Legend Of Comcast Office-Smashing Grandma Spreads

The old lady who busted up a Comcast office with her hammer after getting sick of their delays, that we told you about two weeks ago, got her story written up in a new and even more exciting fashion by the Washington Post. The piece includes this photo of Mona Shaw posing with her trusty tool of consumer vengeance.

WP got more choice quotes from Mrs. Shaw:

“They cuffed me right then…”

Of Comcast: “What a bunch of sub-moronic imbeciles.”

“I scared the tar out of some people, at least…It had never occurred to me to take a hammer to a phone company before, but I was just so upset. . . . After I hit the keyboard, I turned to this blonde who had been there the previous Friday, the one who told me to wait for the manager, and I said, ‘ Now do I have your attention?’ “

“My blood pressure went up around my ears. I started hyperventilating. They had to call the rescue squad and put me on a litter.”

A new American folk hero is born.

Taking a Whack Against Comcast [Washington Post] (Thanks to Tracey!)

Comments

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  1. ArtDonovansLoveChild. says:

    Woman assualts office equipment, terrorizes employees who had NOTHING to do with her complaint and shes a fucking hero now? This deserves a bad consumer tag. You do realize that all she did was add cost to the company and make the employees LESS likely to help people in the future?

  2. Parting says:

    ”I scared the tar out of some people, at least…”

    Well with such attitude, she deserves everything that will come to her.

    It doesn’t matter what problems she had with the installation. She had no right to act as a wacko and terrorize people.

  3. faust1200 says:

    I would agree with both of you except for the fact we’re talking about Comcast. Obviously you have never had a Comcastic experience. I personally once waited home for *3* days for an installer who never showed missing work , etc. So fuck’em.

  4. jesdynf says:

    Read the article, boys — her oh-so-notorious rampage was on her second visit. Destroying things with a hammer appears to be what it takes to escalate things at that office of Comcast. She didn’t make the rules, she just lives by ‘em.

    As for cost to the company, she paid restitution; as for “less likely to help people”, as a general rule, a consequence of having to file charges against a little old lady means a united public front — “oh, no, it’s a *horrible* thing and we acted right in every way” — and a private reaming of epic proportions. This is a humiliation up and down the line, there’s no mistake.

    The sentence was entirely appropriate — and she finally got her phone service.

  5. Parting says:

    @jesdynf: Tell that to the employees at the scene. Oh! Wait, they are HUMANS too!

    A e-mail carpet bomb, media, picket in front of the office. So many civilized solutions…

  6. Protector says:

    I hate Comcast as much as the next guy, but this lady was way out of line to act that way.

  7. Jean Naimard says:

    Can’t believe that the first post was from a company-shill hardass.

  8. bombaxstar says:

    This is rediculous. Why are people praising her? Her actions were inappropriate and out of line.

  9. bombaxstar says:

    @bombaxstar: And by “rediculous”, I meant “ridiculous”.

  10. Paul D says:

    She’s being made into a hero because the public has already decided whose side they’re on…and it ain’t Comcast’s.

    When my wife finishes law school and we get ready to (possibly) move to another area for her job, we will seriously consider avoiding locations that are served by Comcast.

    Yes. They are that bad.

  11. Sherryness says:

    Nothing infuriates me more than people who steal TIME from me. And this woman is running short on time. I generally don’t approve of this kind of behavior, but it’s nice to see someone react in a way that reflects how they truly feel, as long as it doesn’t physically harm someone. So some “innocent” employees were “scared?” I’ve met quite a few Comcast employees in my life, and ever last one of them was nasty at worst, quietly surly at best. Fuck ‘em. I’m glad she *acted* – because they don’t seem to respond to actual words.

  12. Sherryness says:

    By the way, I saw a commercial on television tonight, and she is going to be on Good Morning America. I think it’s on Friday.

  13. nXt says:

    She hits the keyboard with the hammer? Sweet, if I worked there I had justification for taking another keyboard and smacking it on the side of her face. Self-Defense.

  14. Bunnymuffin says:

    I just saw a commercial for good Morning America and Hammer Lady is going to be on there (no mention of the hammer.) tomorrow morning.

