Friday, 10 August 2012

#314: A Shaggy NEST Story

We are the owners of a new NEST thermostat.  In case you think this is nothing to blog about, let me point out that this bit of innovation is considered cutting edge.  The tech review site Mashable calls it the “world’s coolest thermostat”.  It will learn our habits and reward us when we make good heating/cooling choices. It also looks very elegant (but then it was designed by the fellow from Apple who oversaw the design of the iPod.)

By extension, NEST possession makes us feel awfully cool.  And we are probably even cooler than that because I suspect we have the only NEST thermostat in Canada.  Let me explain:

When we received the NEST, we were assured that we didn’t have to worry about installation.  The device came with “concierge” service. (I imagined some liveried guy who looked like a bell captain turning up at our door and somberly announcing “Good Day, Madam.  I am the man from NEST.)

But first, we needed to make an appointment for said concierge, and that became Bruce’s job.  He began by dialing the concierge set-up number and reached a guy with a southern drawl who was probably (it was later speculated) from Texas. Mr Drawl had no record of our NEST and he knew nothing about a concierge.  He did transfer Bruce to colleagues in Utah.

The guy in Utah was geography challenged.  First he was sure we must be in Calgary (closer to Utah than Guelphwhereverthatis, I suppose) and although he also had no record of our NEST, he was finally keen to hook us up with a nearby service company called Kitchener ON.  I listened as Bruce twice explained that Kitchener was a city, and ON was a province.  (I keep waiting for him to say “You know.  Like Chicago is the city and ILL is the state”, but my husband is more polite than I am).

Finally, by some miracle, Bruce got to talk to a woman in Cambridge (24 km down the road from Guelph) and she arranged a visit from the “concierge” for the following day.  This individual would call ahead, and we should expect them between 2 and 4. 

They didn’t call, and they didn’t come.

Sooooooo.  On the third day, Bruce tried again and found himself telling his story to someone in Pennsylvania, and then in London (ON).  The London people wanted the concierge person to come from Oakville, so there was another geography lesson while Bruce told them about Cambridge.  No dice.  It was Oakville or nothing.  But Oakville rejected us because “We don’t service Guelph”.


This torture continued for a few more phone calls and finally, finally a service person from Cambridge agreed to come.  And he did.  He arrived at the door the following day (in street clothes), took a look at the NEST box and announced “I’ve never installed one of these before.”

The NEST is now in place.  It looks great.  It works well.  And we are happy to have it.  But as Bruce observed in the middle of his 3-day, cross-country, international telephone marathon: “How would a working person do this? The only reason I’m able to spend half my life on this problem is because I’m retired!”


  1. What sort of rewards will you get when you make a good heating/colling choice? Please don't say you get a heartening message. i want it to dispense liquorice.

  2. Better than a heartening message -- a picture of a leaf, a green leaf. I'd prefer candy, too.