Wifi Barbecue Grill?  That’s Just Crazy-talk

This week, I had the most nightmarish experience with customer service I’ve had in a long time.  2 years ago or so I bought a pellet grill.  My wife and I barbecue year round so it seemed like a good investment.  It turned out to be a great investment because we use it even more than expected.  When I bought it, my wife was giving me a lot of crap because I got the grill with Wifi.  I normally laugh at things like Wifi for your grill, like I do Wifi for your washer & dryer, Wifi for your refrigerator, your toilet paper dispenser and so on, but the guy selling them said he wished he had bought one with Wifi when he got his.  

It’s handy.  You can adjust the temperature, shut it down remotely, get an alert when the meat probe hits the target temperature and more.  The only thing you can’t do remotely is start the grill.  I guess because people tend to “butt dial” someone by accident, you could actually “butt-burn” something down by accidentally firing up your grill without meaning to. 

Since we just moved, I had to go back through the setup process that was bad the first time.  Now I needed it to drop the network it was trying to hold onto and accept a new Wifi connection.  No big deal though, right?  WRONG?  

I was swapping text messages with their support peeps for an hour and 15 minutes when I finally gave up.   The instructions and the app said, “Enter the 4 digit code”.   OK, there are 4 blanks where a number might go but the KEYBOARD needed to do so was not on the screen.  Even the CONTINUE button did nothing.  When I went back to the text messages, there was a note from my new support buddy saying, “I’m not getting a response” as if I’d kept him waiting too long so he was going to tap out.   Luckily I caught him before he left me there, though later I tapped out on him.  

In the steps, there are things like “Power cycle the grill” meaning turn it off and unplug it, wait 15 minutes and then plug it back in.  You also have to hit the MENU button while you press the SETTINGS knob, use the QR code,  hop on one foot and sing the pellet grill song and some other stuff.   What a joke.  Launching military weapons has fewer steps.   

At one point, I suggested the tech actually get one of these grills so they could see what a mess this was to just change the settings.  After almost 90 minutes, he sent me written instructions on how to do this.  Where was that 90 minutes ago?    I love this grill but what an unnecessary mess this turned out to be.  To avoid being sued by a grill company that may have another opinion on their tech support process, I am purposely leaving out the name of the company.  

It was also 31 degrees out last night so that just added to the frustration with each step.  Maybe tonight I can systematically go through the written instructions to get the grill to talk with my Wifi.  We’ll see how it goes.  When working normally – the grill, the tech, the recipes they provide and more are great.  Just the Wifi connection process that makes me crazy.  

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