For some reason I always assumed that cable TV’s crappy pricing practices (like making consumers pay for three home shopping networks in order to get the Discovery Channel) and poor customer service habits (like making subscribers take a half-day off work for the installation) were unique to the U.S.
But as of this week I now realize that this is actually a world-wide phenomenon. A “universal truth”, if you will.
Previously my biggest beef with our cable system (aside from the comparatively small number of channels available) was its propensity for going “out of service” during inclement weather, like when it rains. (I only WISH I was exaggerating.)
But even that is better than the “TV situation” when I arrived here. I survived my first year in Sweden with just 13 analogue channels, a miracle considering I’d had over a hundred when I left the U.S. Once I started working I had some leverage to harass Dr. Darling into springing for digital cable, and we chose our package based on one channel and one channel only: BBC Prime.
Why is BBC Prime so important you ask? For two reasons and two reasons only: Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. So naturally, we were thrilled when their latest series turned up on the BBC Prime schedule…and we had the VCR locked and loaded on Sunday night all ready to record the first episode.
And guess which (and only) channel of the 30 or so we get was producing a completely dark screen Sunday evening? You got it…BBC Friggin’ Prime.
And it’s still “offline” today. Proof positive that cable TV is a racket no matter where in the world you’re *trying* to watch it.