Just before Christmas, I decided to strike a blow for freedom and get DirecTV, thereby dropping my Stalinist cable company like a bad habit. Other people who had done this recalled their decision in ways that led to their softly weeping as they caressed their new dish and whispered sweet nothings into its concavity. So, I called the DirecTV people and asked them a lot of very specific pricing questions about what I wanted, how long I’d have it, and exactly … EXACTLY … how much it would cost the first year with the discount/rebate and then the year after without it. Repeatedly, like an idiot, I made the woman on other end of the line verify the totals owed every month for the first year. It was going to be $35.99/month with an HD receiver and another regular receiver that was given with no charge. At the end of the first year, it would jump to ~$70/month, which is roughly what the cable company was charging for fewer channels and no spiffy dish sitting on a pole next to my house.
The whole point of my entering into this little exercise in consumer choice is that I wanted to save money every month. I make enough to cover the essentials without having to feed myself or the dogs watered-down gruel, so this means that cutting little bits and pieces here and there makes a big difference in important things like the quality of beer I drink. So, this was the goal and even after grilling the DirecTV chick to the point of practically calling her a liar, I said ‘Okey dokey!’ and away we went. It was installed before Christmas, I traveled north to remind myself why winters in Ohio suck (Christmas was a blast, though), and got back yesterday ready to plop down and vegetate.
The first bill was $83.98. I called and asked them what the deal was, thinking maybe it was some little fine-print baloney saying that I needed to pay for the installer’s gas. Nope. After the ~$20 rebate, my monthly bill will be more or less exactly the same as I was paying with the cable company. After the rebate turns into a pumpkin 12 months later, I end up paying that $20 extra every month. When I told the person over the phone about my conversation with his peer and the $35.99 total, he said, ‘You were misinformed. There’s no way that you could possibly come up with that amount given the package you agreed to.’
To my credit, I hung up on the person before I could say anything that would either make angels blush or that person’s mother start to spontaneously start crying wherever she was at the time.
I’m not going to unleash a torrent of self-righteous hooey related to the fact that I just got violated by DirecTV without the benefit of their even using a latex glove for sanitation. What’s done is done. What I’m fishing for here is help in deciding what to do next, because the math is straightforward, but the psychology is killing me.
My options are:
- Pay the same as I was before for one year, followed by paying $20 more for another year, all the while trying desperately not to punch myself in the face.
- Pay DirecTV $480 to get out of the contract. The $480 is basically $20/month for 2 years. So, even if I dropped DirecTV and went crawling back to the communist regime, I’d basically end up paying them their ~$65/month, while recalling that I already paid DirecTV $20/month to get out of their contract, which ends up totaling the amount I’d pay for DirecTV every month throughout the second year of the contract that I already paid to get out of someone please shoot me.
The third option is that I could just drop cable altogether. It’s not a huge deal; I’ve done it before. My only requirement is that I have it for college football season, but that’s about it. I’d miss ESPN and the Food Network, but life is a struggle blah blah blah sacrifice blah blah blah. The real struggle here is to not flood my mind with the refrain that regardless of what I choose, I lose money, which was exactly the opposite of what I was trying to do when I started walking away from the status quo. Even if I drop cable, I’ll inevitably interrupt whatever I’m reading to constantly remind myself that I PAID SOMEONE TO NOT HAVE CABLE. And then I’ll start drinking to quiet the voices and will likely end up neglecting the dogs, who will undoubtedly start wearing a lot of black and listening to emo-flavored music (Emo Metal? Death Emo? Emo Core?) and will ultimately grow up to be hardened criminals or, worse, cable company employees.
Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi (you). You’re my only hope.
Sir @ December 29, 2009