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Communications Hardware

Little Old Lady Hammers Comcast 416

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the after-my-own-heart dept.
WheezyJoe writes "The Washington Post reports that a little old lady took a hammer to Comcast. Apparently fed up with the lousy service she received from a botched Comcast installation of "triple-play", and a completely humiliating experience at a customer service center, 75-year-old Mona "The Hammer" Shaw took her claw hammer back to the customer service center and bludgeoned the office equipment into tiny plastic pieces."
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Little Old Lady Hammers Comcast

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  • Comcast Is Deluded (Score:5, Informative)

    by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famous@yaho ... m minus math_god> on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:30PM (#21036015) Homepage Journal
    If Comcast thinks an "overwhelming majority" of their 25 million customers are very satisfied with their service, they'got their heads in the sand. I'll bet you most of them have gripes enough to be dissatisfied, just not enough to switch to DirecTV or Dish Network.

    For example, we've got a 30+ mile per hour windstorm going. My cable's still on. Don't know how a dish would be faring. But that doesn't mean I'm happy with Comcast.

    Here in Washington, we had a program guide and DVR powered by Microsoft, a little nod from Comcast to the folks in Redmond. It wasn't in use anywhere else in the country. I found it to be very buggy and annoying. If I told the DVR to tape only new episodes of "Stargate SG-1" only on Sci-Fi, only at 8, besides putting the 8 p.m. Friday showing of new episodes in the "upcoming recordings" list, it would put in that plus every one of the 6 p.m. reruns all week long. On top of that, it loved to become unresponsive while fast forwarding. It would just fast forward along, well past the point where you wanted it to stop, buffering every key press sent by the remote, until it finally decided it was done and executed all those keypresses in quick succession.

    When Comcast announced we'd be getting the program guide and DVR control software the rest of the country has, I literally jumped for joy, singing "ding dong, the witch is dead", because I thought ANYTHING had to be better than the Microsoft DVR software. I was soooo wrong. Comcast's is worse. Try to set a series recording for "Top Chef" on Bravo and you get every episode... sort of like the Microsoft DVR, but with one major difference. Microsoft put the recordings in the to do list well in advance so you could remove them. With the new Comcast DVR software, it doesn't add these things until the last minute, so the next time you look at your recorded programs list, there's a bunch of crap you didn't expect and don't want. And better than the fast forward that won't stop, the new software gives me fast forward that advances 10-20 seconds and pauses. If you hit the fast forward again, it jumps up to double-speed fast forward and you overshoot whatever mark you were trying to hit.

    I contacted customer service and they just said they were sorry I didn't like it, but tough.

    So my options... get a dish. Wait until Verizon rolls out FIOS TV in my neighborhood (they laid the cable this summer, but are dragging their feet on FIOS installs) and see if they're better. Shell out $800 + $12.95 a month for a dual tuner HD TiVO with Cable Card. I'm currently pinning my hopes on the second option. But when Verizon gets off their asses Comcast loses my $1800 a year for cable TV and cable internet.

    The only reason Comcast can delude themselves that their customers are happy is because they've been spending millions to lobby the FCC to restrict Verizon's roll-out of TV via fiber and prevent their customers from having a second terrestrial alternative. As TV over fiber rolls out, if the telecoms don't cock it up (and that's a BIG if), you could see people leaving Comcast in *droves*.

    Hooray for Mona Shaw. She took civil disobedience a little too far, but God bless her. We're all having a vicarious thrill from her exploit.

    • by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot.morpheussoftware@net> on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:39PM (#21036097) Homepage
      It's not perfect, but I honestly like the simplicity of the Dish DVRs. They work fairly well for me. I don't have problems recording duplicates of shows or anything like that. Fast forward works. 30-second forward and 10-second backward skip buttons out of the box work just fine. The only annoying thing to me is that if you pause, then press forward to go frame-by-frame, the first jump takes you a second or so backward, then you can precede to press forward 30+ times to get back to where you paused and wanted to actually see things frame by frame. Oh well, nothing is perfect. At least it's only $30/month. Oh, the dish works fine in the 60+ mph winds with 1cm sized hail balls we just got a few hours ago in Michigan too.

      • by Romancer (19668) <romancer&deathsdoor,com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:31AM (#21037517) Journal
        All I have to say is TIVO!

        My parents have Dish and my inlaws have the Charter DVR, both of which are total crap compared to the Tivo software. Even it's not perfect but the updates over the past years (series 2) have been for the better and have actually made me keep it over the PC DVR I had build using various linux DVR software packages, none of them were that much better than the Tivo. And when I finally had the weather and streaming audio working Tivo came out with the same features built in. The only drawback I have now is the movie collection and youtube browsing features I had with the PCDVR have to be used in the media room and not in the living room or the bedroom where the Tivos take care of everything else. Amazon Unbox isn't great but it's a pretty good option so far.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ozric99 (162412)
          I used a series 1 TiVo in the UK and loved it. I now live in the US and have a series 2 TiVo.
          • It's slow, often taking a couple seconds to respond to the remote - sometimes I can wait 4 or 5 seconds before hitting the 'tivo' button until the menu comes up. When the menu does come up I can see the redraw.
          • Even though it's networked it can't view media on other devices.
          • Adverts all over the place.
          • Can't view its media on other devices unless you want to copy the programmes in real time and install some DR
    • by ivan256 (17499)

      For example, we've got a 30+ mile per hour windstorm going. My cable's still on. Don't know how a dish would be faring. But that doesn't mean I'm happy with Comcast.

      You're lucky. When I had comcast, a light breeze... moderate rain storm... Just about anything, and the cable and internet service would.. Well, it wouldn't go out. It would just get really unreliable.

