Destroying the Decepticon in My Living Room – Cutting Cable TV’s $1K Umbilical Cord

Our electric bill had jumped so much, I thought maybe three or four neighbors had run extension cords off the back of my garage.  We walked all around the house, examining every outlet, toaster, stereo and toothbrush charger–right past the culprit hiding in plain sight.  We were so used to its soft roar that it had become almost therapeutic–like a wave-machine in a sauna.  But, to quote Ross Perot, we finally identified “that sucking sound…” the cause of our depleting bank account–it was a Decepticon–the cable company’s Swiss army knife of doom–our modem/router/DVR/corkscrew. Apparently, according to my friend Scott Sowers, these bad boys draw more energy than a refrigerator.  And I get to pay a rental fee for it, too! I’m so used to cable TV that I’d forgotten that free programming was even out there.  When I called my provider, WOW (a fitting title for its increases that, in fairness, can’t compare… Read More…

Divorce Court for Your Cable Provider: The Art of the Steal

Wouldn’t it be great if we could negotiate everything like a cable bill?  Try it the next time you’re in your doctor’s waiting room. “That will be $148, Mr. Walsh,” says the cranky person behind the glass slidey-door. “Hmmm…I’m not sure about that.” “Hmmm?” she glances up from her computer. “That’s right.  Hmmm.  You know, I think you might be overcharging me.” “Sir, would you like me to sick a collection agency on you?” “But $148 to have my kids’ acne examined?  And we had to wait an extra hour for that privilege.  Can you knock off twenty bucks because of the wait?” “Sir, the doctor is very busy.” “I’m sure he is.  Anyway, the zit-doc down the hall told me he’d look at my kids’ pimples for only $128, so I thought it might be reasonable…” She begins to dial the collection agency. I find it odd that liquor… Read More…