An Open Letter to Kids’ Cable Channels (I’m Looking at You, Nick)

Recently, you changed the schedule. Spongebob had been coming on all summer at 7am.  And then all of a sudden, it wasn’t.

Can I just ask one thing?

Why is it that you give adults all kinds of warnings when you are going to move an adult show to a new night or time, but you give absolutely no warning to the kids?

TVMaybe your test-markets are saying to try something new.  Maybe you think kids actually want to watch some cheesy disney-esque sitcom at seven in the morning.

All I ask is that you give us a heads up.

When you don’t, we spend a week dreading mornings.  The Boy refuses to go to camp or school, or quickly packs up his stuff and takes it out to the truck, insisting that he and The Man leave an hour early because Nick changed the schedule, and Spongebob isn’t even on anymore.  Ever.

(And could I even hope to try to find it on On Demand? Nope.  Then after a week, it suddenly appeared on On Demand, but 2 of the 5 episodes were in Spanish… So helpful, Time Warner Cable.)

Miraculously, Spongebob came on again at 7am after about two weeks. And then… just as fast, it wasn’t anymore.

All I know is that if NBC did this with Grimm on Fridays in season, or if AMC had done this with Mad Men, they would have a riot at their doorsteps.  Why is it fair to do it to kids?  Especially kiddos on the spectrum who depend on their schedules to help them make sense of this world.  When you change things on them, when they can’t count on Spongebob to be on at 7am like always, this world can be a scary place.

All those child psychologists on your payroll, and not a single one of them could figure this out? You’ll have a much more lasting impact on your audience if you actually treat them like real people.

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Get on the Phone to Save Some Money

Comcast bill

Comcast bill (Photo credit: pmsyyz)

Today I called the cable company who decided to up my bill by $20 a month.  I spoke with two people, who both were very nice, but also professionals.  “Let’s see what’s going on with your account…”  They both knew exactly what had happened – The promotional term had ended, and no one had informed me that there was a promotional term.  They know that because they get hundreds of calls a day from people just like me, complaining about the very same rate hike, yet they pretend to commiserate and try to “figure out” what could possibly be happening with my bill.  They ask if there are any other problems with the service, they ask if maybe I have more services than I need.  This is the tactic they use to try to get people to back down and agree that the services provided really are worth the extra money.

They don’t fool me.  I have my own techniques.  I stayed calm, and kept repeating that I would have to go to their competitor to see if they could offer a better deal — this was how I got the first person to switch me to the “loyalty department”.  The second person tried to get me to see what a deal I was still experiencing, as I was still $15 under “retail” by asking if I had any issues with buffering or picture quality.  I finally told him, “I don’t have any problem with the service, I have a problem with the price.”  At this point he offered to “split the difference with me”.  I took his offer, but in the meantime, got all the pertinent facts about how much Internet and basic cable were costing (each), when the cost would go up again, and the mbps speed, so that I can go to their competitor and see if I need to make a change.

Before I became a single mom, I never would have picked up the phone to make this call.  I still do not like talking to people (businesses) on the phone, but now I can play the game and save myself some money when I have to.

What tips do you have for saving money on bills?