Waiting room TV etiquette

I went down to a local tire emporium this afternoon to get the car inspected and price RunFlat tires for the Mini. I think I’ve got a slow leak in one of these tires, and if they ever were under warranty I’m pretty sure it’s expired. Anyway, I was told I could pay $250 for a new tire and there was no repair of these things available. Replace it or die on it, I guess. I concluded I didn’t need a new tire just yet and asked them to inspect the car and get me the sticker.

While I was waiting for that to get done I sat down in their waiting room. They had two televisions on the same wall (!). The smaller was in the corner and tuned to ESPN. The larger (50″ or so, I imagine) was tuned to Fox News, and that’s the one that had the audio turned up. I sat there and gnashed my teeth for a while, but when the top of the hour arrived and it switched to “The O’Reilly Factor” with a teaser about “breaking news about the Benghazi raid! Could this cause President Obama’s re-election bid to fail?” I had to leave the room.

Tip to dealerships/auto repair shops/doctors’ offices and anyplace else that has a waiting room: tune your TV to a neutral channel which specializes in sports or science or travel or food; any “news’ channel is liable to tick off half your customers.


  1. I was waiting to give blood once and the TV in the waiting room was tuned to FOX, which the guard was watching enthusiastically. When I went in for my pre-donation check-up my blood pressure was a little high.

  2. I’d bet you could make the case that ESPN should really be on the big set pretty easily. But then you’d still be stuck with Fox on the little set so…

    There are random hacker sites that used to tell you how to craft a device that would allow you to make a remote with which you could switch channels on public sets like that – but of course that’s not legal (though I’m not certain on that). Still you can understand WHY such a device would be of interest!

  3. When I was in the VW dealer for some work on my Passat wagon last week, the tv in the customer area was tuned to Fox. So I asked the girl at the desk if she could change it for me. She replied that the remote was next to one of the chairs and I was free to change channels anytime. So I turned to ESPN (I think) and, in a few minutes, the Cards/Giants game came on. Everyone in the show room came over to watch. I’ve asked other places to change from Fox and they usually do. If you don’t ask, the answer is always “No”.

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