Cutting the Cord

By Sol in Blog

Yesterday was the first day of our month without TV and I woke up to an idea that interested me greatly.  Since we wouldn’t be using the TV for (at least) the next month, we should cancel our cable TV service, as it seemed like a waste to spend $50+ on something that wouldn’t be used.

Later that evening, it dawned on me that our cable TV subscription was the only non-essential regular monthly expense we had:

  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Phone
  • Internet (need for work)
  • Cable TV

One of these things is definitely not like the others, yet we unthinkingly pay for it every month just like the rest of our “utility” bills.  Thankfully we were thinking now, and with this new perspective, it was painfully obvious that the value we got out of our cable TV subscription did not justify the cost, especially when there are so many other options to get content from these days (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, etc.).  $50 isn’t huge, but it isn’t a small chunk of change either.  Imagine what we could be doing with that cash instead of filling our Sunday afternoons with reruns of Man v. Food (great show, by the way)?

So today, I called Time Warner with the intention of canceling our cable subscription, not just for the month, but for good.  After about 15 minutes I was actually speaking with a real human, and just 6 minutes later, we were free from the tyranny of cable TV fees…almost.  It seems that no matter what you do, they always have a way to squeeze you for more money, and in this case, they said they would be charging a $17 “connection fee” for the privilege of canceling our cable TV subscription.  I paused for a moment when the operator told me this and slowly asked for confirmation, “we’re being charged a connection fee so that we can disconnect our cable?”  The operator, to whom this seemed completely obvious and ordinary, clarified that they needed to connect a “trap” on our cable line so that we could no longer receive television signals, presumably because we were continuing to receive internet service from them and thus they could not just turn the line off completely from central command.

As they normally do when a call is about to end, the operator asked if there was anything else she could assist me with.

“Can you waive the $17 connection fee?” I asked, hoping to get out of cable’s grip cleanly.

She promptly responded in the negative and ended the call.

Nonetheless, a one-time fee of $17 is far better than $50 a month on something we definitely don’t need, and I feel somewhat lighter now that we’ve removed that layer of distraction from our lives.