him, recklessly spending the windfall profits the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge blew their way.

Sitting On An Bubble Ice Cube

Neither Bob Cubbage nor any of his cronies that I met seemed the least bit concerned that the trend was creating an economic bubble in their industry that looks as dangerous as the bubble in real estate was a few years ago.

Dr. Carlson, Ice Industry Economist, University of Minnesota (public domain)

Back in the states, I spoke with University of Minnesota economist Dr. Lonnie Carlson, a specialist in the ice industry. Carlson and his colleagues see dark days coming for ice companies who don’t re-invest their unexpected windfall properly. “Excessive profit taking in an industry where profit margins are usually thinner is tempting when a boom hits with no warning. Make no mistake, we’re in for a meltdown, soon. I’ve seen signs of what’s coming. Some of the smaller providers are going under; that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

On the plane back home, I reflected on the last thing I heard Bob yell drunkenly as I left his yacht. “Lou Gehrig said he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I’ll tell you what, maybe he was, but he wasn’t no Bob Cubbage! I love ALS!”

Bob’s guffaw echoed in my mind as I remembered that moment. And all I could think was “God that guy is an ice hole”.

Click here to donate to the ALS Association. Ice water is optional.

 

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Author:

Most who read my blog don't know me from the man in the moon. But they seem nice and I am, in fact, The Man In The Moon.

22 thoughts on “Profiting From The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

  1. Frankly, I’m tired of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I’m also waiting for someone to drop dead from a heart attack during the challenge. Anyway, my view is that Alzheimer’s research needs some stunt way more than ALS does (yeah, that sounds harsh, I know). 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. That’s sobering.

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  2. Bob Cubbage makes me want to give up all ice products. I don’t really like my drinks that cold anyway. My Scotch doesn’t have to be on the rocks. I can drink it straight up.
    Lou Gehrig was an inspiration and ALS sucks!

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  3. Reblogged this on Blogdramedy and commented:

    This week on The Nudge Wink Report, Oma gets to splash cold water all over his face just for doing his job as a field reporter. That’s cold. Or in the words of a great song stylist…ice, ice, baby. Check it out over at NWR!

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  4. I’m really glad that money is being raised for a worthy cause. But I am so over all these videos. The Bill Gates video put me over the edge. Although I did enjoy the David Ortiz video. I can’t listen to that guy without thinking about Pedro Seranno (sp?) I’d much rather write the check than dump ice water over my head. Maybe I’m missing something.

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  5. I’ve been watching this ALS phenom as it has circulated closer and closer to me on Facebook. Just yesterday, I saw one of my closest “friends” get challenged, and I now know it’s only a matter of time before I’m fingered to dump ice water over my head. My phone doesn’t play sound on Facebook videos, probably because it’s not as smart as it should be, so the only thing I know about the challenge is that it involves ALS awareness and people getting ice water dumped over their heads. I’m thinking of changing it up and using warm water with bits of styrofoam in it and then squealing as if it’s cold. Some choppy camerawork should complete my ruse. I’ll be able to raise awareness for ALS while doing my part to screw up the ozone layer by busting up styrofoam. At least Cubbage won’t get his cold, greedy fingers on my cash.

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