Saturday, July 23, 2011

An Involved Story

Hubby and I are TV addicted. We don't watch it all that much (or maybe we really do, I'm not sure how much other people watch) but we have it on ALL the time. In our inner city neighborhood, Hubby uses it as a alarm system -- if the TV's on, surely someone is home. If we leave the dogs at home (like in this horrible heat), we think it keeps them company. Hubby claims he can't fall asleep without it being on. Then neither of us wake up to turn it off, unless a screaming killer kind of movie kicks in and I wake up. I have my shows I record on my DVR. Hubby has his 1950's through the 1980's shows that he likes to watch, repeats be damned. Gunsmoke is his newest addiction (and I hate it -- I never did like that series. Just too dark for me).

We are high paying members of the Dish network. We have been for over 16 years now. We subscribe to all the premium movie channels (but we avoid the sex and pay for view channels). We don't use our TV for the Internet and we don't have a Netflicks account, but our Dish does provide DVR service.

Some years ago when our 1980's TV gave out, Hubby brought home a 36 inch screen model with one of those huge back ends. Flat TVs had just come out on the market and were terribly expensive and Hubby was NOT, under any circumstances, paying over $500 for a TV. This TV was so big that he could not lift it by himself to the top of our bedroom dresser, where all our TVs have resided over the years. Once we had three working TVs but now we have just one and it's in the bedroom. He had to hire someone to put the TV on the dresser.

Two days ago the big, heavy TV (probably only 5 years old) would not turn on. No matter what Hubby tried, it just wouldn't come on. We decided to bite the bullet and go get a flat screen TV -- one under $500, of course.

Best Buy was having an Open Box sale which gave 10% off on the selected items, so we headed out across town in 101 degree heat to buy us a TV. We had about 10 choices from the Open Box items and he and I both agreed on the 43 inch screen. They wrapped it up and we brought it home. That is one B I G TV, let me tell you!

Now. We have all the paraphernalia to that goes with the Dish satellite. And we are part of this "secret society" that puts boxes in your house to keep track of what you are watching, every minute you are watching. We can't admit we are part of this society, as they sternly remind us every time they come and check out their equipment -- but this set up, too, means a lot of cords and wires and plugs and boxes. We laugh about being part of this "secret society" because we clearly aren't on any demographic watch list -- but every six months the "secret society" workers come by and renew the equipment, so we play along. But with all this wiring and "stuff" we couldn't make the new TV work. Hubby got it kinda hooked up to Dish and we kinda got a signal but it wasn't very good. Plus the remote simply wouldn't work at all.

So today, in 107 degree heat we took the TV back. This time we caved in and bought a much more expensive Panasonic in a box (so no discount) and we had to plunk down a lot more money than the $500 we had originally bargained for.

Getting the new TV home, we still couldn't hook up all the equipment. Hubby then realized that this new TV didn't come with all the plugs / cords you need to hook it into whatever system you are using. But because the TV we took back had had all the right cords, he was determined that Best Buy was going to give him the cords he needed. The cords from our behemoth TV wouldn't fit either of the new TVs.

Another trip back to Best Buy. We didn't take the TV with us but I saw in Hubby's eyes that if he didn't get his cords, the next thing was that we weren't keeping this unit either. Best Buy was as adamant as Hubby, of course. They don't give out cords.

Hubby stormed out of Best Buy; me trailing sadly behind. In the car, as Hubby huffed and puffed, I meekly suggested that, though I understood the principle behind his disgust, it really was hot . . . and maybe TVs today just didn't come with all the cables one needed to hook them into whatever system the buyer was using.

Hubby drove out of that parking lot and straight into Sam's Club where he started reading TV cartons and TV literature -- to prove to me he could get the cables he needed if he'd just purchase the right unit. I asked for a TV tech and Sam's sent us an older gentleman, who patiently showed Hubby what cables he would need -- and yes, he would need to buy them. And because our new TV is HD, he also sold us HD cables but explained that our Dish box would need to be replaced.

Back home, now in 110 degree heat, Hubby reads the manuals, pulls out all his plugs / cords and tries his best to make the new TV find the Dish signal. No luck. When I suggest we call Dish, Hubby storms off, because he's told me "ten thousand times we don't have the right cables."

But back in the computer room, I hear him talking with Dish. Now they aren't thrilled and they balk a bit, but after 45 minutes and a chat with a supervisor and the supervisor's supervisor, they nicely agree to send us a tech, between noon and 4 tomorrow (that's Sunday guys!) who will bring us an HD connector box and all the correct cables and will make the new TV work.

I honestly feared Hubby was going to stroke out in this heat -- or have a heart attack -- which is why I kept dragging along. Luckily, we and our marriage has survived -- so far. Hopefully things will get better tomorrow if and when the Dish network people show up and make things work.

Still -- we (the public) are paying an awful lot of money for things that have become so complicated we can no longer deal with them without technical assistance. I wonder how really old folks do when they need new appliances and how do they get them installed without paying several hundred more in fees. Buying this TV was very, very frustrating. I can't imagine that it's going to get easier on us as the years go by. I can only hope that when the next major appliance goes out, it's in April or October so the weather will be a whole heap nicer.


Margaret said...

We have an old TV with a big back end that we will eventually have to replace and that idea scares me a LOT, because of the reasons you talk about here. (price, complexity, frustration!) I hope that the tech can get it working for you!!

Donna said...

Sometimes it can be a real pain to deal with Dish (or Direct TV, which is what we have now). I'm glad they're coming to help out.