A Cable Story.

A couple of weeks ago we were sitting in the comfort of our main room watching a movie when we heard a knock at the door. At 9 o’clock on a Sunday evening in our badly-numbered building, it could only be a wrong number.

It was not, indeed, a wrong number; it was two sketchy, lanky guys who looked like walking Kenvelo ads. They had HOT tags around their necks. As we are HOT cable internet customers, they wanted to come inside and see the registration number on our modem, (conveniently located next to the wall jack, where the cable internet is plugged in).

At this point I will pause and mention some background. We received a television as a wedding gift and paid the TV tax like an average Israeli citizen would do (right?). There are two ways to get the crappy basic channels: rabbit ears or the wall jack. We tried rabbit ears, which did awfully. Naturally, as someone coming from a normal country, I thought, well, I paid my TV tax and the rabbit ears don’t work; I’m going to use the wall jack that is located inside my own house. And so with a splitter in tow, we hooked up internet and TV into the jack and, voila: a bunch of cable channels found their way onto our wedding present.

Well, I may have come from a normal country, where cable is hooked up on the outside of your home, but I don’t live in a normal country, where it’s right there, in your own living room, ripe for the stealing. So, for about six months we’ve been – unknowingly – stealing cable (TV) by subscribing to cable service (internet). The way it works here is that when they come to install the cable internet, they put up a new jack which could also be used for cable TV.

Conclusion: You’re only supposed to use it for what you paid for (oops).

Back to our HOT friends at the door, who were getting louder in their insistence to come inside and check that we weren’t stealing cable. My husband took care of the immediate situation with his angry Israeli yelling voice, gave them his number to make a real appointment if they were legit and told them to piss off; who comes at 9pm on a weeknight without an appointment? (Israeli cable thugs, that’s who).

We knew, though, that we had transgressed and my innocent naive ideas of what should and shouldn’t be would not suffice, no matter how American or cute I look. He called HOT the next day to complain about the treatment and to clarify what constitutes a cable-stealing situation (leaving no details).

Kenvelo model-wannabe came back the next day, with an appointment, and worked it out with my husband, who played the ‘olim chadashim’ card: back in chul, we don’t do it this way. Actually, the cable guy apologized for the treatment and said if he had known we are Anglos from the beginning, he would have treated us much nicer.

And now, the kicker: He told us he felt bad we hadn’t understood how cable works and perhaps he could settle the issue of a grandiose fine in a more pleasant way. The fine was to pay back the cable we inadvertently stole at a whopping 2500 NIS. Instead, we could choose a second option: Get our names cleared from the record over at HOT and commit to paying for cable for a year tops at an extremely discounted rate, combined with out internet bill. Wouldn’t even charge us for installation.

I don’t have to be on a marketing team to tell you what a genius policy this is. Cut the losses; who cares that we’ve been stealing a couple of silly channels? Get ’em hooked long term. Force feed us cable for a year without hurting our wallets and watch us grow in addiction. Keep us for life. Brilliant. And I didn’t even want a TV in my house in the first place.

So, what do you think we chose? Just don’t tell my mother, she’d hate that I’m paying for ‘trash’.






  1. rsheffer Avatar

    clearly you guys are proper Israelis if you know how to deal with the HOT guys!! good on you .It took me much longer…

Whadya got: