Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dear DirecTV

I have been a loyal subscriber for over fifteen years.  I have slandered all other forms of satellite and cable providers, for one reason, and one reason only: you bring me Phillies games when they cannot.  My family got your service because you were the only way we could watch Phillies games on a regular basis in Maryland after we moved.  We continued our service in measured faithfulness for years of service, but you may have finally screwed the pooch on this one.  This is almost literal.  I would be only perceivably more appalled with you if I caught you in flagrante delecto with a canine.  That's how bad you have screwed up.  In the parlance of the kids these days, this is super serial.  It's so bad you made me repeat iditoic youthitudes.

How serious is my family about watching the Phillies?  Here is what happens on any given game night, with a 7:05PM game time with everyone home.  We finish dinner, and everyone sits in the living room.  The game has already been preselected to change to the correct channel at 7PM, right when the feed begins.  The widely held belief among Phillies fans is that since the death of Harry Kalas, the television announcers have been nothing but pedantic, asinine bores.  The radio feed, however, features ex relief pitcher Larry Anderson, who is the closest thing to Bob Uecker's Major League character I have ever seen.  He constantly threatens umpires on the air, openly mocks the other broadcasters, and once fell asleep through half of an inning.  Therefore, the television is muted, and the radio feed is played over the XM radio or computer to achieve the best overall Phillies viewing experience.  This is coming from a man who refuses to buy brand name things at the store because there is "no real difference".  I drank a sodas called "Dr. Bob" and "Triple Cola" for years.  I am fairly certain Triple Cola was repackaged Deet and the powdered, withered hopes and dreams of the downtrodden.  

Now, here is what you have done wrong.  When we first subscribed, there was a distinct honeymoon period.  Back then, you didn't air every game.  There were blackouts, but we got to see three or four games a week, which was better than only seeing them on nationally televised games three or four times a month.  In the past couple of years, your company really stepped up it's game to combat the internet packages that were becoming available.  I could easily watch both home and away games in HD or standard definition, and there was never a game blacked out.  That is four channels, every night, for every game.  This year, through 25 games, you've already blacked out an entire series, and only one game has been available on four channels.  Worse, it doesn't seem to matter if we are the home, or away team, because you no longer broadcast ANY of the Phillies home broadcasts.  In one fell swoop, you've erased all of the progress you made over ten years. 

I have only called you one time before, and that was an argument that went south quickly.  I saw a commercial where you offered all new subscribers the NFL package for free for an entire season.  I called and inquired, and of course, as an existing user, I was not eligible.  I was also not eligible for any sort of discount whatsoever, and your customer service told me not in so many words that you are only worried about attracting new customers, not making current ones happy.  I bid you a thousand plagues on your bloodline, and we parted ways with the NFL package.

This time, things went worse.  I turned the game on the one and only station it was listed on, only to find a black bar telling me that the game was unavailable.  Fed up, I called your customer service.  I work customer service, and I know how bad of a job it is, but it gets worse when you answer the phone ready to attack the customer.  I tod the lady my problem, and she responded, "That's not our fault."  I asked for clarification, and all I was told was, it "probably has something to do with the station."  I was then thanked rather sarcastically for my patronage, and hung up on.  At that point, I didn't have to worry about calling back and yelling at her.  I had slipped into what doctors call a fury coma, where the white hot intensity of my anger shuts down all bodily function in order to stop my from going Chernobyl.  Soothing whale noises and ukulele music are piped into my brain until things cool down, and I find myself twenty minutes later with no memory of what happened during that time.  I took to the internet and posted the complaint to you Facebook wall.  Instead of an enlightened, calm dialogue that I hoped to start, you simply found it easier to delete my comment. 

 Your problem now is that you have forced yourself to regress while your competitors have gotten better and better.  Your baseball package was convenient when I couldn't stream any other service over the television.  I have a Roku box which will play content.  Your package costs $199.99 for the season.  I am now getting only one feed, and it is not available for every game. costs $129.99.  It gives me the power to choose home or away feeds, and I can chose to use either the tv audio or radio audio, broadcast directly over the tv.  It also gives me DVR capabilities for the game, so I can immediately prove to my father that the pitch WAS out of the strike zone and that I AM RIGHT AND HE IS WRONG.

So, congratulations.  You have given me no choice but to give money to your competitors, because you refused to even discuss my problem.  This could have been avoided, but like any Chuck Lorre sitcom, you'd rather believe I am an idiot that will watch what you give me regardless of the quality.  


  1. Ooosh, harsh. Telling it like it is! No amount of wooing by their commercials could convince me DirectTV is worth the money. Thank you for confirming my suspicion.

    1. Honestly, their other stuff isn't that bad, but they suck if you want to add anything at a reasonable cost.


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