FiOS rids house of annoying shopping channels

By Anthony Buccino

No. I told her I had nothing to do with missing shopping channels. In spite of my record years ago of deleting them and her never knowing we got home shopping channels, I'm actually innocent this time.

She blames me. I blame the dog. The dog blames the baby squirrel running around the basement rafters in the middle of the night.

Well, it had to be one of us who deleted all the home shopping channels, and only the home shopping channels, from the hundreds and hundreds we get on our fiber optics TV.

My wife figured I came down in the middle of the night, grabbed the remote, quietly turned on the TV and surreptitiously deleted half her TV shopping channels. That would include two of the four channels in 130s and the four in the 540s.

As if I even knew where we have all these channels, twice, and I'd actually be able to find and delete them and crawl off to sleep unnoticed. Who am I, Maxwell Smart or James Bond?

No. I told her I had nothing to do with missing shopping channels. In spite of my record years ago of deleting them and her never knowing we got home shopping channels, I'm actually innocent this time.

Zamboni, our chocolate Labrador RetrieverIt must have been Zamboni, our 99-pound chocolate Labrador retriever. I told her I had seen him racing around the living room one evening while she was at yoga. He was changing channels as he ran with the remote clenched in his pearly whites and drool spraying from his mouth.

Zamboni denied blame. After all, his paws are too clumsy and he could never see what was in his mouth, let alone delete the home shopping channels from the Favorites menu without knowing how they taste first.

He raised his paws in innocence and boomed his deep big-dog bark that the mousy-looking baby squirrel racing through the eaves at 2 a.m. had to be the culprit.

Zamboni swears he saw tucked under the squirrel's arm a needle-nose pliers and a copy of the RED WIRE-BLUE WIRE manual. That was just before the home shopping channels disappeared.

She wasn't buying any of it, not my excuse or the dog's slobber story, or even the squirrel tale. She insisted I return the channels to memory. I hauled out my reading glasses and trudged through the settings.

The next day, the channels were gone again. She called and spoke with a recording and apparently fixed the problem.

The next morning, the home shopping channels were gone again. Well, half were gone, and half remained. It was as if the channels were taking turns hiding from us.

She called and spoke with a person who said he had never heard of this problem where only two or four channels disappear. She unplugged the set top box, they rebooted, and said to put the channels back and all will be fine.

She had to admit that she was getting good at which plugs to unplug and how to scroll through the menu to the Favorite settings and holding down the button to 130 and tap enter for the heart and continue. But her excitement didn't seem to hold when the channels disappeared again.

Cablevision or FiOS remotesThe next morning the channels were still there. She sighed in relief. By the afternoon the TV home shopping channels were gone again. Actually, only two of the four were gone, but they were a different two shopping channels than the day before.

When she spoke with the phone reps, they had the history of the calls and our problem, and said they would have a tech call us before the shift end.

No one called.

The next morning the channels were gone. She programmed them in herself, just from watching me. She was getting faster at it, but it wasn't a lot of fun.

That afternoon the phone rang. It wasn't a techie calling us to follow up as they said one would. It was a sweet-voiced woman who commiserated with my wife that I may have tried to rid our TV of the shopping channels. But finally, the woman fessed that it was their problem that the TV home shopping channels were disappearing and that it wasn't just us having the problem.

The woman on the phone said we'd get a message on our TV telling us when the problem was fixed. We're haven't seen the message yet.

However, I did find some crushed walnut shells next to a cassette recorder with a melted tape in the reels.

First published on NJ.Com on July 16, 2008.

  2008 by Anthony Buccino

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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.

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