I rarely let giant corporations get under my skin.
If McDonald's uses USDA-certified neon pink chicken paste to make their delicious McNuggets, then godspeed Mickey D's. I've no qualms with the red headed clown and his practices, as long as they treat their workers fairly. The same goes for the amazing MacBook Pro, on which I type this, made by Apple's Chinese laborers. It would be hypocritical for me to complain while enjoying the fruits of these companies. However, the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable got my proverbial panties in the proverbial bunch.
Allow me to set the stage by quoting Robert Reich, who posted the following on his Facebook this morning:
I can understand why Comcast wants to buy its rival, Time Warner Cable, for $44 billion: It wants more bargaining power over content providers. But consumers will probably see higher prices. Cable subscription fees continue to skyrocket, and in customer-satisfaction surveys subscribers consistently rank cable companies last. The pay-TV industry itself is among the least liked US industries, rivaled only by internet service providers (which are largely the same companies). In the American Customer Service Index, Time Warner Cable and Comcast get the worst scores of all. Some deal.
So, basically, the two most despised companies with the worst customer service in the U.S, are merging in order to jack up prices, squeeze content providers,make the internet less free, continue their bizarre area-based monopolies, and jointly fight regulation in congress.
All subjects of national importance, with deep moral implications for all of us that extend beyond whether or not we can watch Mad Men on HD (which I couldn't because my AMC HD went dark for the duration of the Mad Men season).
Yet, for all my blustering about corporate greed, Internet freedom, and getting money out of politics, my beef with Time Warner is for their imbecilic intrusion into my life. As I write this, there is a Time Warner repair guy sitting in my living room quizzically looking at my TV.
Perfectly nice guy. Smelled good. Hard worker, no doubt.
He's here because the guy we had over last week left me two shoddy cable boxes, neither of which work. HE was here, because the guy prior to him couldn't figure out why channels kept disappearing. The guy before HIM was here because our audio would randomly cut out.
In all, we've had a TWC guy come in roughly once every other month for the last year or so. Every single time they have been super professional, pretty knowledgeable, and nearly to a man, THEY ALL ADMITTED TO NOT USING TWC AT HOME. That's right! Your service is so awful that your own employees prefer your competitors.
"Why do you suppose that is?"I ask, looking at my brand new TWC/ Motorola cable box which is bigger than my Blu-Ray player and my old Direct TV box combined. Seriously. I specifically ask for their newest box, and they are currently installing what looks like a Ford Crown Victoria in my living room. I'm half expecting a sarcastic pterodactyl to come out and say "If you wanted the good equipment you'd get DVR in both your TVs," Flintstone style.
So we must naturally ask ourselves, what would Ayn Rand do? She'd probably burst in holding Alan Greenspan's hand, shave my beard, and declare that the free market allows me to go to their competitors. Hooray for Ayn Rand! One snag, of course. Not only is Ayn Rand dead, so the bursting in is totally out, but in my building Time Warner is the only cable provider allowed to function. Not sure what deal with the devil was reached and with whom, but our landlord specifically made us break our happy union with Direct TV (Who was the best! Miss you! XOXO) because their filthy dishes are not allowed on our historic building, telling us Time Warner was the only option.
You can shake your head, and say "Tut-tut, what pitiful first-world problems we have here." but my situation is precisely why we should all be appalled by this awful merger. These two companies are the poster children for of how out of hand corporations have gotten in their goals for profits. When rigging the system becomes more profitable than providing even basic services, you can count on profit-based entities to act accordingly without the proper regulations in place. A horrifying reality, made only more horrific when it manifests itself while I'm trying to watch Game of Thrones.
Follow Alf LaMont on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alflamont