I noticed that my Comcast bill doubled, but I figured I must have missed a payment, so I just sent them the money and went about my business. Then, the next month I saw the same inflated figure. So, I called them.
“My cable bill doubled in price,” I squawked.
“Uh huh,” they said.
“Uh huh?” I protested. “Can you please find the problem?”
“No problem,” the voice replied. “Your trial period ended, and now you’re being charged the full price.”
“But I’ve only been paying half this price for two years.”
“That’s right. That was your trial period.”
“Well, this new price is outrageous. Can’t you do better?”
“We can knock off $40 a month if you lock into a contract for two years.”
“That’s still too high, and I certainly don’t want to lock into that price for two years. Can’t you do better? I’m a senior citizen, a veteran, a card-carrying cheapskate…”
“Sorry, that’s the best we can do.”
“I’ll get back to you.”
I investigated other plans from other companies. They were all pretty much the same – low introductory price and then after a year, bend over, grab your ankles, and don’t expect any lube.
I decided to make my stand. Now, I must first point out that if there was such a thing as Internet Anonymous, I would be going to meetings every week. “Hello, my name is Earl. I’m an Internetaholic…” But, I figured that I would make some kind of token effort to express my displeasure with the rate increase, and that I could survive a short while without cable in my house. After all, I have a smart phone. So, I can still Google whatever I want, whenever I want, and that’s probably what I do most. That and e-mail.
So, I called Comcast. “Cancel my subscription.”
“Can you tell us the reason for your cancellation?”
“The rate doubled, and I think that is outrageous. I’ve been a loyal customer for two years…” This is where I expected them to back down and make me another offer. They just told me to take my equipment to the nearest UPS store, and to be careful that the door didn’t hit me on the way out.
So now I don’t have any Internet access in my home. I don’t have any TV, or a landline phone either. That evening, I cooked my dinner at 6:30 as usual, and when I sat down to eat it, there’s no Jeopardy! On the TV. There was nothing on the TV, not even the ubiquitous Big Bang Theory, because I wasn’t picking up any signals even with the new rabbit ears I purchased. At 11 pm there was no Daily Show with Trevor Noah. It was freaky, strange, and quiet.
I didn’t know what to do. So, to distract myself from missing my favorite programs I just got up out of my TV chair and started doing things around the house. I washed the dirty dishes that had been piling up in the sink. I noticed that there was a layer of stuff on the floor that wasn’t floor wax, so I broke out the vacuum cleaner. I found about 30 cartons of stuff from 2 years ago that I had never unpacked, and started to unpack them. I read a few books. The next day, I took a walk around town. I took a few bus rides on routes I had never taken before, just to explore the outskirts of Lancaster. I started learning Spanish. I started work on my 6th screenplay, and a non-fiction book about Harness Racing. I also discovered that I can play Freecell with regular playing cards.
Life without the Internet or TV is strange, but I knew ahead of time that I would have to go Cold Turkey to break my addiction. Then I visited the local library to get some more reading material and I found that they had dozens of computers sitting there for anyone to use to access the Internet. So, I took a hit. Ooooh, I could feel the rush pounding through my veins. Okay, maybe I can’t go cold turkey, but, thanks to the library, I can last a little while before I go running to Verizon or Dish Network begging them for a fix.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,