Consumerism Report: The $799 Bed Air Conditioner Whose Environmental Toll Keeps Me Up at Night

If anything, my ass is now too cold

Photo of OOLER bed air conditioner
Chili Sleep OOLER
climate control

This is a recurring series about all my devices. I’d like to clarify that it is NOT a tech column — it’s about spending money to speed up self-transformation, and then buying more stuff when that doesn’t work. And so I have acquired an endless array of devices: from products that promise to make my face look more triangular and the skin around my eyes less purple to ones that shrink specific parts of my salt-logged body. Do any of them work? Previously: the $20 exfoliating fish that got my feet river season ready.

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There was an era in my life as an internet writer when I got a lot more free stuff than I do now and thought so little of the excess. At one office, there was a makeshift repository we called the Garbage Table where Ladurée macarons and bottled small-batch Negronis were left out to rot and attract fruit flies. Elsewhere, a colleague of mine collected assorted rowing machines from companies seeking press coverage and resold them on Facebook Marketplace. There were girls who regularly lifted garbage can-sized Diptyque candles from photoshoots. Once I got my eyebrows tattooed for free while working at a website that hadn’t even pivoted to video yet.

Times, and budgets, are different now. If I want free products, I have to proactively ask for them via email. This is how I came to possess my very own OOLER® Sleep System with Chilipad™ Cool Mesh™, an air conditioner for your mattress that retails at $799.

The OOLER is a half-bed mattress pad (though if you have a sleeping partner that isn’t a dog, you can buy a double-sized mat) that hooks up to a tube from its base. The tube connects to a device with a refillable tank that cools the water and disperses it through the mat, cooling the hot sleeper. There’s a Bluetooth app to connect it so that one doesn’t have to go diving in the crack between the bed and the wall when the pad gets too cold.

I can’t sleep without having my neck or ears covered (don’t want a cockroach or a ghost crawling in there), and I already run warm. On top of that, I suffer from a rare affliction that I’ll call Dusk-Induced Red Hot Foot Syndrome, which is exactly what it sounds like. So when I turned on the OOLER the first night, I enjoyed the crisp clear cold within the biosphere of my sheets. I could burrow and be temperate, no longer beholden to the natural laws of airflow.

I slept soundly until three a.m., when my own cold ass woke me, a sensation I had never experienced before in the boudoir. Fair enough. I’d turn off the cooling pad via the Bluetooth app on my phone. But fiddling around with my phone in the dark of night, my muscle memory compelled me to open up the Daily Mail app and start scrolling. I read of forest fires and sinking cities and Al Roker in a poncho, of botched lip filler and sickness and bankruptcy. Who was I to deserve a $799 air conditioner for the ass as the national privatized power grid corroded around me?

Suddenly it wasn’t my Dusk-Induced Red Hot Foot Syndrome keeping me awake, but that old chestnut, my fear of oblivion. Now that’s a reason for your blood to run hot. Thankfully, I was able to turn my COOLER® Sleep System with Chilipad™ Cool Mesh™ back on until the artificial breeze froze my intrusive thoughts in place for good.