May 12, 2000
For the past few years I have been trying
to convince the cable company that I don't need any more TV channels.
The cable company remains unconvinced.
The cable company apparently has a device
attached to the stove in our kitchen. It's designed so that as
soon as dinner is ready, it notifies the cable company to call
Most of the time we let the answering machine
pick up. All our friends are trained, so no message means it's
someone selling something. When we can't stand the hang ups anymore,
I'll grab the phone and tell whomever it is that we don't answer
surveys, want call display or feel the need to worship a new
About a month and a half ago I interrupted
dinner to answer the third anonymous call of the evening. It
was the cable company. They had a special on - $4 a month for
all those fancy channels. No obligation, no equipment, and if
we didn't like it after three months, they just turn it off.
Now I don't need any more TV channels, unless
that's where they're hiding all the good shows. It sure isn't
on the south half of the dial. In reality, I'm sure all I'm missing
is old episodes of Hogan's Heroes and Petticoat Junction, rerun
as "classic comedy" for insomniac boomers waiting for
the Tokyo stock exchange to open so they can lose their shirts
day trading on the Internet.
Worn down, I said yes, sign me up for the
special TV deal. Even if I never turned on the TV, I figured
it was worth four bucks just to keep the cable company from calling
for the next three months.
I suppose I must have been the first person
to ever say yes over the phone, because the very young man I
spoke to had to call his supervisor to confirm my decision. My
decision was duly confirmed and I waited for the entertainment
And I waited. And waited.
It became a joke in our house. We'd rush downstairs
every day to hoping to get the Golf Channel, or the Go-Cart Channel,
or even Celebrity Housboats.
But no - nothing but snow once you got past
A month went by, and then our bill came. They
may not have turned on our new channels, but the didn't forget
to send us the bill. And not just the $4 - we got charged full
price, or at least so it seemed after looking at their two pages
of calculations that made cold fusion look simple.
These are the kind of phone calls I don't
let my wife make. She goes all Highland on me, wanting to burn
their villages and steal their sheep.
When I pointed out the double error to the
cable TV woman, did she apologise? No. Faster than you can say
"customer service" she said it was my fault for not
reporting our lack of service. We didn't get as far as the billing
error. I asked that order be cancelled, the bill reversed and
that they stop calling.
No apology. Nothing.
I thought that was the end of it. I was back
to watching Regis Philbin on every channel. Yesterday when I
got home there was a note in the door. It was from the cable
company. They were sorry they missed me because they had a service
order to disconnect my cable.
I called the service company. They just follow
orders from the cable company. The cable company told me they
didn't request a change. The service company told me that they
deleted it from their system, but that it would automatically
come back if someone didn't make a service call.
Come to my house. You don't need cable to
see the Twilight Zone.