Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm From The Government and I'm Here To Help

You know all those ads they keep running about how we're switching to digital transmission in February? How your analog TV will be toast unless you get a converter box or hook up to cable or a dish? How TV as you know it will be changed forever?

Speaking of change, I've noticed, after watching a few plasma screens, that the shift to digital simply means the actors will look much wider, although extremely colorful.

Meanwhile, in a magnanimous gesture that will ease the pain of making the switch, the same government that brought you the bailout is offering to send you a coupon toward the purchase of a converter box, should you happen to need one.

Sounds easy enough. But, in the back of my mind, I have always known there had to be a catch somewhere. There is.

One of my TV's is hooked to cable. The other one isn't. I used to say it wasn't hooked up because I like to move it around, but it's been sitting in my bedroom long enough to leave TV stains on top of my dresser. However, since I already have ugly coaxial cable poking out of the walls in three other locations, I decided just to opt for rabbit ears in my room.

For some reason, entirely out of character for me, I jumped on the conversion to digital bandwagon last spring, almost a year ahead of time. Since I could be the poster child for procrastination, it is astonishing, in retrospect, that I became one of the first in line to request a coupon for a converter box.

The envelope arrived a mere three weeks later. And it's been sitting here unopened, waiting for me to decide it was time, finally, to go get that box.

The procrastinator in me says it's only November. I've got until February to use the coupon.

I thought.

Big mistake.

Last week, I heard a commercial that ended with an ominous message, "Don't forget, your coupon is only good for 90 days." I literally stopped what I was doing and said, "Are you shitting me?"

Ninety days? Why only ninety days? My coupon is way over ninety days old. Why are they just telling us about this now? For what it's worth, I haven't heard that message since. But I should have known there would be a government gotcha for this.

I'm sure the FCC just assumed that when I got my envelope containing the coupon, I would be so thrilled, I would tear it open and dance around, waving it in the air like a dervish. After experiencing the overwhelming joy, I could sit down to read the fine print and discover the "Oh by the way" part: use it or lose it -- you've got ninety days.

From when? The date it was sent? The date it arrived? The date I decided to open it up?

But, I had no plans to open the envelope until I was ready to use it for my purchase. Which I kept putting off, because that's what I do.

I'm being way too logical here, which never makes sense when the government is involved, but shouldn't the coupon be good until the big day in February? At least?

Of course, once you get your box [with or without a coupon] you have to follow the instructions to hook it up. Haaaaaaa. On reflection I think this has all been a conspiracy to get people so stressed out that they kill someone, thereby improving the economy by lowering the number of hedge fund managers and, in the end, making the world a better place.


cw2smom said...

As if we don't have enough crap hooked up to our TVs to manage, huh! Argggghhh! And...seeing I lost 25k in the stock market crash...I could see myself doing in one of those guys! :)

Remo said...

Couldn't you just sell some of your shares of Nutella Corp. and buy a new TV?

Digital HD television - Bigger. Brighter. Same stupid shows.

Judith HeartSong said...

So what the government did was... knowing that the auto makers were going to crash and burn.... decided to buy lots of stock in the big three tv makers... and now, when all of our tvs don't work anymore and get thrown in a landfill, they will make a gazillion dollars off their stock purchase, just in time to bail out another top three banks. It is a conspiracy for sure.