  15. nXt says:

    oh god, take her ugly ass picture off the article, I can’t stand it. Die already.

  16. backspinner says:

    Methinks Consumerist has finally jumped the shark. (farewell to all if I am banned for my opinion!)

  17. ArtDonovansLoveChild. says:

    @Jean Naimard: Yeah, cause I think that unprovoked violence is bad makes me a shill. Im just a deadspin refuge who finds this site interesting, but is often sickened by the “screw the big company” attitude I see so often. There is a reason customer service sucks, and part of it is bad customers. (and yes, Ive dealt with comcast for the better part of my life)

  18. Manok says:

    Should have used a moltov cocktail instead.

  19. avantartist says:

    i’d just like to know if she’s ‘for hire’… i’ve got a few places i wouldn’t mind that happening to but being that i’m a 30 something male i i’d be a hero.

  20. AT203 says:

    Dear comcast, why is it that EVERYONE immediately sides with this woman? It is because your company sucks THAT BAD!

    Drop Beth Bacha (quoted in the article) a line, and let her know what you really think was “inappropriate” in this situation. Personally, I find making a 75 year-old woman wait for two hours OUTSIDE IN THE AUGUST heat “inappropriate.”

    Google Cache, Comcast Contact Info

  21. alhypo says:

    That’s hilarious. I’m not terribly concerned about her since she obviously had no intention of hurting anyone. That being said, she could have hurt someone incidentally, so I can’t really condone such an action. Still, I am going to fully enjoy it vicariously since it all turned out well.

  22. ascara says:

    @Jean Naimard: Every time someone thinks that breaking things is not the solution they’re a “company shill” or “a private property hardass” in your book. I personally do not much care for Comcast, but that does not mean I think this woman’s actions are something admirable. In fact, I suspect all this is going to lead to is more people doing more irresponsible things in the name of “making a statement”.

  23. mconfoy says:

    reminds me of that cool Jack in the Box commercial they pulled where the old lady is asked whether or not they should get rid of the clown in the drive thru and she responds “waste him.” They then blow up the clown. Would love to see that one posted here.

    You people take life so serious with your inappropriate response, etc. No kidding it was. That does not mean we can’t enjoy the moment and have a good laugh about it. Lighten up, please.

  24. camille_javal says:

    @mconfoy: You people take life so serious with your inappropriate response, etc. No kidding it was. That does not mean we can’t enjoy the moment and have a good laugh about it. Lighten up, please.

    That seems to be the point a lot of people are missing with the pleasure taken in this. No, this was not an appropriate response, and people shouldn’t do this, because it’s just not how you’re supposed to act, *and* someone could get hurt. But, now that it’s settled, and no one is hurt, and Comcast got restitution for their office damage – c’mon, what’s done is done, and everyone who’s had to deal with Comcast’s bullshit has a right to a glimmer of vicarious revenge.

  25. mavrc says:

    @Sherryness: My sentiments exactly.

    As someone inside a similar corporate machine, it is somewhat unnerving to see people taking out their frustrations with pointless vigilantism, but I can’t see how the insanity inside corporate culture hasn’t bred this sort of response like rabbits – especially having had to deal with my own company as a customer.

    The fact that pointless vigilantism doesn’t run rampant either means that we as a people are endlessly compassionate, or so overwhelmingly downtrodden that we don’t care anymore.

  26. @jesdynf: Cool! So when they continue to screw up my biling – like Cingular did for six months, after several calls per month and two in-person visits – I can just shotgun up the offices?

    I hate to sound shrill, but blunt force trauma isn’t the answer to corporate moronism. This old lady is off her rocker.

  27. @Paul D: She’s being made into a hero because the public has already decided whose side they’re on…and it ain’t Comcast’s.

    Nice to see that the celbrity culture has made this lady’s nutty actions into a literal cause celebre.

    There’s something wrong with our country, folks – and it has a lot to do with a media culture that hold people like this old nutter up as an example of “fighting back”, when in fact she’s only gaining shock value and sympathy for the corporation that made “a few mistakes among milions of customers”.

