My last bill for the suite of services that I could almost certainly live just fine without - that is, cable television, internet, and my "land line," or IP phone, was $245.
That makes it officially the biggest single bill that I have ever received at my house, including gas in the dead of winter last year, despite having a house with windows that are older than Methuselah, a front door that seals so badly that I can clearly see the street when it's closed (and no, it has no windows), and no insulation.
Okay, technically it's three bills. But if you take out the phone ($40 a month, which I've been too lazy to cancel) and the internet ($35 a month, well worth it) we're still talking $170 a month for cable television.
ARE YOU F@($&*!ING INSANE?? I don't even have the full-on package! I've got HBO and Skinemax. That's all. Oh yeah, and I have such "services" as HDTV and DVR which used to be basically free. In six months there won't even be any non-HDTV, it's going the way of the dodo. The "teaser" price for this exact same set of services -- my first bill about 18 months ago -- was $105. In the intervening months, the price has gone up incrementally. I mutely accepted that, like a frog in a pot of water slowly coming to a boil. But last month, it went from the already outrageous $205 to $245. WTF? I haven't been paying the teaser rate for nearly a year now, so that's not it.
A regression analysis of the incredibly complex bill revealed that the rate for Skinemax and HBO was now $36 per month (up from $22) and the rate for my DVR service was $15.95 a month (up from $4.95 when this all began). The remainder I assume is bured among the various "screw you" fees.
Wow. That's a pretty big jump for one month. And frankly, no television is worth $170 a month. That's more than 5 bucks a day for Reno 911 and Alien versus Predator at 2 AM.
Comcast must have forgotten something very important.
YOU HAVE COMPETITION. Oh yeah, and it's a recession. When times get tough, ridiculously expensive luxuries like cable TV are the first things on the chopping block. Brilliant thinking - now that people are watching their spending, let's just jack the prices about 40 bucks for no good reason! Everyone else who didn't get their business degree from a cereal box is doing just the opposite- offering crazy deals to try to get their piece of the approximately seventeen dollars that the entire population the United States is willing to spend this year.
The resolution: DirectTV is being installed in two weeks. Their full-on package is $110 a month AFTER their teaser expires, and that includes about everything under the sun. Coincidentally, Verizon just mailed me an offer for their crappy DSL internet service for $9.99 a month for a year. So I'm going to get more channels and functional (if old-timey) internet service for exactly half the price of Comcast.