by Larry Brody
Last week Gwen the Beautiful and I got a notice from our not so close personal friends over at DISH Network that as a thank you for using their service for 17 years in five different cities across the country, they wanted to personally thank us for our loyalty and were rewarding us the chance to watch some movie channel we’d never heard of for absolutely free for a few months.
Oh, and they also wanted us to know that they were raising our monthly fee by about five bucks because, hey, expenses, you know?
Over the past few years, we’ve been watching actual television shows on television less and less and thinking more and more about ditching everything, plugging a laptop into our flatscreen, and living out other people’s fantasy lives without leaving that strange comfort zone created by being online. The only thing that mitigated against that was the concern that it would just plain be too hard to keep track of when shows we wanted to see would be on without a DVR to record them automatically.
The rise in price, however, really bugged me. Especially coming at a time when according to most news reports cable and satellite TV subscriptions are on a major decline. I mean, the hell if I was going to continue subsidizing an industry that’s in jeopardy because more and more people are doing what I wanted to do.
So over the weekend I called DISH and told them we were cancelling. They sent us to a retention specialist, of course, and, embarrassing as it feels to admit it, My Pal the Retention Dood came through. For DISH and, I think, for me. After a few minutes – like maybe five, really – we cut a deal.
Over the 17 years the Brodys have used DISH, our monthly cost as ranged from a high of $150 a month to a low of $80, with the trend going downward as we’ve lowered the number of TVs we’re using and the size of our, you should excuse the expression, package.
After my conversation with the Retention Dood, our cost was down to $40 a month, for which we get – I swear! – every channel we’ve been watching for the past five years plus many more that we still will never watch without having to skip past all the sports, music, and dumbass Sirius Radio channels that have cluttered our DVR screen. In HD without having to pay the extra tenner a month we’ve had to shell out for that not-really-a-luxury.
In the words of the Retention Dood, “You’re getting a fabulous deal!”
He was right when he said that, but he also was wrong. Over the same past few years that Gwen and I have been watching less and less TV, one of the things I’d done instead was my DISH homework. This particular package has been around the whole time and I knew about it, but nowhere on the DISH site did I see anything that said it was available with HD. In fact, to give DISH a fair chance, I’d asked the first person I talked to about cancelling about it, and she specifically said, “Oh, I’m sorry. That one doesn’t come in HD” and sent me to my new pal, who not only overwrote her code but also gave me a $20 a month discount.
What I’m getting at here is if you’re thinking about ditching your cable or satellite provider it could be worth it to tell ’em and see what happens. Maybe you too will make a great new friend.
As I write this I’m feeling pretty damned victorious…but I remain vigilant. If I feel like we’re getting screwed – the discount doesn’t come through, or the HD falters, or if more of Gwen’s and my favorite shows end up on Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Hulu et al – my refurbished ThinkPad is plugged in and sitting on the credenza below the TV, ready to take over with the click of a Source button on our Samsung’s remote.
Larry Brody is the Big Boss at TVWriter™. Learn more about him here.