Pet Peeves

Comcast’s Quick Switch

I had noticed something missing lately from Tivo’s offerings: classic game shows, like those typically found on GSN (which used to be Game Show Network and now goes only by initials).

For the past week or so, apparently, GSN has been MIA. I called Comcast to ask WTF, though not in those specific terms, and PDQ after pressing the button indicating a “problem” with my service, a recording came on telling me that as of November 16, GSN had been moved to the digital tier at channel 179.

To continue receiving it, the recording explained, I would have to upgrade my service. (Translation: I shell out more money and they’ll give me the channel I’ve been getting for less out of the goodness of their hearts.)

After finally getting to an operator which required me to enter my phone number and select “1” for English — it actually makes you press the button! – I was quoted a price of $14.95 for the upgrade. I’d get more than 100 channels, the operator assured me.

“I don’t want 100 channels,” I replied. “I just want that one single channel that you shouldn’t have moved without letting someone know.”

She then explained that Comcast had run crawls across the bottom of the screen on GSN. I never saw a single one; if I had, this call wouldn’t be happening.

I then pointed out the most obvious SNAFU in their brilliant notification efforts: when you turn to channel 54, GSN’s former home on Comcast’s lineup, you now get a blank screen, a dead channel. “What should be there,” I said, “is a message explaining the situation, rather than a dead channel that leads one to think that GSN itself must be having satellite problems.”

“Well, that’s a marketing issue,” she said. The marketer in me felt his blood beginning to boil.

“No, it’s a customer service issue.” Don’t pass the buck, folks. Don’t blame some other department that isn’t even in the office to defend itself. It’s not about marketing: it’s about the simple courtesy of notification that goes far enough to make sure that customers actually are notified. It’s not rocket science; it’s just, pardon the expression, “basic cable.”

Since I feel, at the moment, that I pay Comcast quite enough as it is, I’ll do without my classic game shows. GSN has slowly been drifting away from a lot of the classic shows that put it on the digital map, anyway, in favor of “interactive” crap and lots of poker. I’d actually rather watch golf on television than a damn poker game. (And I despise watching golf on television, if that tells you anything.)

So I guess this is a goodbye of sorts to classics like What’s My Line? and Match Game. Those are actually the only two shows I can think of at the moment that I will truly miss. Thank goodness I was able to capture a lot of them on tape before Comcast decided to make their move without bothering to tell anyone.

It was nice while it lasted.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.