Some competitions, like tic-tac-toe, hopscotch, and tequila shooter races, strangely often have no clear victor. Oh, sure, you might get lucky and dupe your 5 year-old into misplaying an O so you can line through your three X’s, but I think we all can agree that the Cat gets just about every game with competent players. Of course, that makes me wonder where the “cat”, winner of all ties, came from anyway, since otherwise cats are largely as dependable as a guy nicknamed “Munchie” who lives in Mom’s basement with an Xbox and a jumbo bag of cheetos.
But I digress.
Anyway, some games just don’t have winners. And it doesn’t stop with childhood. In fact, it just gets worse as an adult.
As an example, I offer you this news: Time Warner is acquiring Insight Communications. No one wins in this deal. Insight’s certainly customer’s don’t win, and Time Warner’s customers aren’t going to be jumping up and down either. The way I hear it, they already apparently suffer through some of the world’s worst customer support and, on top of that, can’t even get the important channels (yes, the NFL Network is important). After the merger, they’ll have even more people fighting for that magical service truck to arrive sometime between 8 am and Armageddon:30.
So, see, the customers lose and the companies lose, too, because…um…they…uh…
Huh, look at that, this really isn’t one of those “no one” wins things after all. Time Warner wins (hello new customers!), and Insight wins (hello cash!), but the customers, well, they get the shaft.
The fact is that when it comes to utilities, most of us are pretty much bent. Modern life is full of stuff to make our lives easier and less dysentery-ridden: (mostly) clean running water, heat, power, internet access, etc.
What? I’m sure being online prevents the spread of communicable disease, um, somehow.
Regardless, every time I get my electricity bill, I feel like I’m shown into some dark, dingy, dank room where an large guy with his hat over his eyes and his feet on his desk wants to talk about my monthly “contribution" for his services. That’s when he tells me that I’ll keep paying whatever he tells me to pay unless I want my kids to find out what it’s like to have White Christmas inside the house this winter.
And because we have a kind-of-sort-of free market economy which, you know, spurs competition and all, I have exactly 1, count them, 1 power provider to choose from.
So, my options are pay Duke Biggie what he says or go cold and dark. I guess I’ll pay.
Truth be told, I shouldn’t say there are no options. When it comes to having your TV delivered into your fancy HDTV flat panel LCD, there usually is a cable vs satellite option to be made. And increasingly, people are telling the phone company to go bend over since wireless phones made land-based communication obsolete five years ago.
Admittedly, I did feel pretty darned smug when I ordered DirecTV nearly a decade ago and kicked Insight out of my house. After years of them telling me I had to have their technician waste my entire Saturday in order to “verify” my cable outlet was working, you know, by connecting the box and turning it on just the same as I would have (for free), I swore that Insight would never send a signal into any home of mine again.
I always feared that somehow they’d outlast my self-righteous anger, that an orbital catastrophe would cause all the satellites to fall from the sky, or worse, eventually Insight would be the only company offering Uber-Life-O-Vision and real-time online holographic immersion, which would require me to eat a whole plate full of crow when I picked up the phone to call for re-installation.
The assumption, of course, being that it would be every bit as shameful as being put back into “The Matrix”.
But, no. As of Monday, Time Warner will be acquiring Insight Communications. Puddin, 1, Insight 0.
Looks like I managed to win one, after all.