Simple Living

When Free Isn’t So Fabulous: Why I Didn’t Want 5 Free TVs

When we bought our house, the previous owners gave us the 5 TVs they’d installed in the home as part of the purchase. 5 free flat-screen televisions?!? Sounds great, right? The more I thought about it though, the more I realized I didn’t want them, even though they were free.

I have my few favorite shows that I record, but other than that, the TV is off most of the time. People have remarked to me before that it’s odd that I don’t have the television on in the background all day while working or doing other things. But to me, television often separates and distracts more than it enriches.

I realized that starting in high school and continuing through summers at home during college, my family rarely ate dinner together at the table- it was usually in front of the TV. Or, I would eat at the table and my parents would watch whatever sports game was on while they ate. It seemed as if the TV was constantly on and a constant distraction, and that bothered me.

I’d read all the articles about the importance of eating together as a family, but my reaction was usually “yeah, yeah, it’s probably important, but it doesn’t seem like that big a deal.” But now as I look back at my teenage years, I would have liked to spend more time at the table talking together and less time watching yet another game.

Technology should bring people together instead of slowly separating us. But that isn’t always what happens.

I don’t believe all technology is evil or that people should throw out their TVs; families definitely can bond over Friday movie nights and video game battles. But at least in my home growing up, TVs, computers, and the like seemed to separate more than they brought us together. It is all too easy to fall into the routine of “turn on the TV and zone out.”

Recently I came home one evening to find that our power was out. Usually my husband and I watch a show together before bed, but instead we turned on our camping lanterns and he taught me how to play bumper pool, and it was a fun alternative. We’ve had his family’s eating table/bumper pool table combination for years and it was the first time we’d played bumper pool together. Sometimes having a power outage disrupt your nightly routine is a good thing!

While it sounds like a good idea, having multiple TVs, even if they are free, sets us up to be more separated from each other. That’s not ideal when time together is limited to begin with. We ended up taking out several TVs to sell; after adding up the cost of cable per TV, it made sense to only use the living room one anyways. So my husband watches HGTV with me and I (try to) watch baseball with him (ok, I sit on the couch while working on the computer and I talk to him during commercials, but I at least try to be in the same space as him 🙂 ).

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7 thoughts on “When Free Isn’t So Fabulous: Why I Didn’t Want 5 Free TVs”

  1. I find myself being distracted by the TV. My husband could fall asleep with the bright glowing screen before we moved in together, this is something I could never get used to. I recently got rid of 2 of our TVs that we almost never turned on. We are down to 2 now. I prefer reading and conversation most of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Growing up without cable and with only one TV in the house was great for the reason you listed (every dinner was around a table, away from a TV). I have two TV’s in my house and I still worry that is too much for just one person!(I am in a constant frugality vs. minimalist battle with myself). I can’t even imagine 5! That is awesome that you were able to sell those spare TV’s (and hopefully make a little money!).

    Liked by 1 person

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