Andy’s Handy Dandy Milk Crate Pie Transporter (and possible jail time)

milk crate2.jpg

Milk crates, the kind you formerly could – and maybe still can – find stacked behind grocery stores, were essential to the interior decorating scheme for the apartment my UCSB  roommates and I shared in Isla Vista.  With just a few of these crates and some boards we furnished our apartment with creative book shelves (or, more accurately, shelves to display our empty wine bottles).


For decades several of these milk crates have languished in our garage without my giving them a second thought.  Then, a couple of years ago Ann and I were invited to Thanksgiving dinner at Sara and Joe’s in San Francisco – one’s children had bloody well better invite their parents!  Our contribution to the dinner was to provide the pies.  Ann made three.

TG Pies

Pies at their destination dinner.

This created the logistical problem of transporting them safely in a vehicle that would be traversing windy roads and have a large dog on board. As I posted on Facebook at the time, the engineering solution involved the clever manipulation of one of my college vintage milk crates.

facebook pie carrier

A screenshot of my original FB post.

So, with the  holiday season upon us, I thought this would be a good time to share this practical pie transport idea once more.  You surely want to be prepared should you be asked to bring some pies to a holiday dinner party.

pies in car

Pies in my specially-equipped milk crate securely strapped in the back and safe from large dogs.

I subsequently have discovered, while snooping around on the Internet, that I am not the only one who has come up with a useful suggestion for using milk crates.  In fact there are dozens of uses for these guys:  CD and LP storage, toy boxes, bed frames, bicycle baskets, foot stools, and vegetable bins are just a few.  I should mention that my web search did not uncover one reference for using them for pie transport systems.  This is an exclusive on Andy’s Corner.

milki crate toilet

Just one of the many possible uses for milk crates found on the Internet.

However, there is a caveat.  Milk crates, at least those of my college days, often contain some sort of dire warning for “unauthorized” use. As a public service, I am including a photo of this warning that appears on my pie transport milk crate.

Milk Crate Warning2

Dire warning on my pie transport milk carton.

It turns out that the dairy industry is not amused by the unofficial use of milk crates.  It has been estimated that about 20 million milk crates go missing every year (which undoubtedly includes those lifted by college students from behind markets).  This is estimated to be about $80 million worth of potential book case supports annually. The exact penalty varies from state to state but in general the discovery of stolen milk crates can lead to a fine between $200 and $1000. In some cases, there could even be a short jail sentence too!  Hence, I recommend that you always carry one of these cards while transporting pies – just in case.  Happy holidays.



  1. Marilyn Carlson says:

    Andy, Thanks for the entertaining reading while I was seeking something new to do with the cranberries. I will pass it on for the
    family visitors and fellow UCSB alums for their amusement! Happy Thanksgiving to you and family!
    Jack and Marilyn


    • theRaggedys says:

      Thanks for the comment. Just don’t give your ucsb fellow alums our address in case the statute of limitations does not apply to milk crate theft from over 50 years ago. Happy Thanksgiving to you guys too. Andy


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