Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. ~Elise Boulding
Earlier this week, after dire warnings from my cable company, I downgraded my cable package from 200 channels to 17. The package I chose is called “restricted cable”, a title chosen by the cable company to make it seem like anyone who chooses this is somehow being kept away from the joy found in a plethora of viewing options. It’s been two days and I have yet to feel like I’m missing out on anything. Honestly, after pondering this decision for the last two months, I discovered that the majority of programs I watch are on the major networks and I generally watch those on DVR so that I can fast forward through the commercials. I still have my DVR because I think I would miss the convenience and time-saving options it provides, but maybe in the future I can bid adieu to that as well. I was sorely tempted to ditch cable altogether and went as far as purchasing an indoor antenna to try to get the local channels that way. Unfortunately, I was only able to get 3 channels, so that option didn’t quite work out.
When I called my cable company, the cheery woman who answered was very helpful and offered to assist in any way she could, at least until I asked to…….shudder…….”downgrade” my package. She quickly passed me on to the “hard sell” person who I’m guessing has been trained to “persuade” those
feeble minded misguided people who don’t see the value of having every channel available. I repeated my simple request and was asked by this individual if I knew what I was doing. She told me that the package I currently subscribed to was incredible and would not be matched ever again, so once she put the order in, it would be too late to get it back. Once it was gone, it was gone for good. The current package I had at that time was better than the packages available on the website, but it also included a land line phone line which I never had connected. I was warned that my phone number would be given away and nobody would be able to reach me at that number. Since the phone had never been hooked up and therefore I had never been reached at that number, I told her I had no problem with that.
She then made an appeal for the other members of my household that would be missing their children’s programming or sports programming. I told her that I have Netflix that my children can use to watch programs and that the “sports fan” will have to make do with the network sports programming and in the case of a “cable-only” sporting event, we would go out to a sports bar. She chuckled then and told me that a sports bar would be (and I literally quote her here) “a helluva lot more expensive than a cable package.” To this I replied that we could maybe impose on a friend or family member if we find something that we absolutely must see.
I think at this point she was beginning to sense that I was not changing my mind and was intent on doing the unthinkable and downgrading to the dreaded “restricted” package. She then appealed to my thrifty side and told me that I would only be saving $15.00 and would be losing over 150 channels in doing so. I told her that my “package” deal was only through September and at that point was going up $25/month, so I would be saving 15.00 a month until then and 40.00/month after that. She tried to cajole me to at least keep my current package through the summer and then change after that. I held firm.
Finally conceding defeat, she processed the work order to take all those sumptuous channels away from me and to leave me with only the scraps that restricted cable offers. She did say once again, but with a little less passion, that there would be no turning back from this and that no matter what I can’t get it back if I give her the go-ahead. I asked her to please go ahead and reluctantly, with a sigh, she said she was putting in the work order for the following morning.
It makes me wonder what happens to those truly admirable individuals who decided to cut the cord completely. I would imagine they are treated as if they had just pushed the button to end the world as we know it 😉
Now I’m left to ponder whatever I will do with the time I could have been watching all those channels……hmmm. I daresay just about anything, but here are some that I have done already:
- Read a book
- Plant some bulbs
- Weed the flowerbeds
- Play with the dog
- Read a magazine
- Write a blog post!
The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go. ~Steve Maraboli