Saturday, March 15, 2014

The weight of giving up my nice package

I finally did it. I unpacked Time Warner cable yesterday. Of course they tried their many tricks to make me change my mind, but I held firm.

Their first trick was not answering the phone when I finally, after 17 pushes of the automated buttons, arrived at the one that told them I want to cancel my service. I'm sure somebody who gets paid lots of money to analyze customer behavior said, "Don't answer the phone right away. Make her think about it. Tell her the wait will be 7-18 minutes and then offer to call her back. Do it so she thinks you're only thinking about her convenience." I left my number for the call-back and then started making banana paleo pancakes.

The phone rang 17 minutes later. My pancakes were cooking on the second side. I answered, and the automated voice said I could press 1 if I still wanted to take my place in line, but if I wanted, I could give up and go watch something On Demand hang up and reconsider. I stayed strong and pressed 1. A couple of minutes later, Anesa came on the line.

I told her I wanted to cancel my cable. 

Anesa: May I ask why you want to cancel it?

Me: It's too expensive, and I have better things to do with both my time and money.

Anesa: OK, just let me get some information from you ....

Me: You may do that, but don't try to talk me into keeping it.

She said she wouldn't. She made sure I wasn't some crazy bitch who was trying to cancel somebody else's cable, went away for several minutes, then came back with a request.

Anesa:  Can I ask you a few questions before we finish?

Me: Are you going to try to talk me into keeping my cable? Because I don't want you to try to talk me into keeping it.

Anesa: May I just ask you a few questions?

Me: Is your goal to talk me into keeping my cable?

Anesa:  I wouldn't say that it is. Can I ask the questions?

Me: Only if you promise you're not going to try to sell me another package or lower my rate and keep the cable.

Anesa: Can I ask the questions now?

Me: You can ask them if you promise you're not trying to persuade me to keep my cable. Promise?

Anesa: I just want to ask you some questions. Can I ask you some questions?

Me: Only if you're not trying to talk me into keeping my cable. Is that what you're doing?

Anesa: Not really. I just want to ask you a few questions. Can I ask you the questions?

Me: I'm not going to keep the cable no matter what you say, so you can't ask them if that's where you're headed.

Anesa: So I can ask the questions?

Me: You've already asked that question a dozen times, and I've given you the same answer.

Anesa: Does that mean I can ask the questions?

Me: Fine. Ask the questions.

Anesa: What do you and your family watch on your TV?

Me: (long pause) No, you can't ask the questions. Just do whatever you have to do to stop my cable TV.

I slid my pancakes out of the pan onto a plate, and spread butter on them while Anesa did whatever it was she was doing. She reminded me periodically that she was still there trying to figure out how she could talk me into buying more cable assisting me.

She came back.

Anesa: Wow, Ms. Reticula. I see here that you've got a very generous package. (I suspect that line works better on a man than it did on me.) You're paying less than almost anybody for a very nice package.

Me: You can blame that on Obama. I'm aware what I pay for my nice package, and I'm not willing to continue paying that much .... or anything at all.

Anesa: Do you realize the value of your package is $253.67? And you're only paying $153.89? You're already paying a lot less than what your cable is worth. A lot less. I'd hate to see you give up this tremendous value.

Me: Is that all you've got? Really? You realize somebody made up that number -- $253.67 -- and said that was the value, right? Somebody at Time Warner just made that up -- or maybe you just made it up -- and now you're trying to tell me I'm getting a good deal because I'm paying less than a made-up number. That's not very persuasive.

Anesa: Well, I .... ummm .... I just thought you should know what a good deal you're getting.

Me: Uh huh. Thanks so much for that. Are we about done?

Anesa: Almost. Just a minute or two longer. Thank you so much for your patience .....

I'd already poured maple syrup on my pancakes, and it had soaked in. I poured a glass of raw milk while she went back to work on her end. She was gone almost 5 minutes this time. She came back with a brilliant plan.

Anesa: Here's what I can do for you, Ms. Reticula, and I think you'll like this. I can offer you a rate of $120.24 before taxes, and all you have to drop is your HBO and Showtime. How does that sound?

Me: It sounds like I won't be able to watch most of the shows I watch. No.

Anesa: This really is the very best deal I can offer you.

Me: I really don't want a deal. I want to cancel my cable.

And eat my fucking pancakes, which have probably gone stone cold by now. I took a bite. I was right.

Anesa: OK, then. Just a few more minutes while I .....

Me: Please don't come back with another plan to persuade me to keep my cable. Just tell me where to take my DVR, and unhook me from the fucking crack.

Eventually, she came back, told me how much my bill would be in the future (about $75 less), gave me the address of the closest office, and told me I would still be billed until I returned my DVR. I stuck my pancakes in the microwave to reheat them, because there was no way I was eating cold pancakes after I'd just said goodbye to my dealer.

I took the DVR back this morning, and sure enough, by the time I got home there was no signal running through the cable to my TV.

Of course I fucking tried. Wouldn't you?

As I was standing in line to return my box, I realized I hadn't written down the list of shows I had set to record automatically on my DVR so I could try to find them other places. Damn it! I had a moment of panic ..... and then I remembered the reason I was doing this wasn't just because of the money. It was so I wouldn't spend so much time in front of the TV. (Still looking at you, Facebook, you fucking soul-sucker.)

So that's done. Unpacked. Put away. I'm no longer dating Time Warner cable ... or anybody else for that matter.

I thought I'd save more than $75/month, but I'm exploring other options for my land line, like Magic Mike Jack. I'll probably stay with TWC for my internet though, because they offer the best plan for the price around here.

How are you doing with your word for the year, if you chose one? I'm feeling pretty good about my progress so far, but I've got a lot of unpacking to go, and some of it will be harder than transferring my TV viewing from cable to Netflix.


  1. Time Warner was awful when I was moving. I didn't have TV, just internet, but they wanted to continue trying to talk me into keeping them...EVEN AS I WAS TELLING THEM I was leaving the state. They were relentless!

    Good for you, though! I haven't had cable ever, and officially get 0 TV stations right now. Netflix is a semi-serious addiction...but surviving without TV is possible.

    1. Yes, I've already determined that Netflix can totally curb my withdrawal and take the place of cable. At least it doesn't cost that much though. I don't feel like I have to watch it to justify paying that big bill every month.