Russ Batenhorst

Russ Batenhorst

I’d like to think that I use most everything I buy.

I just polished off a half-gallon of milk. Good to the last drop.

Keeping with the breakfast theme, the orange juice container right next to the milk will be the next to go.

It’s not always that way.

Sometimes the milk or juice might “go bad” before I get through with it. Sadly, that’s when some of it goes down the drain.

But I had good intentions.

It’s not like I bought those items, used a little of it and then threw the rest out.

My wife would contend that there are clothes in the closest that I haven’t worn in ages.

But if they have been worn once — then I say they have been “used” for their intended purpose.

Some get more uncomfortable through time or don’t look as good as they did in the store, so it’s just a little waste not to wear them all the time.

Sometimes you have to buy two things to get the one you really want.

Some may recall buying baseball cards packaged with bubble gum.

The gum was awful, just barely consumable.

It was the same shape, and I would contend the same consistency, as the cardboard baseball cards in the same package.

But if you wanted the cards, you had to buy the gum, which usually went straight into the trash can.

However, we all try to use all that we buy.

There are exceptions in subscription services most shell out cash for each year.

I’ve had price haggling conversations with each recently with varying levels of success, but that’s what brought this topic to mind.

I’m thinking of cable TV and satellite radio service.

Some may call me a relic of the past for the fact I still have what would be called traditional cable TV service, but in all my discussions with friends and co-workers who have moved onto streaming services, it sounds like they face the same financial challenges that I do.

I can’t even tell you how many channels of programming we get with our level of cable TV.

But it has to be somewhere in triple digits.

So, how many of them do we use? A lot fewer.

At its base core, we use maybe around a dozen or so.

Sure, we may drop in on a lot of the others now and then, but for long-term watching and special interest, it’s a small percentage, so I guess you could say I’m paying for a lot of stuff I don’t use.

And, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, that amount likes to go up on a regular basis.

Every other price increase or so I’ll call in and try my best “woe is me, how can you charge so much” routine.

To no avail.

So, we’ll research a lower level of service. But somehow, they have me figured out.

The one or two channels that I do like to watch will always be the difference between Level A and Level B. I swear they know which ones to stick on the higher level to keep me around.

It’s a lot like the satellite radio service in our car.

I remember saying once I would never pay for car radio service. But they hooked me with one of those blasted free introductory trials.

Again, the list of “stations” goes up to triple digits, and there are probably about a dozen we listen to with any regularity.

I was driving solo to Omaha the other day and mindlessly went through station-by-station just to see what we had, and I realized again that I’m paying for a lot of stuff I’m not using.

I had a little better time “negotiating” with the radio people. Free radio is still a great option, so leaving wouldn’t be a big deal — they seem to know that.

I long for “a la carte” TV and radio.

Let me pick 20 or so channels I really want to have, and throw me a fair price for them — they can keep the rest.

But I’m not holding my breath.

I’ll just keep paying for channels I don’t use, while hoping to get through that next half-gallon of milk before the expiration date.

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