Today I had to do it. It could wait no longer. I had to pick up the telephone and dial, despite my dread, despite the small knot of worry in my sternum. This is the call one avoids like the one to tell your spouse that you dented the car, or the call to set up your colonoscopy appointment. You postpone as long as you can then do the horrific deed.
So I did. I dialed my cable TV company.
Our bill had been climbing at the rate of kudzu on a power pole—a seventy buck increase in three months. The last decent rate we had, the one that ended in March, came about only when I made the call like I was making today. Only this time, I didn’t have a glass of wine to get me through it.
The first person I talked to, “Guy,” who didn’t sound, in any way, American, was “sorry to hear of our bill troubles,” so he offered us a GIANT discount of ten whole dollars!
Nope, I said. “Let me talk to a retention person.”
“This is the best deal we can offer at this time. I’m so sorry.” Guy was trying to sound sincere, but I wasn’t buying it. I started Googling “options to cable” and “cutting the cord,” when he put me on hold for the third time. None of the alternatives gave us everything we need. Sure, our cable package includes about ten thousand channels we never watch, but it has the 7-8 we do, and we like that. I can watch my crime shows. Jim can watch the Red Sox. And, when it’s needed, I can usually find a therapeutic Big Bang Theory episode to put me in a good mood.
I wished I could watch one while I was on hold.
Finally, “Amy”, also not English, came on the line. She would love to keep us as valuable customers. How about ANOTHER TEN DOLLARS off our bill?
“No, A-M-Y,” I accented her name. “I want the $70 increase to disappear. Only you can make that happen. So. Do you keep us or do we switch?” I’ve gotten good at playing hardball with Cable, but it takes its toll.
On my doodle pad, I draw Amy’s picture. I gave her a big nose and unflattering glasses.
“I see what you’re saying. Let me check with a manager.” This is an annoying, ineffective car dealer tactic. I made Amy’s torso fatter.
After about three years, she came back on the line. “I’m sorry. We have no other cable or internet specials other than what we’ve offered. You don’t have phone service with us, and the only special we have right now is with phone.”
“What is THAT deal?” I ask.
“Well, you get phone, the same cable package, and faster internet for seventy-five dollars off your bill. That deal lasts one year.”
Why hadn’t she led with that? Why put me through the cable phone maze, then leave me on hold so long that it felt like I was driving through Texas?
“A—m--y,” I said through gritted teeth. “What’s my new phone number?”
Have you had wonderful cable experiences like mine? Do share!
ADDENDUM: When an email statement of the change to my account arrived, they had ADDED a hundred dollars to the monthly plan. Yep. Back on the phone. I think it may be resolved. Or not. I may turn the Amy drawing into a voodoo doll.