If you’ve spent any time in an REI or around outdoor enthusiasts of a certain economic stratum in the past several years, you have almost certainly encountered a YETI Coolers product. Their coolers are blocky, unconscionably heavy boxes that prevent ice from coming anywhere near melting, and they cost between $200 and $1,300. The Seiders brothers started the company in 2006, and they’ve been incredibly successful in ushering in in a new wave of high-end coolers. My dad bought one last year because he really likes the idea of ice that never melts, though I don’t think he quite knows what to do with it.
YETI markets itself to outdoorsmen and hunters in particular, but they’ve recently drawn the ire of one of our country’s most assiduous and radical consumer groups: NRA die-hards. On Friday, the NRA sent the dogs after YETI, releasing a combative statement decrying the brand for supposedly refusing to continue doing business with the NRA Foundation.
Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The NRA Foundation saying they no longer wish to be an NRA vendor, and refused to say why. They will only say they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation. That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike. In fact, YETI should be ashamed. They have declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities. These activities enable them to appreciate America and enjoy our natural resources with wholesome and healthy outdoor recreational and educational programs. In this day and age, information is power. We thought you needed this information.”
The florid statement did what it was designed to do—inflame the sensitivities of the large group of loyal consumers who dutifully support or boycott any products or brands the NRA says are good or bad. This is how you get Twitter users identifying themselves as “deplorable #MAGA” to post effusively about how betrayed they feel by a cooler brand and create truly breathtaking memes. The natural next step, of course, is NRA fans filming themselves blowing up and shooting YETI crap for which they spent hundreds of dollars. (This is not altogether different from wearing a diaper to trigger the libs.)
There is, however, a catch. YETI didn’t really spite the NRA by ceasing their relationship, they simply changed up “a group of outdated discounting programs” and even tried to get the NRA to sign up through their new program. “YETI is unwavering in our belief in and commitment to the Constitution of the United States and its Second Amendment,” their statement read.
The NRA, unsurprisingly, is not taking the response well. They published another embarrassingly overwrought statement, this one resembling a bad movie villain’s monologue: “Shame on you again YETI. You know you made a mistake. A big one. Now you must live with your mistake.” Because the NRA is congenitally unwilling to admit fault or chill the fuck out ever, they’re doubling down, while rival brands attempt to surf into the void by declaring how much they love the Second Amendment and how true gun lovers should only support REAL, AMERICAN, AUTHENTIC multi-hundred dollar coolers that will keep your stuff cold for like a week. I mean, look at this shit.
And so here we find ourselves, in the midst of a dumb-as-rocks arms race between essentially indistinguishable cooler brands all trying to declare their undying devotion to guns more fervently than their rivals. The whole shit is exactly as stupid as it seems, and amid all the fog of marketing bullshit and bad-faith NRA posturing, there’s one truth that none of this mess can obscure: $479.99 is too much to pay for a cooler.