Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Dish on Palm Valley Luxury Rentals

by Pa Rock

Yesterday was awful! Some of it was my fault, some of it was the fault of Dish Network, but the preponderance of the blame has to rest with my landlords, Palm Valley Luxury Rentals.

My cable TV had been out for a week, and Cox was supposed to come fix it on Wednesday. On Monday I talked to my apartment manager about the possibility of getting Dish Network. She said that Dish provided more selection and was cheaper than Cox, and then she gave me a coupon off of her bill that would get us both a discount. The only stipulation was that the dish could not be attached to my apartment or placed on the roof.

On Tuesday I called Dish Network and listened in amazement as they heaped discounts and special deals on me. It would take a twenty-four month commitment, but they would move the dish free whenever I moved. After we agreed on a really good deal that was far better than Cox, I mentioned my manager's discount coupon, and they figured that on as well. We agreed on a Saturday afternoon installation between noon and 5 p.m. so that I would not have to take off work.

Later Tuesday I telephoned Cox to cancel the last of the three services that I once had with them. The fellow on the phone pulled the usual Cox crap of trying to bribe me with a special, in this case 25% off of my bill for three months if I would stay with them. I politely refused, and then hung up and took a shower.

Saturday morning (yesterday, the day from Hell) I rushed around early to get things done, including returning my cable box to Cox. At 11:15 a.m. as I was waiting in line at Target to get a prescription filled, I got one of those "the sky is falling" calls from Dish Network reminding me that they had an appointment that afternoon to install my satellite receiver. Yes, I assured them, I knew it and I would be there. We have an installer in your area now, he can be there in fifteen minutes. So I ran from Target, rushed home, and patiently waited. Later I got a call saying that I had not been home so the installer had gone to lunch and would be back in half-an-hour. It was about then that I got some sense of what the day was going to be like.

The installers showed up an hour later, a pair of very nice young men who wiped their feet on the welcome mat and marched through my apartment to the back balcony. Fifteen seconds later they were back inside informing me that my apartment faced the wrong way and there was no way for me to get their signal without putting the satellite dish on the roof. They had already been to the office and knew that they could not use the roof.

What do I do now? I asked. Maybe you should try Cox, was the response.

A few minutes later I went to my apartment office to pay the rent and to discuss the situation. The office was locked, which proved to be a multiplier to my state of dissatisfaction. When the hostess de jour finally returned she had a young couple in tow who were obviously potential tenants. There was also a young man tagging along who rents from Palm Valley and often hangs around the office.

The hostess probably sensed trouble when I cut in on her clients and asked them who they were planning on using for their television provider. She managed to get them parked in some plush chairs and turned her attention to me. I expressed my unhappiness that I had been assigned an apartment that could not receive Dish Network. Hey, the young renter who had joined in our conversation, said, why not put the dish on the roof. That's not allowed, the hostess told him and myself. But I've been on the roof, he pushed on, it's like satellite dish city up there!

Oh? Well, if I can't get Dish Network in my apartment, then I'm moving.

It was at that point that the hostess decided to call the manager. The manager apparently gave her the company line, to which I replied loudly: Okay, I'm moving. It was about then that a decision was made to let Dish place my satellite receiver on the roof.

All rightee, then. I parked my happy butt there in the office, determined to reconnect with the installers and get some television. I talked with a lady at Dish Network who told me that the installers could come back out, but that I would first have to call another office and reapply because my order had been deleted when the installers determined that I could not utilize Dish Network. She started to give me another number to call, when I sweet-talked her into just transferring me instead. She put me on hold. After fifteen minutes of silence, I hung up and tried again.

Eventually I was connected to a nice man in New Jersey who had to set my order up from scratch. His price was only $10 above what I had been quoted last week, and I no longer knew the manager's coupon number which was going to cost me also. But, what the hell. This fellow was going to get me some television!

It took the man in New Jersey another half-an-hour to confirm that the installers could come back to my apartment later that afternoon. He gave me the local dispatcher's name and number in case there were any problems. The man, who was obviously in my age range, ended the call by wistfully reminescing, Hey, Rocky, do you remember when all you had to do was take the new Motorola out of the box and set up the rabbit ears? Those were the days, my friend!

I asked the hostess to type a new permission letter for Dish Network that would allow them to place my satellite dish on the roof. It took almost one hour for her to complete the one-paragraph letter. When the same two installers arrived at 5:30 p.m., they read the letter and said that it needed to be more specific. They left word at the office as to exactly what they would need, and told me that they would see me next week after I scheduled a new time for the installation.

Maybe they will, and maybe they won't. Maybe I have become so used to life without television that I can live quite happily listening to radio. Maybe I will talk to Direct TV and see if their azimuth is more agreeable to my apartment than that of Dish Network. Maybe I will move into the trailer park down the road and let some other lucky individual have my "luxury" rental.

Maybe today will be better.

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