Local Luddite writer regrets giving nod to cable company’s pitch

Mrak Drolette is a freelance writer living in Sacramento

“And how are you?” the UPS guy said, decidedly chirpy.

“Fine,” I said, decidedly not.

I stopped there, for he appeared uninterested in hearing some crusty senior inveigh against the cable-company-that-shall-not-be-named.

Usually, I like getting packages because, usually, they contain things I want. But this one did not. It contained a device that was supposed to enable me to receive channels I was already paying extortionate, I’m sorry, exorbitant rates to receive.

My ordeal started when the cable-company-that-makes-the-spawn-of-Satan-appear-angelic-by-comparison sent a chirpy letter proclaiming: “We’re always looking for ways to give you more!”

Instantly, I knew I was gonna be: 1. seriously inconvenienced, and 2. saddled with something I didn’t want.


The letter cheerily advised that the cable-company-that-shall-someday-feel-the-flames-of-hell-if-there-truly-is-a-god was introducing a new service (“Xfinicky,” I believe it’s called) that would provide “access to the fastest Internet speeds, triple the HD channels and a lifetime’s worth of free Swedish massages from the mega-leggy blond known as ‘Helga.’” (I may be off a bit there; about the faster Internet speeds, I mean.)

This “upgrade” required special hardware I lacked. (Watch it.) But lucky me! Seems the equipment could be delivered to my home with a “simple self-install kit.” I saw two problems (three, if you consider I don’t have an HDTV, about which I care maybe a halfwit, which in turn conjures the bubbly letter’s likely composer):

1. I’d be at work when delivery was attempted and thus forced to pick the item up. In West Sacramento. At rush hour’s peak. As well as the thermometer’s. Other than that, it was utterly convenient.

2. Nothing’s a “simple installation” in the Drolette household, and since the Drolette household contains a grand total of one Drolette (a Luddite of the first order, one who’s hopelessly overmatched when it comes to highly technical operations like, say, inserting earbuds), assistance from a familial geek was no option.

Silly him, er, me! How could I think that the cable-company-that-shall-be-vaporized-by-aliens-if-there’s-even-semi-intelligent-life-in-the-universe wouldn’t offer a solution? There it was, right in the letter: “Professional installation is available at an additional charge.”

So I wanted to get this straight: The cable-company-that-could-single-handedly-revive-the-pitchfork-industry sends me a device for an upgrade I don’t want, makes me pick it up on my dime and my time, then charges me to have it installed. Which, naturally, must be the case, or else the cable-company-that-has-it-all-over-the-Giants-when-it-comes-to-torture will stop providing the voluminously vacuous programming I currently pay it loads of dough to provide.

And for this kind of service people wish to privatize everything? (Actually, it’s called “being serviced.” And if you don’t know the difference, I might suggest you guard your flanks at all times.)

But thank goodness for the free market! Otherwise, the cable-company-that-if-I-were-king-would-be-slathered-in-honey-and-covered-with-fire-ants might, effectively, be a monopoly, thereby leaving me no alternatives. With the ubiquitous and fairly-priced competition our unregulated capitalism produces, however, I can quit the cable-company-that-would’ve-canned-Bernie-Madoff-for-ethics-violations (for having too many) and sign on with, uh … sign on with, um …

“Sign here, please.” Huh? ’Twas the UPS guy, interrupting my reverie. Sighing, I signed, resigned. I took the package home and put in on the floor, where it lies still. Waiting.

For what? Well, I went ahead and ordered something I wanted to receive, a package whose contents I’d actually look forward to using.

It’s from Pitchforks & Fire Ants. Wanna see their catalogue?