We’ve had an interesting history with televisions since we moved to Chicago. During our five years here we have owned 3 televisions and have dramatically changed our viewing habits. In my opinion, what is even more noteworthy is that 3 televisions in 5 years have cost us a single cab ride. Allow me to elaborate:
Our First Television
Our first television was an ancient hand me down that came from my wife’s grandparents farm house. It was a boxed TV with rabbit ears that came straight out of the 1970s and looked exactly like this one, with the old school knobs and all. It served its purpose and provided us with grainy coverage of television shows. Back then we rented an apartment that included a basic cable package. So we jimmy-rigged the thing to sit at eye level when we watched the tube, which was just about nightly back then. While grateful for the TV provided gratis, we kept our eye out for better options without having to pay for it.
Our Second Television
By this time we had moved apartments and discovered freecycle.org. We had a laundry list of items we looked out for on posts and one day we noticed, a few blocks away from where we lived, was a posting for this boxed TV. Sure it lacked high definition but it got the job done. At this point in time we did not subscribe to any cable or satellite packages and were exclusive to regular viewing channels, watching DVDs from the library and playing Super Nintendo. But tragedy (or as I saw it opportunity) struck when the nationwide Hi-Def upgrade went into effect a few years ago. This TV was unable to keep up and we lost the ability to view any form of broadcast programming. I opted not to buy a converter box in the name of doing things other than watching TV. Since then I’ve had an increase in volunteer time, read a ton of books, made time to hit the gym, and my personal favorite, spent more time talking with my wife after work. So this was the status quo for a while, until this baby landed into our lap.
Our brand new Television
To be honest we weren’t actively looking to upgrade televisions. Our viewing habits are trimmed down now to a DVD rented from the library maybe once a week and the occasional Mario Kart race on our Super Nintendo. But every few years my wife’s employer does an upgrade of office furniture and she was on the receiving end of this bad boy. Getting this home though was quite the endeavor as I have come to realize that there is a severe shortage of sizable cabs in Chicago. It took us one weeknight and one weekend morning to flag down a large enough cab to bring this home from my wife’s office and I ended up using about $20 from our entertainment envelope to pay the fare, but I think we came out ahead on the deal! J
In five years we have owned 3 televisions that cost a cab ride from the Loop to the North Side. And here it sits in our living room as evidence that frugality, patience and a little luck will go a long way.