It's not you, Comcast..it's me. How I cut the cord and got rid of cable.
Actually, it was them. It was their lousy, sporadic service and their ever-increasing prices.
I was a Comcast customer for 15 years. Considering they were the only cable people in Minneapolis for over a decade of that time, that's not a huge deal...but still.
I paid my bill on time, month after month, for all those years. I didn't complain when my bill would go up, in little tiny increments, without warning or without explanation.
I think the last straw was my April bill. It was $180.00, up almost $30 from the month before. Now, you may be wondering, what the hell was Broke Ass Jenny doing, paying over $150 a month to Comcast? I was getting these services:
High speed internet (that would go down (and not in a good way) at least four times a week)
One receiver upstairs (non HD, not a DVR, no premium channels...but there was On Demand)
One receiver downstairs (HD, not a DVR and again no premium channels)
That's it. I justified it as an Entertainment expense, figuring that the kids and I aren't regular movie goers and let's face it, we love our t.v. Ok, I love my t.v. Give me a break, people. Sometimes a lonely lady needs her stories to give her comfort.
But back to the price hike: This time I called 1-888-Com-cast and asked why my bill went up. The Comcast rep, who was very nice (they are always pretty nice. I can't say a bad thing about their phone people), explained to me that there was a price increase on the package I was currently subscribed to. "Don't you tell people when their bill is going to go up by that much?" I asked. He said, "No." I expressed my repulsion and anger (which, since I'm Minnesotan, went something like this..."ooooh. Okay. Have a great day now."). When I hung up, though, the gloves came off. I decided it was time to start the breakup process.
Like any breakup, this one wasn't easy. I went over it in my head for days. I thought about my other options...did my research, read tons of articles about "cutting the cord" and bidding adieu to cable. We already had Netflix streaming, which we used mostly on the PS3 that is down in the mancave. I decided to get a Roku player for the upstairs t.v. I got mine at Target for about $60.00 and Charlie hooked it up in less than 5 minutes.
Then came the moment I was dreading. The breakup call. My finger shook as I pressed the number to Downgrade. The customer service rep answered, all chipper and happy, not knowing the world of hurt that was about to invade her space.
"Umm...hi...hey, listen...I'd like to get rid of my cable television." I paused, because I had heard allll about what Comcast will do when you call and ask to downgrade. I'd heard the stories about credits, free Showtime and HBO, incredible bargaining on their part. I wondered what Comcast would offer me, what they'd put on the table in order to keep our relationship going.
The Comcast lady said, "Ok! Let me just note that on your account. Now, you want to get rid of all of it, right? You'll have to return your equipment, ya know. Let me look up the closest service center for you."
It was like when you work up the guts to tell a lovah that "It's time we go our separate ways" and instead of them crying or trying to convince you to stay, they say, "Yeah, you know what...you're right. Hey, we can still be friends!".
I felt a little bad. Like Comcast was just waiting for me to do the dirty work. Like they were feeling the same way and didn't say anything. She was so quick to agree...
So anyhoo. That was it. I kept them as my internet provider because I hadn't thought that out yet, and of course they increased that price by about $20, but my new monthly bill was going to be about $60 total. A nice change from the previous month's charge of $180.
And then they came to cut my cable.
Somehow, the guy who came to do the cutting thought his orders were to COMPLETELY cut us off. So imagine my surprise when I tried to go online that afternoon and discovered that we no longer had internet. No computer, no Roku, no wifi for my phone. We were cut off.
When I called Comcast this time, I was a little pissed. The first person I talked to had me get down on my hands and knees, had me disconnecting and unplugging routers and modems. She even had me outside at the actual cable box, unplugging stuff out there (really...let me know if you need some work done on your cable box. I know my way around in there). Nothing worked. They sent another guy out to physically reconnect the internet line, but still...nothing that required internet worked. I was going apeshit, and the kids were heading there with me.
So finally they transferred me to one of their Tech Specialists, who looked over my account and said, "Oh wow..your router is totally obsolete. That may be your problem." I said, "You mean the router I've been paying $7.00 a month for, for the past 2 years?". He said, "Yes." I asked him if it was standard Comcast policy to charge customers a monthly fee for obsolete equipment and he was all like, "Umm..no. Not usually." I asked him if they ever provided updated equipment to their customers and he said, "Well, yeah, we can do that but if I was you? I'd go buy a new router. And probably a new modem too. It's going to be cheaper that way in the long run."
Off I waddled to Target, again, to fetch a new router and a new modem (about $100 total). Again, Charlie hooked both of them up in less than 5 minutes. We were golden. Online and feeling fine.
So now we are a cable-free family. We have our Netflix streaming, which is about $8.00 a month, and I did sign up with Hulu Plus for another $8.00 a month. I'm not crazy about Hulu though...it's very glitchy and freezes constantly. So I think we're going to ditch that.
We are doing amazingly well without it. I am flabbergasted by how fine the kids are doing without it, and as for my poor t.v. addicted self? I'm doing fine too. William and I watch a lot of Mythbusters on Netflix (oh yes, I'll bust a myth with you, Adam Savage, you bespectacled nerdy ginger), of course I've been weeping over Army Wives...and we supplement with the free codes from Red Box now and then.
Oh, and about two weeks ago I got a call. A call from Comcast, asking me how I'm doing. Some old feelings came rushing back up to the surface but I pushed them back down. I wanted to show Comcast how well I was doing without them. They asked me if I've considered coming back, asked me if they could offer me anything, like maybe a premium channel. Maybe a free DVR for a few months.
"That's sweet of you, Comcast," I answered. I was gentle, kind.."but we're doing ok without you."
Before I hung up, I thanked them for calling me.
"Be well, Comcast", I said.
Posted by the_happy_hausfrau at 11:19 AM