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Tuesday, September 14, 2010


There are some things in life that should be difficult: death, running a marathon, leaving behind a crying child, passing up a piece of chocolate cake, childbirth, qualifying for a mortgage, obtaining a license to have children (oh, wait that doesn't exist...), turning the last page of a really good book, mending a broken heart or having an overactive bladder.

Disconnecting your cable shouldn't be one of them.

This is a true story.

Sandi and I have been tossing around the idea of getting rid of our cable for some time now, with me being the bigger hold out. What would I do without re-runs of Sex in the City on DVR when Maya and I woke up at 4 a.m. in the dead of winter for the day?

But then, within the last couple of months, it had begun to feel ridiculous. I didn't like writing out a giant check to the cable company every month for something we barely used. I had lots of shows on DVR and found it almost stressful to find time to watch them. Ella was really the only one that watched the TV and before we knew it, we had most of her favorite shows on the iPod for her portable viewing. And with her spending so much time at school it didn't make sense that we would want her home time spent in front of the TV.

So we got rid of the TV.

Not literally. It is still in our living room, but the only things to watch would be through the DVD player or through the iPod if you dock it on the little contraption Sandi bought to broadcast it on the TV.

(Author's note: this decision was made possible due to the presence of Netflix and their extensive library and through which we can still watch Grey's Anatomy.)

Big decision, simple to execute.

Or not.

I called Time Warner Cable and asked them to please disconnect our cable.

"Why would you want to do that?" was the overwhelming reception I got from the "customer service" agent on the other end of the line.

"Because we don't watch it and we don't want to pay for something we don't use."

"I have another option for you."

"I don't want another option. Please just cancel it. I'm in a bit of a hurry." (translation: my kids are going to start screaming in 5 seconds.)

"Please listen carefully. You can keep all your local channels for a mere $40 per month. So you can still watch the news and such."

"We don't watch the news."

"You don't watch the morning news?"

"No we don't. Now, can you please cancel our service?"

"No, I cannot."

"What? Why?"

"I'm afraid I cannot disconnect your service while you still have our equipment. You will need to bring it in to your local office and cancel it in person."

Ey yi yi.

I decided this was merely a test of my resolve so I went in the very next day with my DVR box and cancelled the service. I am not joking when I say that people were STARING at me when I stated my business.

In the end, we don't miss the TV at all. We read more, we talk more. We (try) to go to bed earlier. We still watch re-runs of Friends because we own them and we get movies from Netflix but no live streaming TV.

And, I can't say with complete assurance that the loss of the TV is the reason, but our electric bill dropped dramatically. Our overall usage dropped even from last month. The DVR box was always running and it was always warm to the touch and getting rid of it is really the only thing we've changed.

But, please promise me if some huge national warning of impending disaster is in effect, will someone please call and let us know? But not on our home phone because we got rid of THAT too!


Katie said...

We got rid of cable tv years ago and never looked back! We had almost the exact same experience. We don't miss it at all! In Machias, we had ZERO tv. In Hampden, we have a little antenna that brings us 2-6 channels on any given day, dependent on the weather (and placement of the planets, I think...). It's perfect. We're happier, more productive people w/o tv. But, if you are concerned with being informed about an impending disaster, get one of those tv-top antennas (chris has one just down the road from you and she gets 3-4 channels!) for an 'emergency'. Otherwise, don't fret. We'll come along and scoop you up in an emergency. LOL!

Christine Nichols said...

Yeah! Love it! Where in the world do people get time to watch hours of TV? All we have is the computer now as the DVD tray just failed on our TV. I was happy.

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