Tuesday, March 8, 2016

We Settlers Have Scruples

Jebediah, DirecTV's settler. Source: Google Images
Last month, I told DirecTV to take a hike, so I guess that makes me a settler.

But being a settler isn’t so bad. You just have to adjust, make due, and learn to have an appreciation for the simpler things in life.

For example, I have my foot stomping, a long-standing tradition amongst us settlers, that has brought me hours of pleasure and aggravated the hell out of my dog.

I also have my hand-stitched clothes. Indeed, they may seem a bit drab to you, but to a settler like me they’re stylin’. They also fit me much better than the fatso clothes I stuffed myself into during my heady DirecTV days. I admit I’m neither Ralph Lauren nor a Brooks brother, but, boy, can I stitch a snazzy pair of pants together. Next week I shall learn to make pleats! So what if one leg is a little shorter than the other. I’m a settler. I settle for things, even uneven things.

For exercise I have my stick and hoop. You might think my rapid weight loss has been due solely to my carb-free diet. Like blazes it has! I’ve been running up to a mile and half with my stick and hoop. I work up a good, healthy sweat. So what if I have to dodge a Dodge Ram or two along the way. I’m a settler. I settle for things, even things that the neighbors find silly and ridiculous.

When I'm bored I have my churn, a wooden apparatus I use to churn butter. For two weeks now I’ve been a regular butter-churning fool with that thing. I’ve churned so much butter one would think I’m expecting a call from Land-O-Lakes. But I haven’t got a clue what to do with the butter once it is churned. So what. I’m a settler. I settle for things, even incomplete things.

And for fun I have my books. Over the past few weeks, I have reintroduced myself to Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I’ve even gotten around to cracking the spine of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Television schmelevision! You can have your Viceland and its cannabis and its hip-hop hippity do-do, or whatever it is those urban rapscallions call it. And you can take its foul-mouthed, morbidly-obese, culinarian, too. I’m a settler. I settle for things, even things that might require a little intellectual fortitude.

My journey to the frontier began back in March 2015. It was then that a young, perky, DirecTV sales rep, clad in a skirt so short it was polishing her pancreas, approached me at a local Best Buy. She promised to save me a ton of money if I switched to DirecTV.

She said that if I left my plebeian cable TV behind (plebeian is my word nor hers), she would give me all sorts of channels and movies, most of which would be broadcasted in high definition. She would also throw in the NFL Sunday Ticket 2015 at no extra charge! (Perhaps she wanted me to think that she was more than just pair of legs.) All I had to do was sign a two-year contract and I would get it all for a mere $67 a month.

What more could I ask for? I could get all of that and a sleek, new football-shaped satellite dish to mount on my roof. I signed on the dotted line. Cellphone calls were made on the spot. It was official. I was a DirecTV customer.

Everything was fine for the first year. I got all the channels I wanted; I got all the movies I wanted; and I got my DVR. (Even we settlers need a DVR.) I also got the NFL Sunday Ticket 2015 for free. And then, February 2016 came. My covered wagon loomed on the horizon.

DirecTV informed me that in March my monthly bill would increase from $67 to about $140. I called the company's customer service number and protested – loudly. But alas, DirecTV had me by the cabbage heads. I was informed that the savings promised to me at Best Buy was only for the first year of my contract, a fact Ms. Miniskirt didn't divulge prior to my signing. After several minutes of arguing, I cancelled my contract. I fully expect to swallow the $240 early cancellation fee.

If the old bait-and-switch is what being number one in customer satisfaction is all about, a ranking touted ad nauseam by DirecTV's marketing suits, then I will accept cable’s ugly wires with open arms.

Soon I will return to cable, just as sure as will return to tilling my backyard in the hopes for a fertile spring. But that’s okay. I’m a settler. I settle for things. I’ll settle for my foot stomping, my homemade clothes, my butter churning, my books, my stick and hoop exercise, my sock puppets and my cable TV.

But there is one thing I won’t settle for, and that's dishonesty.

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