2/26/13

Supplementary Sidebar - The Cord Cutting Chronicles, Pt 1

Herein, find the chronicle of a man yearning to invite Comcast to remove their straw from his checking account. I've been a Comcast subscriber for basically 18 years, and the price of having a 600-channel spigot of raw entertainment leaving puddles of excitement, hilarity, and adventure on my carpet has risen just slightly faster than the subjective value of those puddles. My channel lineup includes over 600 channels, but I doubt that anyone really watches more than six or ten, unless they're unemployed, or a shut-in. By my reckoning, to actually use all 600-something channels, I'd have to house a random selection of 900 people, each watching television for sixteen hours a day (assuming they slept for eight hours per day and they all ate and excreted in front of the TV). I'll go out on a limb and say that those 900 people would have access to all the entertainment they can stand, but that they wouldn't necessarily be entertained. Also, my aforementioned carpet couldn't handle such high-frequency excretion.

What was fifteen years ago a sixty dollar monthly bill has ballooned up to a $150 monthly bill. Mitigating factors include the addition of broadband internet, HD fees and additional channels which, admittedly, I called and invited into my home. However, Comcast's decisions to spread similar content throughout different tiers of channels isn't a mistake or something I can control. If, for example, you like sciencey programming, you'll find yourself paying for tens of channels worth of sports, cooking shows, and at least one channel solely dedicated to reality slapfight mind poison types of content that you aren't interested in, just to get several channels you do like. Sometimes, Comcast migrates a favorite channel into a new group of gotta-pay-extra channels, for your satisfaction. It's also worth noting that the sports channels are the single most expensive type of content for pay TV providers to license from the NFL, NBA, etc. If you have pay TV, you're paying for at least a few sports channels. I hope somebody in your house likes to watch sports, because you're paying extra for them, like it or not.

Please enjoy the following metaphor to help you understand what a massive prick cable providers are:

If a grocery store worked the way cable TV does, you would walk into a store after navigating a labyrinth, with a one in three chance of finding yourself re-deposited in the parking lot. After your second attempt at the door labyrinth, you hopefully would have memorized it and managed to gain access to the actual store. Hoping to buy oranges and paper towels, you would be confronted with a helpful sales associate. "Oranges?" the sales drone would drone. "Sure, those are in produce, but you'll have to buy some folding chairs, a greeting card, three different kinds of lettuce, some ground beef, two tablecloths, and an ice pick." That's our 'Produce Lover's' Tier of products. For paper towels, you'll also get a three pack of cigarette lighters, some bread (not the kind you like), carrots, squash, shoelaces, a set of picnic spoons, two bendy straws, one more birthday card, instant coffee, and a Chinese made yo-yo that's way too light and flimsy to develop any kind of rotational momentum and is essentially worthless. That's our 'Basic Starter Pack'. It's a great value." The total price for your oranges and paper towels purchase would come to $126.32. You would then take your recently purchased ice pick and ram it up your nose because you no longer want to live in a world this stupid. However, if after this shopping ordeal, you were still thinking really clearly, you'd use the ice pick on the sales drone. "Ow, the cavity where the remainder of my brain is!" the drone would drone. "That's one satisfied customer" you'd rasp to yourself, and then stride confidently away from the store, unflinching, as it explodes in a slow-motion ball of flame for some reason. See? I know my basic cable Saturday afternoon classics.

Coming soon: The Dawn Breaks, or, The Night Dawns on Comcast.

2 comments:

Steve Miller said...

It can get worse. You could have been serviced (yes, Grapes of Wrath-style) by Bright House.

Elaine Woodbridge said...

I don't watch TV. In fact we don't have cable TV here, but I loved the rant. I get it, I really do!

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