Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What do you say, gang? Who's with me?

The other day I was paying bills and I noticed an increase in my cable bill. It seems my cable company, who shall be nameless (HINT: It rhymes with "Time Warner"), decided that after 7 years of service, I had reached the end of some mystical promotion. My cable bill (which includes TV & Internet) went from $86 a month -- to $113 a month. I called them, perturbed.

The first rep I reached struggled to read the English script that I'm sure was displayed on the computer screen in front of him. This was not because English was his second language. He was just plain old illiterate. "The economies are bad, sir, so your TV is more expensive, too."

The second rep I reached told me about the end of my 12-month promotion. "When did this promotion start?", I asked. "3 years ago.", she (sort of) explained.

So, the third rep I reached told me that they had a new promotion. "Is this promotion the 12-month kind or the 3-year kind?", I asked. She hesitated and probably blinked a couple times, but went on to reduce my cable bill to $87 a month.

Well, it got me sort of thinking about that $87 a month. Do I really get $87 a month worth of value from these guys? What was the last really good thing that I watched on TV? OK, it was "LOST" -- what was the second to last?

A few days later, I was talking to my daughters who were sitting in the living room in front of our TV. Well, in truth, I was talking at them. They were engrossed in the Disney Channel or the Family Channel, or the Disney Family Channel, or one of family of Disney family channels for families. Aaannywho... they weren't listening.

Now I've got two very smart, athletic daughters (No, they weren't adopted!). But, I wonder how much more athletic they would be if they skipped the TV viewing. I wonder how much smarter they would be without the educational content? (That's the content that comes between the ads for "Shamwow" and "Male Enhancement".)

Somewhere along the line, out of exasperation, almost out of pure spite, I thought, "We should just shut it off." The more I thought about the idea, the more I liked it. What was required was a good old fashion change. That was it. It was done. I had decided that's the way it was going to be... as long as everyone else agreed.

I queried the wife first, "What would you think if I...". She agreed immediately. "I hate that stupid thing!", she said. But, I wonder whether she'll still have this seething hatred after a few weeks without CSI, CSI:Miami, and CSI:New York. Will there be a crime scene in our living room?

I queried Sara next. "Sure.", she replied. I'm not sure if that was confidence, indifference, or the fact that she might have been watching the Disney channel when I asked. Either way that was two out of three.

Last was Kate. Frankly, I thought Kate might be a problem. I asked, and waited. First, came a flash of disbelief across her face. A flash that said, "I just know that I'm adopted." But, then after a few questions, she actually acquiesced. She rationalized, "I have plenty of other things to do in the summer. I can visit, ride bikes, hang out at the pool." It would have been better had I not mentally added "...with boys" after each thing that she said, but that's probably on me, not her.

So here we sit -- a family in agreement. We're going to just "Shut it off". We're going to try to go the entire summer without cable television. It'll be great. We'll learn to have fun together as a family, to communicate better, and we'll find new and better ways to entertain ourselves.

So I'm going to call Time Warner cable and tell them "No, Thanks. Please, Shut off my television!" --- Just as soon as "LOST" goes into re-runs.

No comments:

Post a Comment