December 30, 2013

A Great Business Model?

I've been thinking about whether we should upgrade our current basic cable (yes, I said basic cable - that's all we have) to something more substantial, such as Dish, DirecTV, or something less basic from our local cable monopoly. I've asked friends for help on Facebook, and am getting some pretty good feedback, mostly from people who are happy with what they have, even if where there are now is not where they started out. 

The more I think I'm going to do some research on it, the more I think I really don't want to. Because I hate the whole concept of how the whole getting-TV-into-my-house business works. Regardless of delivery method, it seems I'm gong to be stuck with a boatload of channels that I will NEVER watch, and don't want to pay for. 

For example, it seems like the retail therapy I do now from my laptop is simply not good enough. Apparently, I need five or ten home shopping networks, 24-hour infomercial channels, 'all jewelry all the time' broadcasts, and a corresponding number of auction networks so that I can do even more than my fair share to help our struggling economy.

And I guess we don't need our Bose sound system anymore - or my bookshelf stereo, or my HD radio either. Might as well just throw those out the window, because no matter how hard I try, it seems I'm going to be stuck with scads of radio channels on my television. Why? Because, clearly, I must want to have my TV on so I can listen to tinny twangers from the 40's, or virgin Viennese violin virtuosos, or terror-inducing tenors, or a bunch of rapacious rappers. Well, hold on a second -- I don't want to have my TV on so I can listen to the radio. I can already do that any of the above-mentioned radio-type devices. 

And, strangely enough, I've never felt the urge to start watching a show on my PC in the basement rec room, pause it and then start it up again when I'm in the second floor bathroom, only to pause it and start it again downstairs in the kitchen where I watch for a moment trying to determine whether I want a glass of chocolate milk, a cold beer, or something else. Then, I stop it one more time, grab my wine and ice cream and head for the home theater room where I can finally sit down, relax, and watch the weather forecast. 

Have you?

What I would really like is to call up some television service deliverer and say to them "I want my local channels, and I want these other 15 channels. And I don't want anything else. How much will that cost?" And if I were to ask that question, after they stopped laughing at me, I'd be told it's not possible.  You need to get these other channels, you need to have at least one hockey channel for every team, and at least four soccer channels, and six watching-waves-crash-against-the-shore channels, and 27 religious and inspirational channels, and movie channels, my poor girl, you simply must have 50 movie channels, you poor pitiful behind the times girl - and the choir of sobbing, hand-wringing customer service reps in the background can only be appeased if I spend my $39.99 or $49.99 or $79.99 or $89.99 or $199.99 per month for the two-year introductory period and get my dishes and boxes and cards and hoppers and DVRs and HGTV....oh wait that's a channel I want, not a delivery method, sorry. 

Oh - and bundle up, sister, because it's cold outside. Heaven forbid you have more than one supplier of TV, phone, and Internet service. Because that's plain un-American. Just ask them. 

Yep -- for some reason, these companies have come up with a business model that says we have to take what they want us to take, and we have to take all of it, even if we have no intention of using most of it - and we have bought into it hook, line, and sinker. 

Can you imagine, just for a moment, if any other company or business did the same thing? 
  • Picture walking into a shoe store and being told that, in order to get the pair of boots you really want, you also need to get three handbags, eight pairs of those nylon shoe-trying-on things, ten pairs of flip-flops and a dozen pairs of stilettos, in sizes that don't fit and colors that are beyond horrid -- a bunch of junk plus twenty-two pairs of shoes you will never wear -- just to get the one pair you want. You gonna buy those boots? 
  • Or going into a grocery store to get milk and bread, because we've got a Nor'easter or an Alberta clipper or lake effect snow heading our way, and being told that you also have to pay for and take home both adult and baby diapers, some weird-looking sushi, gluten-free cookies, blue dye for your hair, anchovies, week-old bagels, unsalted nuts, and off-brand tuna fish packed in oil, because that's what the store wants to sell you. How badly do you want that bread and milk? 
  • Or taking your car to the speedy oil change place, and have to get new tires, a pollution control valve, seat covers, a windshield, a side-view mirror, and cargo-area carpeting, because after all, if you want that speedy oil change, well, you know the drill. 
It's crazy that we fall for this, isn't it?

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