I like TV. Yes, I know that Marx had it wrong and that TV is the real "opiate of the masses." I also know that "we" all eschew watching TV because it is so mundane and aimed at the low brow and not "us" clever, educated, and intelligent people who are more interested in true cultural activities.
None of which explains the fact that most of you can reel off the last three winners of American Idol or the report that places Jon Stewart's Daily Show as an important source of news.
I freely admit that I am addicted to this opiate. I was raised on it, it was my Nanny, it was my primary babysitter. Captain Kangaroo helped form my childhood, as did Ding Dong School. My cultural exposure was through Cid Caesar, Red Skelton, and Milton Berle. Not to mention Ed Sullivan's Show of Shows.
So, yesterday when my two year old 42" plasma HD TV died, I was struck dumb. Emotionally paralyzed. Lost in the Bermuda Triangle of entertainment. My DVR would be happily recording my favorite shows but I would have no way to watch any of it.
Well, no way to watch until I purchased a new one, of course. I wasn't struck that dumb.
But first I needed to call the TV manufacturer. Which I did. Wending my way through the breadcrumb path that is called voice menu options. Each of which slowly sucked me down into the quagmire as it transferred me willy-nilly through the redundant questions, gathering information that would never make it to the alleged "tech" that I would be occasionally connected to. At each transfer, I would be placed on hold while the Hollywood Strings (or some other bland orchestra) would barely audibly be playing some obscure piece of music or some rendition of Desolation Row until some tones would slam into my ear at about 150dB giving me an instant headache and an attitude.
And the first "tech" would be useless, have a slight New Delhi accent, and apologize for the trouble I am having while telling me he cannot help me but would happily transfer me to someone who could and would I "hold just a minute?" Oh, and the information I had supplied to the faceless, lifeless voice menus? He had to get it from me all over again. And, of course, there was obviously no way to send the information he gathered to "tech" #2. So I would have to provide all of that data again. And the incredibly bland music in between these "techs" would also be interrupted by the blare of tones exacerbating that headache and putting a fine edge on that attitude.
When I finally got to the "tech" who could actually allegedly help me with my problem (as she repeatedly assured me), it turned out that my warranty expired two months previous. But no problem, says she, we can help. She can send out a technician and it will only cost me $629 or so to have him make three attempts to correct the problem. But, she happily informed me, if he could not successfully correct the problem, I would be rebated the difference between that figure and the $329 I would be charged for their ineptness or the TV's insistence on remaining blank.
I quietly explained that I would rather just buy a new TV and that I would certainly make sure it was not manufactured by them. And I did.
Did I mention the name of the company? No? Should I?
Maybe I should not state the TV was made by Hewlett Packard!
After all, I wouldn't want anyone to think too badly of them.
A Night Unremembered
2 years ago