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Story was read sometime in the 1990's, but could have been written any time before that. I hope someone knows the title and/or author!

In-home TVs are always on. Loner protagonist gets fed up and goes to (governmental? corporate?) office to ask for it to be turned off because it annoys him. Guy behind the desk basically tells him it's for the greater good; lots of research shows everyone likes it except for a very small minority. Guy also tells him that people in that minority tend to eat a certain sort of cereal, probably haven't had sex in a long time, other predictive behaviors. Loner immediately decides to switch cereal brands when he goes home, has an unsuccessful encounter with a woman he picks up (in the apartment building's laundry room?).

I'm fairly sure Loner had at least two meetings with Official Guy but I can't remember how it ends.

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Were you the one who asked about this in 2007?… – FuzzyBoots Mar 21 at 18:24
shrug Lets us know whether to post to that thread once we find an answer, and whether there are answered he's already drilled out. – FuzzyBoots Mar 21 at 21:45
@FuzzyBoots That address won't resolve for me... – Michael Mar 22 at 2:40
Why so snarky, guys? The question is ok as stands. – smci Mar 22 at 2:40
The askville link won't load for me, but I think I was a respondent (also hoping to find out) to someone else who asked about the same story. I lost track of that thread and never could find it again so I don't know if it got answered there. :( – Spaceweft Mar 23 at 15:06
up vote 15 down vote accepted

This is "But We Try Not to Act Like It" by Orson Scott Card

There was no line. Hiram Cloward commented on it to the pointy-faced man behind the counter. "There's no line."
"This is the complaint department. We pride ourselves on having few complaints." The pointy-faced man had a prim little smile that irritated Hiram. "What's the matter with your television?"
"It shows nothing but soaps, that's what's the matter. And asinine gothics." "Well-- that's programming, sir, not mechanical at all." "It's mechanical. I can't turn the damn set off."

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So it belongs to the subgenre "in the future, TV sets can't be turned off". If the story matches the distinctive points in the description (i.e. the stuff about "predictive behaviors") please include that in your answer. – user14111 Mar 21 at 22:12
@user14111 - It's the right story and I've included a link and a snippet. Addressing each point is overkill. – Valorum Mar 21 at 22:19
YES! Thank you so much!! Rice Krispies vs Quaker Oats, minorities "as small as ten thousand people", the sad attempt to hook up with a lady in the apartment building... it's all there! – Spaceweft Mar 23 at 14:57

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