Nothing’s fishy at the hatchery, inside dark freezers

Courtesy of ‘Jake Troutman’

Signs at the Durango fish hatchery send mixed messages: We need your help and we won’t help you.

Why does the refrigerator have a light but the freezer doesn’t? It’s hard to find the Popsicles at night during this hot, hot summer. – Tori Edison

The conventional wisdom blames conventional light bulbs, which generate heat as they come on.

Hot lights defeat the purpose of a freezer, and bulbs don’t like wide temperature fluctuations as this reduces their operational life.

But hold on a sec. LED lights are cool to the touch, thus solving the heat issue.

Then Mrs. Action Line took a quick look inside the freezer for some ice cubes. “Our freezer has lights. I never really noticed that before,” she said, adding that we really ought to do something with that ice-encrusted package of frozen peas purchased last winter because it’s good to have some green vegetables on hand.

There seems to be some wide disparities in the world with major appliances. So let’s turn to an expert in such matters: the folks at Frigidaire.

Just for the record, Frigidaire was the first company to manufacture electric refrigerators and still builds its appliances in America.

“The real reason for lightless freezers is cost,” said Kevin Anderson, a Frigidaire customer-service specialist from his Augusta, Ga., office. “Basic refrigerators are called ‘builder models,’ and these generally don’t have freezer lights because they would be more expensive. Spend a bit more money, and you’ll get more features,” he said.

“When you get into the newer stainless steel models, the side-by-sides or the French door bottom-mount models, these will all have freezer lights.”

Therefore, Mrs. Edison, your kitchen is vexed by an old, cheap refrigerator. Time to buy a spiffy new icebox. Not surprisingly, our friend Kevin in Georgia recommends a Frigidaire.

If making a major purchase is not an option, simply keeping a flashlight nearby can help locate nocturnal refreshments.

Anderson has a different suggestion: “How about glow sticks? They last longer at cold temperatures,” he said wryly.

“It would be a real conversation starter, too. Open the freezer and you have an instant rave with frozen food.”

Why does the local fish hatchery have vending machines to feed the fish, but refuse to give change so you can buy it? And how does that fit with the concept of customer service or the hatchery’s “We Need Your Help” sign a few feet away from the “We Won’t Help You” sign? – Sign me, Jake Troutman

While your question might seem a little fishy, Action Line will take the bait.

So we turn to our friend and Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joe Lewandowski. When it comes to not breaking a dollar, the buck stops with Joe.

“I don’t mean to dismiss this, but the number one reason for the hatchery is to raise healthy fish for stocking in Colorado lakes and streams,” he said. “We’d love to be all things to all people, but hatchery personnel aren’t running a business. Their expertise is propagating species, and they do a great job at it.”

The fish-food machine is a nice convenience. It’s not really a profit center or mission-critical, Joe explained.

“The best way to help is to purchase fishing and hunting licenses,” he said, adding that the division provides excellent customer service in that regard.

“Honestly, if folks just kept some change on them, it would not only avoid parking tickets downtown, but also prevent disappointment at the trout raceways, he said with a laugh.

“A couple of quarters in your pocket can solve many woes,” he said, adding his two-cents worth.

Email questions to or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if you can explain why we add a “d” to the word “fridge” when “refrigerator” doesn’t have a “d.”

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