Cable Guy

      I’ve been thinking of jumping ship to a new cable TV provider for a long time. Then I started thinking about the hassle of changing email addresses, waiting for installation, and lugging back equipment. I thought switching companies would remain at the bottom of my “to do” list for quite some time. So many other things in life take precedence over cable television preferences.

     Weekly advertising specials I received from my current cable provider helped me make my decision. The offers are always the same – low rates and deep discounts for new subscribers only. What about us old subscribers? I called my cable company to tell them how infuriating it was to receive promotions for less than half the price of what I was currently paying. I wanted the same deal the new customers were receiving. I inquired about incentive packages for loyal patrons who have been paying increasingly high rates every year. Apparently, being a faithful customer means nothing to a large conglomerate. My call was placed on hold for 10 minutes while customer service was “taking a look at my bill”. My decision to switch was being made for me with every minute of silence that ticked by. I hung up the phone more exasperated than ever.

     That’s when fate knocked on my door. When my son came home from walking his dog, he told me the cable salesman was on his way to my house. My son passed the door-to-door solicitor in our neighborhood and he gave the cable guy my address. “Go talk to my father,” my son said. “He’s a guaranteed sale.” And a few minutes later, “Bob” the cable guy was at my door.

     I wanted time to do more research. I’m a procrastinator by nature, not a compulsive shopper. “Bob” had all kinds of special offers available. He was well versed on why his company was superior to the competition. His Jimmy Carter/Mr. Rogers persona made his presentation almost believable.

     My skepticism put me on the defensive. “Bob” expounded on the incredible amount of channels his company offered. I told him I have too many channels already. He had a great sports package available. I told him the only sports I watch is Patriots football. “Bob” was excited about the unlimited capabilities of the company’s new DVR device. I told him I don’t have time to watch the few shows I record now. How about our voice activated remote control? I told him that feature does nothing for me. When he mentioned monthly savings, he piqued my interest. The scales tilted in favor of Bob’s company. After all, changing my email address is no big deal. I couldn’t think of a reason not to shift my allegiance. The old company wasn’t exactly going out of their way to keep me.

     There’s a reason I switched companies in the past, mostly because the monthly rate kept escalating. I’m sure this new company will do the same thing after my two-year contract is up. I don’t want to be one of those customers who switch back and forth at the end of every cycle to get a better deal. But that was in the past when loyalty meant something. Today you have to take the best deal you can find. Supposedly the transition is seamless. As an added bonus I’ll finally get rid of the annoying beep of the low-battery back-up box that’s been chirping in my basement for the past six-months.

     During this new two-year contract, I’m going to spend the time convincing my wife that we don’t need a cable company at all. Or a landline telephone. We can watch television on the internet just like the young people. It’s going to take a lot of convincing on my part. I’m going to have to call “Bob” back for some sales techniques. Keep watching this space for my new email address.

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