Today was a beautiful day here on LI and I took advantage by washing both of the cars. The wife had to go into the city around noon and I was done with both cars around 2pm. I had just walked into the house and was about sit down at the computer and check my email, blogs, etc. when the doorbell rang.
It was a 20-something year old kid decked out in Verizon gear. I happen to live in one of the few towns that's been wired up for Verizon's new FIOS set-up. I've been following the battle between Verizon and Cablevision and the legal fight my town fought to break Cablevision's monopoly. So it was not unexpected to see this kid at my door this afternoon. I had just thrown out their latest flier earlier in the week.
"Good afternoon, sir. It's a beautiful day, what are you doing inside? Shouldn't you be playing golf or..."
"I just washed two cars."
"...Well, yeah, they look great."
Sometimes when customer service people are overly familiar, I tend to respond by being overly surly. I appreciate good friendly customer service but I bristle when the relationship bleeds into buddy-buddy without my consent. I also don't like to have my balls broken. Or I may just not have been properly socialized. I don't know.
So I listen to the kid's spiel. As far as the services go, this is what they have in their favor over Cable:
- The kid claims the internet connection is faster. I'll have to do some additional research on that to be sure.
- Considerably more channels including movie channels I don't have now and twice as many HD channels than I have now.
- The OnDemand stuff appears to be fully included in the monthly fee.
- Overall I would get a little more for almost the exact same amount I'm paying now for all three services (tv, internet, phone).
The biggest thing they have going against them is just the sheer inertia of my own lack of motivation to make the big switch. I'm pretty satisfied with my service now, I don't really feel I'm missing out on much by not having HBO. (I know The Sopranos starts up again tomorrow, but I've bailed on the last couple of seasons, and to reinforce my point: everything is eventually available on DVD.) Also, the DVR from Cablevision holds 24 hours of HD programming, the Verizon on is only 21. A negligible difference I suppose.
So the kid was sent out to actually sign people up for installation dates not just distribute literature. It was a commitment I wasn't entirely prepared to make. But since I wanted to keep the home phone number he said that they would have to call me to set up the installation anyway. It was explained that Verizon would have to "buy back" my number from Cable. But I let him take down my information explaining I still might decide against the whole thing.
Throughout our conversation I could detect a southern accent on the kid and eventually he brought it up. He was self-conscious because he had to doubl-check his clipboard to spell the name of my town.
"Could you tell I'm not from around here?"
"Guess where I'm from."
"I don't know...Georgia?"
He smiled a smile that seemed to take some satisfaction in my Yankee ignorance.
"I'm from Texas. They sent me up here to help roll out this program."
"I heard it's really expensive around here. I mean these houses are like half a million dollars."
"Yeah, around there."
"Wow, I bought my house for $125K and it's four times the size of this."
"Yeah, it's expensive on Long Island."
"I'm an hour from the City."
Then we spoke a little about NYC--he'd only made it in once in his time here so far. It's impossible to defend the fact that my house would probably cost 1/5 of what we paid in other parts of the county. I appreciate the fact that parts of this country are affordable and booming and great, but I wasn't entirely prepared nor inclined to explain to this kid my entire familial and financial existence.
So we were wrapping it up and something in my head told me to take another look at his laminated channel guide. I suddenly had a feeling like I missed something the first time I looked at it. I checked the sports stations again and realized that the new Mets channel and the other local cable sports channels weren't on it. I mentioned it to the kid and he said they were being added "next month." He didn't sound too confident. I told him that could be a dealbreaker but I guess I'll try to pin them down when they call me next week to schedule an installation. But I won't be pulling the trigger until I know that I will get this summer's Mets games in HD. A man's got to stand for something.