Two Years Ago:
ME: Hi, I'm moving to New York and need cable.
SLOPTIMUM: Do you currently have satellite?
ME: Why, yes. I do currently have satellite.
SLOPTIMUM: Great! You will pay a special price of $60 a month for cable, internet, and phone.
ME: [Inwardly: HOLY SHIT!] [Outwardly: My, what a generous offer. This must be one of those things that expires after six months though, right?]
SLOPTIMUM: Nope. That's just your price.
ME: It won't go up?
SLOPTIMUM: It won't go up.
Dear Andrew Ladd,Yesterday:
Although your current promotional price, which you never knew you had because we explicitly told you otherwise, is about to expire, we're pleased to automatically place you in a new 12-month "promotion" [N.B. scare quotes may not have been in original] that will almost double your monthly bill. As part of your new "promotion" [N.B. yeah, thinking about it, they definitely weren't in the original], you will continue to receive the same frequently slow internet and unwatchably pixellated/jumpy cable, all for $105 a month, well below our regular rates.
H. P. Fuckenstuff
Director, Marketing and Advertising
ME: Hi. I wanted to speak to someone about my bill.
SLOPTIMUM: Okay. What pre-scripted response can I read you to pretend I'm able to solve your problem?
ME: Well, the thing is, when I first signed up I was told the price of my package was never going to rise. [Inwardly: Heh, package. Heh, rise.] And I understand that prices need to go up a little bit every now and then—inflation and all that. But I guess I don't really understand how you can unilaterally raise my bill by $45 without giving me any new features or better service.
SLOPTIMUM: We're a cable company, sir. That's our business model.
ME: Right, but look. I'm not going to pay $45 extra a month for nothing.
SLOPTIMUM: [This part she actually said:] Oh, but you're not getting nothing, sir.
ME: Oh? What am I getting?
SLOPTIMUM: [Still actually said this, with all the earnestness in the world:] You're getting our new promotional price—you'll be paying $41 less than our regular rates!
ME: ... But I'll be paying $45 more than I've paid for the last two years. For exactly the same thing. How would you like it if you bought the same sandwich for lunch every day, for $5, and then all of a sudden you went in one day and they told you it would be $10 for exactly the same sandwich? [I'm ashamed to admit that, in my blind rage, I did actually say all this stuff about the sandwiches.]
SLOPTIMUM: [After a few more minutes of the same:] Let me transfer you to my supervisor.
Yesterday, plus ten minutes:
ME: [Explains the principal of exchanging money for services, again.]
SLOPTIMUM: I'm sorry, sir, but there's nothing I can do.
ME: Well, if you're going to start charging me $105 a month, can you at least stop my internet being slow and my cable being unwatchably pixellated and jumpy?
SLOPTIMUM: [With audible relief] Yes! That is something my script allows me to help you with! Let me run a test on your line right now.
SLOPTIMUM: I'm happy to report that our tests show no problems on your line.
ME: ...But my internet is slow and my cable unwatchably pixellated and jumpy.
SLOPTIMUM: Is the problem occurring right now?
SLOPTIMUM: Well, I recommend you call back when the problem's actually occurring, so that we can run another test on the line. It's possible there's not enough bandwidth in your area at certain times.
ME: And what can you do about it if there's not enough bandwidth in my area at certain times?
SLOPTIMUM: We'll make an appointment for you to sit at home for ten hours waiting for a technician to spend five minutes telling you that everything looks normal.
ME: Great. I'd like to cancel my cable, please.
SLOPTIMUM: Let me transfer you to our retention department.
Postscript: the retention department didn't open for another twenty minutes, and I had to leave for work/transform into a cockroach. The saga continues.