I cannot proof it, but I am almost certain that a red warning light comes on each and every time I call our TV provider. Perhaps there is even a picture of me, with little horns and a trident?
TV providers and politicians use the same principle. First, they bait us with promises and then, after we elected them, that’s when we often realize what a shitty deal we have made.
For the first year everything was alright, then we became a valued customer, and it went all south from there.
Every month they surprised us with miscellaneous charges. Surcharges left and right, fees and taxations for things we didn’t want, things we couldn’t understand. BROADCAST FEE. Really? Isn’t the whole damn bill something like a broadcast fee to begin with?
Last months, we decided to have a movie night and ordered a PPV movie. The film had gotten some awards and sounded interesting. We watched it for about 15 minutes; then we turned if of. It wasn’t our taste. No award from our house.
I dialed my favorite 1-800 number, and they assured me, they would credit us the movie back; sadly it would be credited back the following months -somehow their system doesn’t allow to just cancel an order. (Yeah right.)
A month later the red warning light blinked at a call center in India when I dialed my favorite 1-800 number again. Surely, they had just forgotten about the credit when they printed the new bill. A nice lady explained to me that there was nothing she could do. She couldn’t find anything in her records that would entitle us to get the money back.
Wrong answer! Sometimes it’s not about the money; it’s about principles.
We canceled our TV service the following day. Three days later -8:00 a.m. sharp- a rather unfriendly technician picked up the equipment and cut our cable. That was the final breakup; there was no going back.
The same day I consulted our 13-year old computer specialist, who happen to live just a few houses down, and he gave me a crash course in streaming. Of course, we had already tried services like Netflix and Hulu, but there was so much more. Live TV, premium channels even PPV’s. We carefully made the decisions and cut our TV bill by $80 a month.
All was good, but we missed our local channels.
“Buy an antenna,” the 13-year old said, and so we did. I didn’t know what to expect and felt surprised two days later, when I held a flat, paper-thin piece of plastic in my hands. What had happened to the rabbit ear antenna I grew up with?
I placed the sheet close to the window, behind a curtain, about 6 feet high and the TV started to install some channels. First 3, then 5, then 15…16…19…23, and finished the installation when it hit the number 37.
“Holy crap, we have 37 local TV stations on our TV.” I don’t want to be a valued customer anymore.