Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm Not Saying I CONDONE It...

...but I understand.

Long story short: 75 year old Mona Shaw of Manassas, Virginia got the sort of treatment we've come to expect as a given from big telecom companies like Comcast, which is to say, they took her money, made a lot of promises, then treated her like dogshit on the bottom of their shoes. After Mona signed up for Comcast to provide the three basic necessities of life-- phone, cable and Internet service--Comcast's people showed up for their installation appointment two days late, only did half the job, and then inexplicably cut off ALL service two days later. When Mona and her husband went to complain, they were told to wait outside in August heat. After two hours, they were told the manager they needed to speak to had left for the day.

Let's let the Washington Post pick up the rest of the story:

So, after stewing over it all weekend, on the following Monday, she went downstairs, got Don's claw hammer and said: "C'mon, honey, we're going to Comcast."

Did you try to stop her, Mr. Shaw?

"Oh no, no," he says.

Hammer time: Shaw storms in the company's office. BAM! She whacks the keyboard of the customer service rep. BAM! Down goes the monitor. BAM! She totals the telephone. People scatter, scream, cops show up and what does she do? POW! A parting shot to the phone!

"They cuffed me right then," she says.

Her take on Comcast: "What a bunch of sub-moronic imbeciles."

Damn straight. And according to the Manassas police chief: "here have been other police calls to that Comcast office, but he doesn't know what prompted them."

Gee, I wonder.

As noted elsewhere in this blog, Comcast has a long history of treating customer needs with an attitude that goes beyond incompetence into the realm of utter contempt. And, as reported on the blog, it's taking a toll on them:

[Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony] Noto has reduced his target price for Comcast to $29 a share from $34 a share. That’s based on revised estimates for a 10% loss in basic subscribers by year-end 2010, with minimal rate increases and an incremental 6% reduction in annual broadband net additions.

Now, I'm not advocating physical violence against cable, phone or Internet providers, even ones like Comcast whose "give us the money, shut up, and while we're at it, fuck you" behavior really ought to be under some kind of criminal investigation.

But if I ever run into Mona Shaw, I'm buying her a drink.


Peter said...

Comcast seems poised to acquire a majority ownership stake in the city where I live (Philadelphia). I am nontheless proud to report that I subscribe to none of its services.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

nathan said...

I DO condone it. Good for you, Mona! As long as she didn't hit any actual people. . .

Jim Winter said...

I personally believe telcom executives should be forced to take part in a mandatory experiment to see if there is such a thing as justifiable genocide. We use the telcom executives first. If their senseless torture and slaughter does, indeed, provide society with even the slightest benefit - or Mona Shaw a free year of Internet service, her Vonage bills covered for her, and 6 months of HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime at no cost to her; then we move to the next phase of the experiment.

Phase II will involve oil company executives and coincide with field trials of a mysterious new dog food.

Phase III? While not necessary, we take out the entire RIAA. Just because.

RAC said...

I hate Dumbcast but it's all i've got. I have stories, too, like the month they turned off my service every two damned days, or like when they billed me double for services that are supposed to be free in my town. My favorite story was from when the new comcast guy didn't know how to hook up the cable router, so while I was waiting for that, I hooked up the three tv sets for him, and then went over and reset the router after he was completely befuddled by the IP numbers--THEN they tried to bill me for the installation fees. It cost me two or three months of grief to straighten that out, and they actually thought they were giving me a discount when they took off the charges that shouldn't have been billed to me in the first place. Dumbest company in history--remember when they changed everyone's account numbers because they had a new accounting system? We got two bills that month. Did I mention that Comcast is the dumbest company ever?

Mark Terry said...

Lest I condone it--and man, I've felt like it from time to time--I would just like to point out that one of the biggest, freakin' problems with Comcast and most other cable companies is the total freakin' lack of competition. Where I live, I've got Charter. Period. Comcast works the southern and western Detroit suburbs. Charter the north. Don't like Charter? Too damned bad. Go get a satellite or DSS dish. Otherwise, shut up.

I tell ya, it's almost un-American in how uncompetitive it is.

Peter said...

I wouldn't want to seem to be lording it over all the rest of America here in my cableless universe, but I remember back in the 1980s, one of the constant controversies in the Massachusetts town where I started my newspaper career was cable. Would the local cable concession give too much away to a company that would hold a monopoly?

The answer is clear, vividly so in Philadelphia, where the new Comcast Center will be the city's tallest skyscraper.

The scary thing is that Comcast is now marketing its "Triple Play." Now customers have the opportunity for shoddy service and predatory pricing for Internet, phone, and cable, all in one handy, impossible to reach place.

As for one's stance for those who contemplate violence toward Comcast, here is one area of life where nonviolent, passive resistance is possible, easy and fulfilling: Opt out, cancel your service, and read a book instead.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"