I complained about lousy suitcases recently, but I must confess that I never realized how bad things could really get. Though this story about a cheap roller bag, submitted by Robert Oppenheimer (no relation to that Oppenheimer) goes back a few years, it’s a true made by monkeys ordeal:
“I bought a rolling bag for one of my very infrequent business trips. Granted that it was a bit on the inexpensive (pronounced ‘cheap’) side, but it did work nicely–up to a point.
I was running late getting to the Albuquerque, NM airport for a trip back to NYC. I dropped off my rental car and ran the quarter mile to the terminal - dragging my rolling bag along behind me. I was unaware of anything abnormal until I entered the terminal and noticed folks staring at me.
Stopping for a moment to catch my breath, a strong smell of burning plastic overtook me. Seems that the wheels on my bag had been rubbing against the wheel well
of the rental car, generating enough friction to start melting. The axles also did not have any bearings and caused heating. Thankfully this was pre-9/11 or I’m sure that I would have been detained.
I wound up picking the bag up and carrying it to the baggage check. When I got home, I did a tear-down and replaced the wheels with ones from an old roller blade. Although the repair looked promising, I never had to use it for another business trip.”