The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

Anyone who knows me is aware of my trials and tribulations with technology. Let’s call it a love/hate relationship. Of late let’s just say it’s leaning toward the latter.

Now don’t get me wrong; I do love my computer and all it has to offer. Take Google for instance. I’m from the era where research meant visiting the library to look through a multitude of books, searching microfiche or thumbing through volumes of index cards….time consuming and tediously boring necessities when seeking information.

Today Google simply tells us whatever we need to know. What’s not to love? Instant answers are at our fingertips. That’s exhilarating. Depending on how fast you type, you can have your answer within seconds. It’s actually quite remarkable, don’t you think?

The hate part rears its ugly head when, in my current spoiled condition, I don’t receive the instant gratification I’ve come to expect at my beck and call when using my personal technology — computer, laptop, cell phone and TV.

And in this particular case, my TV gave me grief. I imagined something like the movie Toy Story where my various items of technology got together one night and drew straws on which one would create my gradual dissent into madness by having my TV work only intermittently the day before the US Open tennis finals.

I realize in the scheme of things it’s hardly a big deal, but I always seem to miss the finals of the Grand Slams. It’s rather aggravating. If you’re a football fan, it’s like your TV going on the fritz the day of the Super Bowl.

So I called Direct TV.

After a 47 minute wait someone answered and introduced himself. He asked my name, I told him, then he said, “Hello? Hello? Are you there?” I said, “Yes, I’m here.” Whereupon he said, “I can’t hear you. Hello? If you don’t answer I’ll have to hang up.” All the while I’m yelling, “YES, I’M HERE, I’M HERE! CAN’T YOU HEAR ME?!” Click.

Rather annoyed at this point, I then called Comcast to switch my TV service to them. Got a sweet yet chatty lady in Wisconsin. I’m pretty sure she talked for 47 minutes (or so it seemed). But she proposed an awesome deal to combine my TV and internet where I’d be saving a ton of money.

So I called Direct TV.

This is when I was informed my contract isn’t up until January. “But here’s what we’ll do for you since you’ve been such a loyal customer…” To keep me from jumping ship, they lowered my monthly bill from $157 to $82, effective immediately. I guess the squeaky wheel really does get the grease, huh? Maybe I should complain more often.

Just between you and me, I still plan to jump ship in January. But meanwhile, a Direct TV repairman came the next day and fixed my equipment malfunction in time for me to see the tennis finals.

Don’t get too excited. When my next Direct TV bill arrived, it was $157 again.

So I called Direct TV.

Here’s my takeaway from all this: Bills for our various technology tend to increase a little at a time, designed so we don’t notice. (Or so I believe.) Over months and years they sneak in $10 here, $5 there until the bill has virtually no resemblance to the original. It happened with my internet, phone AND television. So here’s the trick…

Pay attention to your bills! Barring that, after your contracts expire, call each carrier and ask them how badly they want your business. Odds are you’ll come away with a pretty sweet deal. In the end it’s worth the inordinate amount of time you have to spend on the phone with them.

I guess that’s just the price we pay for being a squeaky wheel.

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