Watching TV, having a telephone, and using the internet have become so dammed expensive these days, which is one reason people are “cutting the cord” left and right. My cable TV bill is now the same price as my monthly gas and electric bill is and that’s really ridiculous! But if you’re not ready to leave cable, for whatever reason, what can you do?
This year, somehow they snuck in charging us to watch good old regular TV shows on demand if they are older than a few weeks. This is something I didn’t even know about until I went to view one episode of something I have missed on my DVR. This isn’t a movie or a special pay per view event, it’s a TV show! They all used to be free until this year.
Back in the good old days, before cable and the net, all we had was a TV and a phone. It was the TV itself which was the big cost of enjoying your evenings with shows, movies, and sports. It was the “new” technology and it was expensive for what you actually got.
Today, it’s a totally different story. If it isn’t bigger, better, and in HD with surround sound and all that stuff, you’re living in the Stone Age. Your children probably don’t believe you if you tell them that all shows were in black and white at one time and that there were no remote controls or 542 channels to pick from! And ironically, if you check it out, today’s TV sets are basically less expensive now than ever before! The principle of economy of scale at work.
My Personal History with Television
I remember when we got our first TV set back in 1952. I was all of 3 years old at that time. It was a 7-inch black and white Motorola TV which we were all so amazed by back then. We got to see the world (or what we thought was the world) in all its B&W glory and were mighty happy about it. By the time I was 5, I was totally hooked on TV watching The Lone Ranger, Superman, and all the kids’ shows each morning. I guess you can say I grew up with TV and as it got bigger so did I! It may have only been on air 18 hours a day and been just the 3 big networks back then, but that was more than enough for me to get my TV fix daily.
All through my childhood, TV was a big part of my daily life: watching Breakfast Time before school every day (if you’re a baby boomer from Philadelphia you know what I am talking about) and coming home after school to watch Dark Shadows and American Bandstand when I was a teen. There are some things I’ll just never forget watching on TV, here’s just a few.
I came home from school on November 22nd 1963 and saw the worst thing I could have ever imagined unfolding right in front of me that day. It was the full coverage 24/7 of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. That coverage still haunts me to this day and in fact the coverage of that event is partly responsible for the way news coverage has evolved today. Flash forward to CNN just about a decade later and you can see what I mean. Instantaneous 24/7 news about every conceivable thing that can happen as it happens every day.
Sunday nights it was Ed Sullivan and who can ever forget watching the Beatles that unreal night in 1964 (if you’re old enough to have been there). There was watching all of those space shots throughout the 60’s and then capped off by the moon landing on July 20, 1969. TV was my baby sitter, my best friend, and my fantasy land all rolled up into one big ball.
The Advent of Color TV and My Very Own Telephone
At some point in the mid 60’s my family sprang for a brand new 19-inch RCA color TV set. That was huge! NBC was the first full color network and now the world seemed even better to us all. The green grass at the ballpark or a deep blue sea in a glorious field of 19 inches was the new god of our living room!
Perhaps the biggest thing though wasn’t our new TV set, but rather something that I got in 1965 that had been around almost 100 years by then, but not very often called mine by a teenager like me. My very own telephone! I was able to call my friends and chat whenever I wanted too, that is as long as Mom or Dad didn’t want to use the line. We all shared the same line back then unlike today when we all have our own cell number, but I can still remember the old telephone number of Cumberland 9-4825. Don’t try calling it now, I’m not there anymore.
Cable TV, the Internet, and a Brave New World
Getting back to the point of this post, of course I still have my cable, in fact I have the classic “triple play” that was and probably still is very popular, especially among boomers. I started with Cablevision way back in 1976. Would you believe that my monthly bill for the TV back then was a mere $11.00 a month and we got about 60 channels?
Flash forward to today when we subscribe to Verizon Fios and over 400 channels, HBO and Showtime, and have DVR service as well as high speed internet and a telephone package. For years, we have been trying to figure out how to keep all of those creature comforts and also keep the bill from going through the roof. Yes, I switched a few times to get a better deal, hell I even had the Dish and Direct TV for a period of time, but I have found myself falling for Fios for the past 7 years and it’s just hard for me to follow my own advice and cut the cord. I guess I am just lazy and I like being lazy while I can afford to be that way.
That brings me to my good news. For years I have been receiving solicitations from Fios about “new customer deals” that they offer almost constantly with things like incredulous pricing for the triple play, free DVR services and free gift cards for newbies. I get these in my mail about 5 times a month, I see it in ads on TV and also in newspapers and magazines even though I am already their customer they keep sending these offers to me. Couldn’t they save some ad money and reduce their prices by just sending them to those who aren’t their subscribers? Wishful thinking on my part, I guess.
My New Offer and Money Savings for the Next Two Years
So this past week I decided to call and talk to them about my $146.27 bill that I have for my services (including taxes and fees of course). We have just one TV mind you and it’s not the ultimate package deal which would cost me over $200.00 a month if I went that way.
I began with my complaint about the charges for older on demand TV shows and reminding them that I’ve been a loyal customer for 7 years, yada yada yada. I mentioned that I’m thinking of switching because the whole thing is so darn expensive. I’m a senior citizen on a fixed income (aren’t we all really LOL), and as I went on she interrupted and asked if she could look and see what she could do to save me some money. “Uh, yeah you can,” I said, after all isn’t that the point here?
I’ll make a long story shorter here. She told me that if I would sign up for a new 2 year deal for the same type package I currently have (400 plus channels, HBO and Showtime, my all- inclusive phone package, my internet access, and my DVR rental), she could offer me a big savings deal right now.
Here was the offer: I get the new customer triple play package for the next 2 years at $79.99 (same as a brand new customer gets). They upgrade my internet speeds from 25 Mbps to 50 Mbps. They will switch my rental DVR from the standard 2-show simultaneous recording capability to a newer 6-shows at a time recorder (critical in my DVR loving home) while I get to keep all the movies channels too. The new cost per month for the next two years would now be $130.47 a month, a savings of $15.80 a month for the next 24 months compared to my current bill. That is a savings of over $379.00 in the next 2 years. I accepted.
A Deal I Can Live With
I realize that when all of these specials end in two years, I will be staring at regular prices that will be well over $200.00 a month for renewal. But truthfully, I can worry about that down the road and I am certain I can always find another company willing to cave at the threat of losing me and my business if I need to. Or who knows, I may be ready to cut the cord by then.
Anyway, I’d say all you have to do is ask for a new better deal, but the reality is this: I didn’t even have the time to actually ask! They just knew I was serious about leaving them, I think they hear it a lot from their customers. Their approach sadly is like the drug dealer in that the first one is free and it gets us all addicted.
Do you still have a huge cable bill? Have you cut the cord and started exercising full control over your entertainment time and money? Will you call your cable company and let them know you can do better and if they like having you around they will find a way to save you some money right now?
Related Post: Cut Your Cable Bill Without Cutting the Cord