If you have school-aged children, you are familiar with the travesty known as "Standardized Testing," a gift from Bush 43's administration. (We prefer the term "No Child's Left Behind"...which means the spankings all come from the right side.)
In Pennsylvania, parents receive an annual statement regarding our children's performance on these tests: is my student "Advanced"? Or merely "Proficient" or "Basic"? Or--horrors--"Below Basic"?
I vote for scrapping the current system of educational assessment. But I want to preserve that rating scale--and apply it to the products offered by Cable/Internet service providers. Because it's Olympics Time once more, and all I want to do is watch. Something. Anything. But I can't.
Because although we have "cable service" and "internet service," we don't have a TV. And in order to live stream the olympics online, we need to have "Advanced" cable service...not the pitiful, inept, requiring remedial summer school "Below Basic" package we do have.
I attempt to log on via the Olympic website. It bumps me over to my cable provider. Which won't even let me into the website since I don't have the correct password. I manage, after a 10 minute wait, to live chat with a cable company agent. At least I was told it was an agent. It could have been a bot. After some elementary walking me through the websites I had already checked and totally ignoring my questions, the agent tells me I need a "Starter Package" (read: overpriced upgraded cable service). I try to inform the agent that I started 10 yrs ago, I am not starting anything else. For $67 per month I expect a few more channels than a set of rabbit ears and some aluminum foil can get me.
The agent responds by telling me to be sure to complete the customer service survey following our chat and to indicate that my problem was "Resolved." Nice try, Bot.
Yah. Right. I tell the agent that since I can't access cable service I might as well eliminate paying for it. She gives me the phone number for the main office so I can do just that. Last time I talked to the company regarding eliminating my cable service--since I don't use it--they quoted me a higher rate for internet service alone. Hunh??
Yes, this is a company that received national press on MSNBC for being in the Top 10 for WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE. Talk about Bottoms.
So how about another cable service? Well, there isn't one.
Can you say "Monopoly?"
Another ISP? Well, the competitor isn't sure that service is available in my area. Because I live beyond where the cable line ends, a mere 7 miles from Philadelphia city limits. Even though the competitor provides our local phone service. Hunh??
I guess you don't want my business either.
You know, dial-up and my grandfather's vintage roof antenna are looking mighty attractive right now.
PS: Funny, I'm able to live stream the Olympics--for free--off a British website. It feels so good. Like smoking in the girl's room and graffiti-ing the school. And maybe keying the principal's car.