    Any of you ever see Faling Down? An example of an empowered working man, or an insane asshole? Careful how you answer.

  28. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Maybe DirecTV will try and hire her for a new ad campaign?

  29. Optimistic Prime says:

    Apparently half the commenter’s didn’t read the linked article… At any rate, I like how Comcast points out their 25 million “happy” customers. If they had real competition, that number would be 25 happy customers.

  30. faust1200 says:

    Even if this lady had disemboweled the employees, killed their children and raped their pets I would still be on her side. Comcastic.

  31. overbysara says:

    HERO.

  32. Mike_ says:

    [Comcast Vice President] Beth Bacha noted that Comcast has more than 25 million customers, the overwhelming majority of which are very satistified with their service.

    Now that’s hilarious. Have you tried surveying your customers lately?

  33. gorckat says:

    And they say violence doesn’t solve anything :P

  34. SkyeBlue says:

    I see a sequel to one of my favorite movies coming in the near future: “Falling Down 2: Seniors Strike Back!”

  35. shad0ws says:

    @backspinner: actually, i think they jumped the shark back when they called a certain computer company “sad” for failing to do free repairs on someone’s seven year old computer.

    we’re waaaaayyy beyond the shark now.

    it’s all open, empty waters. & apparently the Consumerist’s version of maritime law involves mindlessly grunting: “corporation bad! SMASH good!!”

    incidentally, i think this is the point where i pull the feed from my RSS reader.

  36. silver-spork says:

    I have been a Comcast customer for six years in two locations. If there was any reasonable competition, I would switch immediately. My last dealings with live people at Comcast happened when a lightning storm fried my modem. I had to make two trips down to a dangerous (drug dealing, prostitution, open display of weapons) part of town to finally get a working modem.

    Verizon moved into my area, but their local door-to-door solicitors accosted my *in my garage* and refused to take me off their sales list without my phone number and information on my current service.

    If I wasn’t so addicted to the internet, I’d go without TV/broadband just to avoid dealing with Comcast. All that said, I can empathize with that woman. A well-placed call to the local TV station probably would have been a better way to get things resolved.

  37. sonichghog says:

    What she did was wrong. But what she did will now bring National attention to the problems with comcast.

  38. sonichghog says:

    @shad0ws: I believe that the person in question there had a 3 year warranty, and then extended it when it ran out. But Dell would not honor the extended warranty.

  39. NoWin says:

    @mavrc: “….or so overwhelmingly downtrodden that we don’t care anymore.”

    I’d agree with that observation, especially as many corporate entities (and lack of true competition in some marketplaces) have allowed poor and shoddy customer service policies AND procedures to foster as such.

  40. Lvhakra says:

    I support this woman. All corporations really care about is your money and getting even more of it from you. This doesn’t really surprise me or any of us. However, when companies like this “rob” us of time and money with their Byzantine rules and regulations they should expect a reaction. So boo hoo for the poor scared employees. They are nothing more than accomplices to the criminal entity of the company. Maybe they should start looking for a better job, work at improving their company’s image, or maybe start doing their jobs in some cases.

  41. shad0ws says:

    @sonichghog: … um. huh??

    all i was saying was that article i linked, from Consumerist about a month back, was one of the first points where i noticed this blog getting really… irksome… about its anti-corporate stance. “waaaah! the big bad corporation should never ever ever be right!”

    & this is clearly another example of same. viz.: old lady does what would qualify *anywhere else* as “fucked up shit”, and the Consumerist cheers it on. not cool. i mean, i’m all about consumers rights. but not the right of consumers to fix their issues with a hammer.

    the first article made me think Consumerist was going in a direction i didn’t really care for. this article confirms it.

    (& btw—the “first article” in question was some whining about -Apple- failing to repair a computer after seven years. nothing to do with Dells or warranties. not sure where that came from…)

  42. vex says:

    It’s easy to say there were more civil solutions, but we’re all humans here. If I go to the pound and start teasing and kicking the dogs, its a good bet that at least one of them is going to eventually snap and attack me.

    I’m just surprised with the way companies treat their customers these days that this doesn’t happen more often.

