It's cold back here
February 13, 2014 5:00 PM   Subscribe

How would I ship snowballs to my friends in Los Angeles, CA without their melting, and how much would I have to pay for it?

I had the idea of a cool present for my friends in Los Angeles who have been under a lot of stress recently. I already have a good quality styrofoam box with 2 inch thick walls, from an earlier frozen food present, and I am thinking of filling it with fresh snowballs (regular snow from the blizzard that hit the area yesterday) and shipping it to them as a joke.

(a) do I need to also put in cold packs? (b) does the box need to ship express, and how much would that be for about 5 lb.? (c) do I need to tell USPS or UPS what it is or can I lie and say ice cream?

I would like not to pay more than $25. If it will be more than $30 I will change my mind and send them something less pointless, though I'm thinking of including some syrup so they can make snow cones.
posted by bad grammar to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
I think you'd have to do it the way that Omaha Steaks ships their products. That means overnight delivery, and dry ice IIRC.

It's going to cost more than $30.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:42 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]

(a) do I need to also put in cold packs?
Yes, I definitely would.

(b) does the box need to ship express, and how much would that be for about 5 lb.?
I definitely think the faster you can get it there, the better. Sorry, not sure how much you'll have to pay for that.

(c) do I need to tell USPS or UPS what it is or can I lie and say ice cream?
Not sure why you would want or need to lie. Snowballs aren't illegal.

By the way, this is a very cute idea. Hope you make it happen!
posted by schroedingersgirl at 5:43 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]

Obviously you're not shipping elk meat, but this might be helpful. It sounds like dry ice and next day air is your best choice. Next day air, however, is like $90 for a 5 lb package, depending where you're sending from. 3 day shipping is like $35, but there's a good chance it would melt.

You can calculate shipping cost here.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 5:43 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]

Put everything inside a plastic bag, to contain leaks.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:43 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]

Maybe look a the post offices Express which are $45, get as much dry ice as will fit. Perhaps line the box with the styrofoam from the other box.
posted by sammyo at 5:55 PM on February 13

FWIW, I put snowballs in the freezer once as a kid, and within a couple of days, they were just ice balls. I don't know what happened or why, and I have no advice about how to avoid this, but it's a potential problem to be aware of.
posted by waldo at 6:30 PM on February 13

Maybe you can find a sno cone vendor near your friends to make some snowballs and deliver them with a card from you.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:52 PM on February 13

This is not an awesome idea -- if it melts in transit or has condensation, it's going to mess up other people's packages and make life difficult for the worker who's moving it around.

The first rule of cute gifts is to keep your karmic footprint as low as possible. Otherwise your twee-ness is a secret cloak of dickitude.
posted by spunweb at 8:55 PM on February 13 [9 favorites]

This is unlikely to go well, and definitely isn't happening at your price point.

USPS guidelines for mailing dry ice

posted by jon1270 at 2:28 AM on February 14

Take a photo of yourself getting ready to throw a snowball.

Find a photo of someone being hit by a snowball, and paste your friend's photo over the face. Then repeat for each friend. It doesn't have to be a believable Photoshop job; the rough edges will show them it was made with love.

Actual snowballs would melt, but they can treasure the pics forever.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 5:51 AM on February 14

If you think that your friends would be into rarely-used gimmicky kitchen appliances, the shaved ice category on amazon is uncannily right in your price range.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:09 AM on February 14

They do sell snow in a can and other such items that would be very, very easy to send. I think the sentiment and joke would be the same, but it would be a whole lot less hassle. This got good reviews on Amazon. It won't be like *real* snow, but I don't think real snow is necessary for the gag.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:50 AM on February 14

I share waldo's reaction to this idea. Snowballs in the freezer become ice balls. I'd expect a snowball sharing an insulated container with dry ice would become the same, maybe more so because frozen CO2 is much colder than a freezer.
posted by Rash at 8:55 AM on February 14

How about you bake a Batch of Snowball Cupcakes and send those in the mail instead?

Or Snowball Truffles might hold up in the mail a bit better. Or snow capped cookies?
posted by fontophilic at 12:09 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]

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