Exxing out Exxon, thinking about XM


We fired Exxon last week. And the story gives a perfect illustration of why satellite audio services XM and Sirius should not be allowed to merge into a monopoly.

Here’s the reason we gave the money-grubbing morons at Exxon their walking papers: After at least 17 years using their credit card and buying their gas for two automobiles, we paid a bill one day late. One day. The same imbeciles who paid that Jabba-the-Hut CEO guy hundreds of millions of dollars just to retire apparently couldn’t survive for a whole day without our 100-dollar plus check. So not only did they hit us with a 29 dollar late fee, they also tacked on about 2.50 more to finance this momentous transaction.

So that’s how they treat loyal long-term customers. We’re not taking that kind of crap. We immediately tore up our cards, called them up and fired them. They have our extra 32.50, but they can now try to get along without our one-hundred-plus dollar monthly check in perpetuity. We can take this action, too, because even though there do not seem to be as many companies selling gasoline now as when I was a kid (consolidation is everywhere), there are still plenty of options.

So here’s our question. If we subscribe to XM, or Sirius, and we decide we want to leave for whatever reason, but they’ve been allowed to merge, what’s our recourse?

The answer is there is no recourse. There is no other way to get 100+ channels of professionally programmed material, available in our car no matter where we drive. Neither AM-FM radio, nor a laptop computer, nor an iPod, nor anything else we can think of can even come close to filling that role if we decide to fire the merged entity.

The only thing regulatory agencies should be demanding is that XM and Sirius make interoperable receivers available the way they were supposed to in the first place, and perhaps put some limits on the term of subscriptions so consumers have meaningful ability to move from one to the other.

But merge? That should be completely out of the question.