This is an old man rant, but I’ve noticed it for years now, even before I was an old man.

Free stuff is rarely free, especially in regards to my time.

I use a particular phone service for my entire family. I’m sure I spend more per month on it than my parents did for their first mortgage. Along with the phone service, the company provides me with a movie service for my television. And, like many free things, it doesn’t work.

I turned it on yesterday so the kids can watch some Christmas shows. Nothing happened, and I got the message that ‘your subscription has expired.’

Here’s where the rant starts.

I have to call the phone company to fix this, so the timer starts ticking. It’s a ‘know issue,’ and they will get their tech guys on it pronto.

Is this the fix? If I’m in a meeting at work and the boss asks me why he wasn’t alerted about an issue, and I respond that it’s a ‘known issue,’ it means I’m not doing my job, and I will – and should – get fired. When the phone company tells me that my problem is a known issue, it’s code for ‘we know it happens and don’t really care that much about it.” It’s code for mediocrity. It’s code for ‘we’re happy to take your money and happy to keep as much of it as possible.

The phone worker has a plan for me. “Let’s do this,” she says. “Go and unload and reload the program on your television a few times. It’s should work then.”

“But I’m doing something,” I say. “And you want me to piddle with the TV for half an hour when I could cancel it in less than a minute?”

“But then you lose all those great shows you get FOR FREE,” she says.

“Well, I’m calling because none of it works. For free or otherwise.”

So, the clock has ticked to about half an hour now, and I haven’t even played with the TV yet. By the time I’m done, I will have wasted over an hour on this silly little thing, only because of the ineptitude of the phone company.

Oh, well. Maybe I’ll get the kids to do it while I fold clothes or do something worthwhile.

Selah.

***

Go here to see all the crumbs that the dog has missed…

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