Big Cable has us right where they want us | Just Jaggin' | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Big Cable has us right where they want us

As a seasoned politician, representing the underserved for a total of one township meeting, I have learned to speak truth to power. (I also learned my township has a secret pond and is getting a beach volleyball court!) Representing my voter(s) (me) and fulfilling my campaign promises (I did not campaign) are my first priority. And that’s why I’m asking for your support in my fight against Big Cable. 

Cable companies lure you in with a deal that seems too good to be true: “A free landline with my WiFi and cable!!!” And before you can process that a landline is absolutely pointless, you’re stacking premium channels like Chris Moneymaker stacks WSOP winnings. Cable customer service employees are basically trained CIA operatives — they’ll find your weaknesses and exploit them and won't stop until you're paying $200 a month for the $30 worth of services you actually use.

I recently tried to cancel my cable, so I can say hipster shit like, “I don’t even own a TV” but still spend 12 hours a day streaming Bravo. Even though I knew it was going to be fruitless, I tried to do this through the company’s online chat service. I was greeted with awkward pleasantries, stated my case, and was told I have to call in to cancel anything. I asked why, but already knew the answer. You can add services online but can’t cancel any. Curious.    

So, I called in and the automated service told me I would have to wait 20 minutes, but they would be happy to call me back when they were ready. They called back, and as is standard, I still had to wait for a representative. That’s how they keep the upper hand. The representative picked up and was happier than anybody who works for a cable company should be — all part of their Blackwater training. I told him I wanted to no longer receive cable. 

I could hear him spinning his emergency Rolodex of contingency responses, which includes cheaper plans, upgrades, supplemental McAfee antivirus software, asking me which channels I watch, asking me why I wanted to get rid of cable, barely stopping short of begging me not to throw away the beautiful relationship we’ve built over many years of them gouging me. When I finally convinced him that it wasn’t him, it was me, he pulled the ace in his sleeve: the fee for terminating the contract. I was done for. 

While accepting the fee and canceling our cable would still save us money in the long run, the agent accomplished his goal of making me hang up to think about it, thus not actually canceling. It’s been about three days since that call, and I still haven’t decided my next move. The gritty, man-of-the-people politician in me says, “Stay the course, cancel the cable.” The lifelong cable customer in me says, “It’s too much of a bother, and really, how much are you saving?” 

Stay tuned for updates as this story continues to develop at, which requires a cable subscription of some kind.        

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