Hammering down on bad service

October 23, 2007|By TIM ROWLAND

Forget the tall, leggy blonde in fishnet stockings. Give me a little old lady with a claw hammer any day.

Can there be anyone sexier at the moment than 75-year-old Mona Shaw of Bristow, Va., who took as much silliness as she could stand from the Comcast cable company before bursting into its Manassas office and hammering the living circuitry out of anything with an electronic pulse?

Keyboard: dead. Monitor: dead. Phone: dead.

Mona 3, Corporate America Behaving Badly 0.

Naturally, I do not advocate taking a hammer to corporate offices. I'd suggest a chain saw.

I'm like Mona. I've had it. How come you make one little mistake on a statement from any service or credit card company and they can gore you for hundreds of dollars in late fees, over-the-limit fees, contract fees, disconnect fees reconnect fees, service-charge fees and just-because-we-feel-like-it fees - but they can run completely roughshod over us, breaking deals and failing to provide what they promise, and we are supposed to sit there and take it.


Until now.

According to Neely Tucker, writing in The Washington Post, Shaw signed up for Comcast's "Triple Play" phone/Internet/television package on a Monday. On Wednesday, technicians showed up but didn't finish the job. On Friday, they cut off all service.

Mona and her husband went to the Comcast office to complain to a manager. They were made to wait (outside) for two hours before being informed that the manager had, sorry, left for the day.

While the manager was apparently saying TGIF, Mona was saying JWTM. Just Wait 'Til Monday.

That's when she made her appearance, armed with the hammer and the temperament to use it.

For the record, she was taken out in cuffs. There was no word on how long it took for the Department of Homeland Security to rule out al-Qaida as the cause of the attack. And for the record, Comcast says there's more to the story, which it can't get into because "company policy forbids disclosure of clients' records."

Oh, right. Corporate America can sell your name and number to every living telemarketer and spammer between here and Calcutta, but ... oh, never mind.

I think the whole thing is very biblical. Jesus and the money changers, grandma and Comcast, what's the difference? We're fighting injustice here.

And it could spark a whole new cottage industry. I can envision calendars: Grand'mers with Hammers. I can see Gene Weingarton writing an ode to Mona to the tune of "If I Had a Hammer," not that I am trying to plant a seed.

I'm going to think twice before I make fun of people with leaving their left blinkers on again, I can tell you that. I don't need some Lillian Carter showing up at my work station with a pipe wrench.

I'm even a little scared anymore to walk into Sheetz. Don't know who you're going to run into. "I SAID (smash) I want a LOTTERY (smash) ticket RIGHT (smash) NOW! (smash, smash, double smash).

Used to be at the assisted-living center you needed a shawl; now you're going to need a shank. Nurse passes out the wrong pills, she's going to have to duck a hail of flying teeth.

I can see it now, on CBS. "Survivor: Homewood."

If nothing else, Mona and her hammer are another tool, so to speak, in our fight against irresponsible corporate behavior.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on

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