  43. MUokayplayer says:

    Totally agree with VEX. I have ALWAYS advocated that front line employees are just doing their jobs and most of the time it’s not their fault that corporate policies force unsavory solutions. However, my stance is starting to change. If this is the only way that customer service can get better, then that’s the way it has to be. It’s unfortunate.

  44. MoCo says:

    @ArtDonovansLoveChild.: If you read the article, the employees had EVERYTHING to do with her complaint.

  45. Myron says:

    It may be illegal and inappropriate, but this woman has done what millions only dream of. Good for her.

  46. NoWin says:

    @vex: “If I go to the pound and start teasing and kicking the dogs, its a good bet that at least one of them is going to eventually snap and attack me.”

    I like that analogy! Gold star of the day.

  47. Pop Socket says:

    @Mike_: I got a customer satisfaction survey call the other day. I gave them 4/5 on cable quality and 2/5 on internet service quality. They offered to transfer me to tech service. I said don’t bother. I’m switching to FIOS as soon as I can.

    BTW, my digital cable and internet were out this morning and I couldn’t even get into the complaint queue, so my answers today would have been lower.

  48. Pop Socket says:

    @ArtDonovansLoveChild.: The employees had her cool her heels outside in the summer heat for several hours and then told her the manager left for the day without seeing her. A hammer is the simplest weapon deserving of that reaction.

  49. iaintgoingthere says:

    It’s obvious that she’s an animal lover but human hater.

  50. abigsmurf says:

    Oh great, an article praising a crazy woman who terrified a bunch of staff. Now there are going to be countless people who’ll feel that they have a right to get aggressive whenever they get feel they’ve got bad customer service.

    I have no time for anyone who gets aggressive at customer service people and the fact she used a weapon makes her a common criminal in my mind. Who cares if she paid for the damage, she still threatened people with a weapon. A blow to the head with a hammer will probably crack the skull and possibly kill or result in major brain damage.

    I don’t care if Comcast have bad customer service, if Ghandi can topple a government without violence and MLK can revolutionise a country’s policy on race then you can find a way to deal with bad customer service other than scaring the hell out of £5.50 an hour employees.

  51. Jasmo says:

    She sounds like a first-class asshole.

  52. Benstein says:

    I am against abortion but I don’t like seeing abortion clinics vandalized. However if someone wants to vandalize a Comca$t office I would have no problem.

  53. jladdw says:

    I agree that this woman’s actions were inappropriate…but…I spent most of yesterday morning, on a cell phone, crawling under furniture, moving televisions, resetting modems…trying to get our Comcast phone-web-cable up and running. I think the problems arise because these companies have a monopoly. Towns contract with them to provide service to their residents. Isn’t there an anti-monopoly law? If the companies had to compete for business, by offering better rates, better service, better options…the entire experience would BE better. The intro of telephone companies (Verizon and Sprint for instance) into the market may improve things…hopefully. I’m not as old as this “old lady” but I am a senior citizen. My biggest gripe is the push this button, push that button, hold for the next available garbage. My 89-year-old mother can’t follow these instructions at all…and, unfortunately, just about every establishment you try to reach these days has such a system. So, did I feel like taking a hammer to Comcast office equipment, yesterday? Yes I did…but I don’t even know where their offices are!

  54. Saboth says:

    @ArtDonovansLoveChild.:

    Employees had nothing to do with her problems? Maybe they should make her problem their problem and see what the customer wanted.

    Go Hammer! Go Hammer!

  55. GoRetro says:

    Go granny, go! Companies today, especially those that deal with any sort of technology, are not very mindful and user-friendly towards their customers who are senior citizens.

  56. savvy9999 says:

    Rather than admit that perhaps their initial treatment of HammaGramma was out of line, the Comcast veep says some nonsense about their customer file not being accurate. Not a mention of the aggravating circumstances that drove her insane, nor how they are going to prevent this from happening in the future. Typical.

    This hero is paying her fine, and Comcast is paying a steeper price in bad bad bad PR. Sounds like a fair trade to me.

    Can’t wait for her to be on either the Daily Show or Colbert.

