You Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone

Ever have one of those moments when you realize that you need something in your life? I had one when I finally cancelled my cable TV service in my apartment, breaking my 22 and a half year streak of having the “boob tube” in my life.

Let me explain what led to my decision to cancel my precious television service.

It all started about four months ago when I decided not to continue renting when my contract is up in December, but purchase a small condo or townhouse instead. I won’t go into all the boring details about that, but doing so caused me to go from being a typical, broke, college student to being an over-the-top, “I could teach a class on being a cheap ass” college student.

So the first thing I felt had to go was my cable. At the time, I was paying around $110 every month for cable and internet service through Dish Network (because my apartment building switched from Comcast to Dish), but I felt that was too high and I wanted to cut my costs so I could save a little more for when I get an actual house.

So I called my cable provider, and the following is pretty much exactly the conversation we had…

A side note – going into this conversation, I had every intention of keeping my cable service. After all, who wants to be without TV when you’ve grown up with it your whole life?

Operator: Hello, thank you for calling (company name), how can I help you?

Matt: Hi, yes, I would like to downgrade my services with you.

Operator: I’m sorry to hear that, can I get your account number?

Matt: Of course, here it is…

Operator: Okay, so what would you like to change?

Matt: Well I’d like to keep my internet, that’s $35 per month correct?

Operator: Yes, our basic internet service is $35 per month.

Matt: Okay, well what do you have for TV that is cheaper than what I’m paying right now? I think I’m paying about $50 per month for the digital cable with 200 channels, plus $15 for a DVR and $12 for HD service, but I would like something a little cheaper than that.

Operator: Well, we have a basic cable service, but that runs $50 per month.

Matt: But I’m paying $50 a month…

Operator: Yes, but you are paying the introductory rate for the 200 channels, it will go up to $85 per month after the introductory rate is up.

Matt: Okay, yeah I remembered something about that. Okay well I want to at least cancel my DVR and HD service, and then what is the cheapest cable service you offer.

Operator: Our basic cable service is $50 per month.

Matt: Your regular, “plug straight into the wall” cable service is $50 per month…

Operator: That is correct, sir.

Matt: *pause* …Well, it looks like I won’t be having cable TV from now on…

$50 a month for basic cable? That’s ridiculous even for people who are a little more easy-going with their money. There is no way I am going to spend $50 per month of my hard earned money for grainy, blurry cable when I barely am home to watch it in the first place!

Why does something that has become such a staple in the lives of Americans cost so much? I have many theories, all involving schemes and corporations bringing in millions of extra dollars for their summer homes, but they’re just theories.

The point is, that for the past four months, yes, there have been many times when I have missed my beautiful cable. In the past, cable has tucked me in while I’m falling asleep, allowed me to cheer on my favorite teams and given me something to watch when I’m eating and can’t use my hands to play video games.

Now, I see the luxury it actually is and appreciate what I no longer have instant access to. I miss the comfortable feeling of that intricate remote in my hands, allowing me to go anywhere with the touch of a button. Sometimes it takes a little time without something you love in your life to realize how much you miss it.

And you can bet the first thing I’ll be hooking up in my new place is my TV and my cable.

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