It doesn't cost a dime to be nice, but it's $154.49 for courtesy.
So, I just got off the phone with AT&T.
I called them with a simple idea. They charge me too much for cable/internet/TV. I know this because if you are a "new" customer you can get their service for like 8 cents a month. Ok, I'm aware that's a loss leader and they make up the money 6/12 months later when your promo prices expire, but the very little you're paying means that the true price is somewhere far below my 154.
This is the game they force us to play. I called and I said, "Hi AT&T person, isn't it silly that all you companies charge 8 cents a month for new customers and then when you have a customer like me, long-time bill payer, good-looking skylarker and whatnot, you hold me over the coals until I switch to BU&U service? How about this time, you give me a lower *fixed* rate and then I won't have to switch and you'll still get my money?"
The first guy I talked to found this irrefutable and put me through to a "specialist." The specialist's job is to argue that AT&T is a really nice company and does a lot of things as a courtesy. If you are curious, in the AT&T vernacular, a courtesy is when you don't charge more for something. "We don't charge you for the DVR box as a courtesy." WTF does that exactly mean? I am passing along 155 of my hard-earned female deer to this company and they claim things are a courtesy. That's like me saying, I use the phone for 10 minutes a month
I emphasized my point. AT&T has no great feature preventing me from switching. I don't use the whole world DVR streaming to my brain or whatever it is, so, no plus there. AT&T is actually a detriment to me because I can't splice a line to watch local/basic cable like I can with "cable". Instead, when I have a Super Bowl party I have to snake rabbit ears out to my porch in the driving snow. To me, it's a commodity, like milk. I said, if I can get 12 months of service for half the price, even if it's just for a year why wouldn't I do that? Even if I have to switch every year. She said she didn't understand why people did that. I said, that I had just explained that it was cheaper and while inconvenient, it wasn't splinters-under-fingernails inconvenient. She said we had a different way of looking at things (I can only assume mine is the correct way to look at things).
She continued to tell me that she lived in a rural area where SHE COULDN'T GET UVERSE. (Can you imagine the discourtesies?) And she's had the same provider for years and never called to see if she could get her rates lowered. It was the strangest thing. It was like she was trying to make me feel guilty for not being a dumbass. What with all the talk of "courtesies" and her unending devotion to her rural tv/isp.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Don't pay for tv/phone. Just get an internet (why is blogger underlining internet as a spelling error?) connection and do everything through that. I would. I so would. But the rub is sports. It's like 80% of what I watch. (The other 20% is typically TCM.) Sports means you can't get the "basic" package. It also means you can't really ditch the TV portion. Sure some things stream, but streaming is a fickle mistress which I'm not prepared to rely on.
It was an odd conversation. She didn't seem to understand the premise that I would like to keep more of my money for myself. In the end, I got $20 off per month . . . for 6 months. So now I'm off to look into Time Warner's and WOW's promotional offers. And the dance continues.
* This is literally true. Well, 11 minutes last month. I told her that I spent more time waiting on hold than what I've used the phone all year - an exaggeration, but not by much.