Friday, March 4, 2016

Splicing the Cord

You know something, I ain't had cable in 8 years. I'm not consuming nearly enough TV to justify the price of a typical cable package. I loathe reality shows (even though I've been on a few of them!) and I'm happy to wait to stream a good dramatic series on Netflix a year after the buzz. I'm one of the original cord-cutters.

However, since I rely on Time Warner for my internet and telephone service, sometimes I look at my user profile and think something's missing. So with that feeling in mind, last week I made the impulsive leap and signed up for the most basic of basic cable.

For a little background, I live in Los Angeles and have a mighty decent TV. Thanks to digital multiplexing I get a ton of off the air channels, most of them in languages I don't understand or for religious organizations that I am skeptical of. However I know that Time Warner makes apps that will allow you to watch TV on your iPad with an account, and most of the networks have similar arrangements that allow you to watch as long as you have an active cable provider account.

So a week ago Monday I opened up a text box at work with TWC to explore their options. They offer a rock-bottom "local channel" package for just $10 (PROMOTIONAL ONLY FOR THE FIRST YEAR) and I figure let's look into that. The text box has the advantage that you can walk away from the conversation and not miss anything. This was useful because ultimately I was with them for about 1 1/2 hours.

My first concern was what they call the Digital Converter box. I took that name to mean that it takes HD and letterboxes it for your square granny TV but after a two transfers to different sales people and half-hour of texts it became clear it handled HD just fine.  I decided to go for it. Sign me up! I wrote. The text came back all right, your service will be $24.95 a month.

Wait, the deal is $10 a month I said. It's in big blue headline letters on your site.

Well, there's a monthly $3.75 licensing fee for the channels, they replied, and the box rental is $11.00 a month.

Oh, thanks anyway, I wrote.

Hold on, they said, and transferred me to someone else. I received a few invoices (or whatever I do for a living) and a new salesperson, with the unlikely name of "Betty" came on. And we started from scratch. I went along with it because it was kinda entertaining. I ultimately demurred and I was transferred again. And again. And again. And I kept writing no, I know it's not much but I just can't justify paying it; especially since I'd be paying more per month than the whole box had cost them, and finally they transferred me to "Jim". Jim said we'll give you the box for free if you'll pay for the service and licensing fee.



  1. Very kafkaesque...looking forward to the next installment of your technological metamorphosis....

  2. Thanks! More tomorrow! I've actually written it, but one wants to encourage suspense.