I feel empathy for the cable guy…

2009_01_16I feel empathy for cable and satellite installation guys because, I complain to them about my previous lack of cable or worse, my previous insufficient cable provider.  I project my angst onto him (possibly her, but I haven’t experienced that yet), and I ultimately communicate, if you don’t provide what you promised and I’m not in control as a consumer—watch out for my verbal wrath!


I take a step back from these irrational feelings and laugh at myself.  I laugh at myself to ease the power of remorse and guilt I feel for acting in this way, but I rest somewhat assured in that, when asked, the cable guy always admits that he, “gets the impression that a lot of people are dissatisfied with XYZ cable provider.”  I feel relief when he says that other people in this world have been wronged by cable providers; it reaffirms that this provider will fix the wrongs of other cable providers for me as he has done for a lot of other people.  But this is the job of the cable installation professional, to placate our emotions and install our cable as quickly as possible.


It is apparent to me that the cable companies and installation service professionals strive to maintain a distance from one another.  To the consumer, it seems like the two are trying to remove accountability from promises made by one or the other that neither have control over delivering.  To the cable installation guy, who doesn’t depend on sales quotas, speed and efficiency are paramount.  Get in, install cable, get signature, get out—the less counseling provided to the consumer, the better and the faster the job gets done.  Conversely, the sales professionals have the goal of closing more and more customers, and insomuch are given incentives to listen to in-market consumer angst and make promises of the services as desirable as possible.  The professional distance between both the installation guy and the sales person reinforces each reward set.


But I don’t have as much empathy for the sales professional as I do for the installation professional.  The professional I personally interact with, is the installation guy.  I stay home from work for four hours at a time to meet him, I let him into my home to drill holes in my walls, and he shows me how to use a fancy remote control.  I make a cable commitment to the sales person over the phone, but I sign the agreement with the installation guy in my living room.  I connect with the installation guy because he delivers the service promised to me, and he listens and he responds to my preferences and comments within his professional abilities.


I don’t need cable or satellite to be happy in life.  In fact, I find it quite satisfying to live a life without either service; I especially like having no monthly bill to pay too.  I have no TV shows that I “can’t miss” and I can’t stand commercials or shows that feel like commercials.  But without cable or satellite, I’d never get to meet the installation guy.  And if I’d never get to meet the installation guy, who do I have left to complain about how high my cable bill is each month and that I really don’t like TV very much at all?


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