Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


October 22, 2012

Tidbits: Breaking up is hard to do

CROSSVILLE — We've all had those relationships that just didn't work out. It wasn't you. It wasn't me. It just wasn't working. So the pair parts ways and moves on with their lives.

Only one doesn't.

They call incessantly. They send letters begging you to come back and give them another shot. They invade your cyberspace, sending email after email about how they've changed and they'll do better this time, if only the two of you could work it out.

I am, of course, talking about television service providers, but I suppose the same could be said of just about any consumer product, from credit cards to cell phones to gym memberships and beyond.

About a year ago, I broke up with my provider after growing wearing of wading through 250 channels and nothing being on and seeing the monthly bill creep a little higher every month.

I admit, I looked around before the break-up. I wanted to see what else might be on the market. I researched possibilities and found something that would meet my entertainment needs as well as my budget constraints. But the hard part remained.

I had to dump my television provider.

Before, this had always been easy. "It's not you," I'd tell the nice person on the phone. "I'm moving, so this relationship really won't work any longer."

Not this time. This time I was going to be brutally honest. I wasn't moving. I was staying right where I was. They were the one that was going to be hitting the road, taking the bulky cable box when they went.

"Hello, I'd like to cancel my service," I said when the customer service person came on the line.

Then they start offering all kinds of incentives to get you to stay. They'll give you a reduced rate for a few months, or how about free movie channels for a few months? I've never repeated myself so many times. But you have to remain firm in your resolve. They can sense wavering.

After about five minutes, the representative realized I wasn't budging, so I was transferred to the customer retention folks. These guys are good at what they do. They're smooth. They'll offer you the sun and the moon and the stars, if only you'll keep your service.

Stay strong. Keep saying, "I'm sorry, but I've made my decision. I want to cancel my service."

For me, it actually gets easier at this point. After being a loyal customer for several years, I was being taken for granted. And the special rates and incentives being offered just made me see that they only valued my business once it wasn't a sure thing. My opinion has always been the customer you have is more important than the customer you might have, and care should be taken to continue to make those customers feel valued and respected.

Finally, after about 20 minutes, it was all said and done. An end date for service was established and I was directed how to go about returning the equipment in my possession, since it was leased, not purchased.

I breathed a big sigh of relief. The stress was finally over.

Then, two days later, the calls began. I was called every day for about two weeks. I would repeat myself, confirm I did not wish to reconsider and then politely say good-bye and hang up.

Towards the end, my manners started to slip. I hate to take it out on the person whose job it is to call customers and offer even greater incentives and basically bug the customer to death until it almost seems like a good idea to go back, if only to make the incessant calls stop. But I would not be moved.

"Please remove me from your calling list," I finally told the gal on the phone after the umpteenth call. "I do not wish to be contacted further regarding service with this company."

She agreed, but added I might get one or two more calls until the system updated that I was a "do not call" number.

Things settled down for a little while. Then the letters came. And the emails. I probably get two emails a week even now, a year later. The subject lines usually offer a new promotion, or talk about how important I am to the company. They say things like, "Let's get back together," and "We won't rest until you're satisfied."

I joked the other day that this company was stalking me. But I remain firm in my resolve, and I have this advice to offer this company and others out there — don't wait until a customer is ready to dump you before you try making them happy. Keep them happy and you won't have to bother with all the drama after they walk away.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesday's. She may be reached at

Text Only
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice