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They might have to turn off the TV!

Since when is cable television one of life’s necessities? The Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal directs us to this story from the ABC local affiliate in Texas City, Tx. It seems the local cable television company is charging customers an extra dollar is they pay their bill in person in cash.

Time Warner is charging more to folks who can least afford to pay. Geneva Hurst, 82, is upset because she had to pay a dollar extra when she paid her cable bill in person at a Texas City service center. She doesn't have a checking account or credit card and cashes her Social Security check to buy food and pay bills.

Geneva said, "I goes there. I don't have a checking account but I pays it in cash. And I walk in there one day and I paid it in cash and she says when I paid -- 'Oh, you know, we have to charge a dollar extra.' ... It's a sad thing. It's so sad, 'cause poor people, we just barely getting by with what we're already paying."

Of course consumer zealot, Marvin Zindler, is all over this injustice. How dare this big cable company cover the cost of doing business in cash by charging cash customers an extra dollar. That is a whole twelve dollars every year.

You know, if this were the electric bill or the phone bill I might actually have a little sympathy. Those are true necessities. However, this is the bill for cable television. Cable television is a luxury. It is a want not a need. If you cannot afford an extra twelve dollars a year, then perhaps you cannot afford cable television. Since when is ESPN or HBO an essential expenditure?

Do I have cable television? Until two years ago the answer was “no”. When we moved to our current home we had to get cable in order to get high speed internet. The phone company did not offer DSL at our new address. I purchased the smallest package possible. No ESPN. No CNN. No Nickelodeon. Definitely no premium movie channels. If it is not on the broadcast channels, we are probably not watching it. So I know firsthand that life goes on without cable television.

Mr. Zindler, there are so many issues worthy of our concern. An extra dollar on the cable bill is not one of them.


Michelle said…
I have to laugh at this one. We were in NJ this past weekend, cleaning up our house there. We had to kick our previous tenants out for failure to pay. When we got there, the power was off for failure to pay (they owed $800 we later found out). Yet we noticed that the two downstairs bedrooms were wired for cable (they weren't when we lived there). And the email address for the tenant was a cable company address (high-speed). Priorities?

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