Monday, December 9, 2013

You know who really grinds my gears? - By Jeffrey J. Thivierge

You know who really grinds my gears…?

The cable company. (All of them.)

As a man born in the tail end of “Generation X”, I can comfortably say that I was probably born into the first generation of people that has had cable TV their entire lives. I did, however, grow up in Aroostook County, which meant that my brand of cable consisted of channels 2 thru 13, one of those was French, and one of them was public access. I learned to adore the Atlanta Braves on TBS and never missed an episode of “The Bozo Show” on WGN when I was home sick from school. 

I’ve had the fortune of living in a few different areas of the country, and was always blessed to have enough money to have cable TV. When I dropped out of UMFK, I landed in New Hampshire and had about 50 channels, which I thought was amazing. When I joined the Army, following an overseas tour in Korea, I lived in El Paso, Texas, where I was amazed at the channels that I had…. almost 100 of them!

This past summer, I got mad at my local cable company because they had an argument with a network over fees and halted the delivery of “Showtime”, which broadcasts some of the best shows on television. Was it petty of me to cancel my cable over the fact that I couldn’t watch “Dexter”? Probably. I did, however, get a sweet deal on a satellite dish. Thus far, I’ve only had minimal problems with reception during high wind and rain storms. 

So what’s my gripe? The number of channels that I have had with both the cable and satellite provider is simply overwhelming. I get my local channels, along with so many channels that I can’t figure out where my channels and shows are located. I’ve had my current provider since early August and I continue to find channels, hidden away in the 1500s. Yup. 1500s. 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that I have the Celebrity Shopping Channel on channel 223, as well as the coveted Jewelry TV Infomercial Channel on channel 72, but let’s be honest… did I WANT those channels? No. I wanted Showtime so I could indulge in “Dexter” and “Homeland”. Now I’m stuck wading through the mindless garbage that mucks up my channel guide. 

Now, for all of these channels, we the consumer must pay a premium. We have more channels than I want or need, just to get the channels that we do want. Personally, I just want to be able to order my channels “a la carte” and not be forced into paying for channels like “ESPN-8, The Ocho”. 

Needless to say, I’m a slave to my provider and must pay what they demand for “my” channels and shows. I don’t see my options changing anytime soon…. Unless I just stop watching TV and read more books. I hear TV rots your brain.

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