Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Change Is Good for You; At Least That's What I Keep Telling Myself

I'm not big on changes. I don't fear them; Im just not keen on them.

While nearly everyone I know has changed his or her e-mail address at least once -- some have changed it half a dozen times over the past decade -- I have the same AOL e-mail address I began e-mailing with nearly 20 years ago. With every passing week, I am more vested in that e-mail address; changing it seems like an almost insurmountable challenge.

I had to change my cell phone number that I had had for nearly a decade when I moved to South Carolina nearly six years ago, but I didn't have much choice.

I still maintain an account with my credit union in Fla. I have a relationship with it and don't want to just dump it. I may need it someday.

So it may surprise you almost as much as it surprised me when I switched my TV service from Charter Cable to AT&T U-verse this week.

I returned home from Utah last Friday night to discover that my AT&T DSL wasn't working. I spent about an hour on the phone with customer service getting it back up and running on Saturday, during which they sold me a bundle with an upgraded broadband Internet hookup and U-verse TV.

This wasn't really a snap decision on my part. AT&T has been soliciting me for U-verse for more than a year. They tore my yard all to hell four times about 18 months ago laying the fiber-optic cable that is the cardio-vascular network for U-verse. Once that job was completed, AT&T commenced the hounding to convert me to a TV customer. I'd looked at the available packages, studied the DVR and mulled over the small savings I would reap by bundling my Internet and TV.

I had done the homework on U-verse; I just hadn't pulled the trigger.

Charter was never my first choice, and I've never been totally happy with the service. Because of the trees that run along the south side of my property, satellite TV -- Dish and Direct -- wasn't an option. Had it been, we wouldn't be covering this ground here.

Charter was my only choice six years ago. My main complaints have been with the DVR; Charter has the worst DVR in the industry. I watch very little TV in real time. I like to record and then watch the recording, skipping over the commercials. When I travel, I have to record everything anyway. With the capacity to only store about 13 hours of HD programming, Charter's DVR wasn't up to the task of recording more than two or three days of shows.

Moreover, it could only receive two signals at a time. I could watch one channel while recording another, or record two channels while watching a movie on my DVD player or an already recorded show. There were times when I wanted to record a third show in the same time period, or watch a Sunday night Steelers game while recording two shows and couldn't.

AT&T's DVR, on the other hand, stores more than 80 hours of HD programming and can record as many as four shows in the same time period.

So, I was a pretty easy mark for the AT&T huckster I spoke with who seemed more interested in selling me on a bundle than she was in getting my DSL up and running.

I went for the bundle, and the installer showed up at my door on noon on Monday to get everything up and running. So far, I am happy.

I called Charter to cancel my service. After attempting to lure me back to Charter, the person on the phone told me that they couldn't send anyone out to disconnect me for two days. Seems to me they could simply flip a switch somewhere. They can certainly do that when a customer doesn't pay his bill.

Because I will be in Arizona with Kia at that time, I wasn't going to be around to hand over my DVR. Turning in Charter's equipment meant driving to its office in Greenville. As it turned out, it's located just off the route I take to my gym every day. Easy-peasy: well, in theory anyway.

I found Charter's office without too much difficulty. Customer service, however, is located in the same building as all other functions. Unmarked, the customer entrance is apparently a close-kept secret. Divining which among the several doors is for customers took a little time and a bit of detective work.

Once found, I made the mistake of graciously holding open the customer entrance for an older lady -- yes, older than I -- who was carrying a signal box that she was returning. She, of course, beat me to the counter. I still wasn't too concerned; how long could it possibly take to return a signal box?

The answer is about 30 minutes when the signal box serial number is assigned to a customer and address other than that of the customer returning it. Tick…tick…tick….

No kidding, it took longer to return my DVR at Charter than it took to replace my Fla. driver's license with one from SC at the Greenville DMV office. And, to accomplish that I had to take an eye test, have my photo taken and wait for the license to be made.

Once I got to the Charter clerk, making the return took about 2 minutes; it's the line waiting, though, that's the killer.

But it's all over now and I'm up and recording…and recording, and recording, and….


  1. Sometimes you just have to let go. It’s not easy you will feel better.

    Start out with some easy things like your socks and briefs. Do that everyday for a week. I know you’ll feel better and you’ll be glad you did. Once you have that under your belt take the next step and change the color. I know it’s a long shot, but you’ll be glad you did.

    Surmount your most modest angst. Charge straight at your inner most turmoil!

    I have HOPE that you can CHANGE.

    Proud to be your friend!

    Took a long time to get to the Hope and Change thing. I just had to find someway work it in.

  2. Lot of work to put in a mindless comment.