  57. BillyShears says:

    Anyone calling this woman’s actions inappropriate has clearly never dealt with Comcast customer service. This woman’s reaction was restrained.

  58. Sherryness says:

    The site is called CONSUMERIST.com – are they here for the CONSUMER? Yes, duh. If they were taking up the cause of the corporations, they would be called CORPORATIONIST.com Do you really not get that???

  59. abigsmurf says:

    “Employees had nothing to do with her problems? Maybe they should make her problem their problem and see what the customer wanted.

    Go Hammer! Go Hammer! “

    Is that really the society you want? one where someone pulls a gun or knife out at a McDonalds because they didn’t get their bigmac without pickles like they wanted last time?

    “The site is called CONSUMERIST.com – are they here for the CONSUMER? Yes, duh. If they were taking up the cause of the corporations, they would be called CORPORATIONIST.com Do you really not get that???”

    and as a consumer I don’t want to be in the same building as a customer being violent and abusive nor do I want a place to be closed because of vandalism when I need to go there.

  60. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    Im not on Comcasts side, but Im not on this womans side either.

    Appreciate the toungue-in-cheek responses people have posted, but lets be realistic. We all have jobs, and we all have times when we have to stick to policy, even if it isnt what we feel is right… so remember what youre saying when youre looking at someone with a hammer who doesnt agree with the decision you have made.

    Violence isnt the answer.

  61. EricBrian says:

    Mona, you are a hero in my book! :)

  62. K-9 says:

    Customers using hammers on keyboards and monitors? Why am I getting flashbacks of SCTV and televisions being thrown out of windows?

    Corporations shouldn’t be surprised that people are responding with physical violence when faced with legal and economic violence by said corporations. In a way, the response by Mrs. Shaw is a lot like the Palestinian response to Israeli economic and political terrorism, using some of her own. Terrorism and violence should be the last act tried when all legal means have been exhausted; Mrs. Shaw did that, while Comcast used abuse and economic terrorism as a standard tactic. She was definitely in the right and did not deserve to be charged.

  63. marsneedsrabbits says:

    So… did she ever get the installation she was promised?

  64. evilhapposai says:

    Hero in my book. About time someone not turned into a groveling pussy by todays pc world hands out and ass-kicking even if the ass-kicking is just to the office equipment. If we had more people that would not be afraid to stand up and actually do something about being screwed then we MIGHT actually see the crap customer service get better instead of walking all over us.

  65. Comcrap_sux says:

    This lady is my hero! I have never in my life been so frustrated by a company I’ve done business with, than Comcast.

    This sweet old lady was pushed to the brink, and I damn well know how she feels, after dealing with the same idiots for 7 days straight last week.

    For those of you who are whining about “violence isn’t the answer” obviously you have never dealt with this evil company. If the early American colonists had taken this attitude we’d be paying 17% tax on everything right now. Instead, they dumped the tea in the harbor and Granny got her hammer!

    This is a wake up call to big corporations like Comcrap. Bring back customer service or “we the people” will revolt.

  66. dishrich says:

    @jesdynf: The sentence was entirely appropriate — and she finally got her phone service.

    @marsneedsrabbits: So… did she ever get the installation she was promised?

    Yea, but NOT from Comcrap – she switched BACK to Verizon for phone/internet (& Verizon is hated with a passion here in IL) & switched to DirecTV for TV – the TV story showed her getting it put on her house.

  67. ascara says:

    @Comcrap_sux: I do business with the company and though I am not happy with their service all of the time I have never been driven to the point of considering a hammer.

    As for 17% taxes, take a peek at your cell phone bill in the state of New York and do the math, you’re already there.

  68. NooneHere says:

    @ArtDonovansLoveChild.:

    ArtDonovansLoveChild suggest that this action will make Comcast employees ‘less likely to help people in the future’. This is impossible. There are no levels of customer service below 0. If Comcast wanted to improve customer service, they would fire all employees who treated customer anywhere close to this. But they don’t because they don’t care and they don’t listen. But, after Mona’s actions, they are listening now (I still doubt that they care, but Mona’s action has cost them thousands in income and millions in stock price drops