      I had satellite TV for 5 years though, and the only times it was out were when the dish got buried in snow more than half way.

      I still ditched t

    • by amccaf1 (813772) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:47PM (#21036165)

      f Comcast thinks an "overwhelming majority" of their 25 million customers are very satisfied with their service, they'got their heads in the sand. I'll bet you most of them have gripes enough to be dissatisfied, just not enough to switch to DirecTV or Dish Network.


      There's an old joke:

      Two guys are out camping... Suddenly they hear the sounds of a tiger outside their tent.

      The two guys look at each other.

      One man starts putting his running shoes on.

      Despite the situation, his friend starts chuckling at him. "What are you thinking? You can't outrun a tiger!"

      The man looks back at his friend and says, "I don't have to outrun... the tiger."

      -------

      Like you say. Comcast doesn't have to be the best. They just have to outrace Direct TV and Dish Network.
      • Tiger (Score:5, Funny)

        by Paul_Hindt (1129979) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:21AM (#21036513) Homepage
        Sorry Roger, you tiger now.
      • by anagama (611277)
        It's even worse where I'm at. My choice is comcast or dialup. I've never in my life been a satisfied comcast customer -- I've been a customer because I have no other realistic choice.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by wickedskaman (1105337)
        So... they were camping in India... or with Sigfried and Roy?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by jalet (36114)
        Reminds me of another camping joke :

        Two guys are out camping... During the night, one of them hears something and asks the other one :

            - Are you masturbating ???
            - Yes
            - Please could you do this with your own cock ?
      • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday October 19, 2007 @08:27AM (#21039633)
        While funny, it's also true and how companies see the market today. You don't have to deliver a good product. All you have to do is to deliver a product that's not worse than the competition and to make sure that nobody can deliver one that's better.

        What worries me is that this is increasingly accomplished by forming cartels and pressure on lawmakers to make sure that nobody can emerge who offers better service.
    • by jeaton (44965) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:52PM (#21036213)

      Shell out $800 + $12.95 a month for a dual tuner HD TiVO with Cable Card.
      The TiVo HD is $299. The TiVo Series3 HD is currently $599.

      Both can be found a bit cheaper if you look around.
    • by Steeltalon (734391) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:22AM (#21036527)
      Hahahahaha! Oh, that story is rich! Kudos to her for doing what I never had the balls to do. My personal story is one of absolute horror. Last year, I was a comcast customer. I would frequently have lag spikes that pushed my latency up into the seconds (yes, that is more than 1x1000ms). Every damn time that I called Comcast they'd send out a service tech who might be there at the time of a spike or might not be. It was all very random. So, finally I reached my breaking point and I told them that they'd better not just send me another tech who'd tell me that my signal was fine. I was told that I was getting a "network specialist" and this definitely wasn't just another tech. Well, the guy calls me from the road and didn't seem to know what I was talking about when I said "network specialist". Then he showed up and not only was he a regular tech but he was a regular tech that was completely dismissive of my problem. He acted like I wasn't really having a problem because, at the time, I was running on my wireless router... Nevermind all the logs that I'd taken from a direct connection to the modem. So, after nearly throwing the guy out of my house, I called Comcast and started screaming. This got me somewhere as I finally got escalated to the CEO's office where they had a customer care executive assigned to me. Their network guys looked at my latency and determined that my problem was only happening 2% of the time... Which, regardless of when it was occurring, was acceptable to them so while they could have alleviated the issue by adding another link they wouldn't. We just got FiOS in my current place about a month ago and Comcast called to try to get us back. The guy that called seemed to think that all verizon connections were DirecTV and had no idea what FiOS was. He also threw out that BS number of how many of their customers are satisfied and told me that their service is "much better now". I told him it would take an act of God to get me to go back to Comcast. It was a very cathartic phone call to get. I hope that the recording goes to upper management but I doubt it will.
      • I like this quote from the Washington Post article: Her take on Comcast: "What a bunch of sub-moronic imbeciles."

        Another quote: "Manassas police spokesman Sgt. Tim Neumann says there have been other police calls to that Comcast office..." I would love to know why.

        Quote from the parent comment: "I called Comcast and started screaming. This got me somewhere as I finally got escalated to the CEO's office where they had a customer care executive assigned to me."

        You never get to the CEO's office, I'm guessing. They just say that to try to make you think they believe your complaint is important. In 2005, the Comcast CEO made $14.3 million [forbes.com], just for that one year. I know, I know what you are thinking: "I'm sad. He had a bad year!" But, don't worry, in 2006 he made $27.8 million [usatoday.com].

        I think that it is safe to assume that someone who makes millions each year for doing a bad job has no concerns whatsoever about any troubles you have with his company. Any phony expression of concern is handled by people who barely make a living.

        In case you want to express your horror that he only makes tens of millions instead of hundreds of millions each year, contact the Comcast CEO directly: Brian Roberts [consumerist.com].

        Why is being rich considered by rich people a license to be evil?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905)
          Well he got paid nearly twice as much in 2006 from 2005, so either someone must like what he's doing and/or he's ripping off the company badly...
        • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday October 19, 2007 @08:06AM (#21039391) Journal

          Why is being rich considered by rich people a license to be evil?


          First of all, let's qualify "evil". A lot of people (probably not you, but just to get it cleared anyway) have this "Black and White" idea that "evil" means being on a self-destructive quest to cause as much pain as possible, fuelled by pure hatred towards your fellow man. Unfortunately those don't really get ahead in the real world.

          RL "evil", especially of the corporate kind, is really just Sociopathy, a.k.a., Antisocial Personality Disorder [wikipedia.org]. And indeed there seem to be a lot of them in management, and especially CEO positions. [fastcompany.com]

          These are people who, simply put, don't give a flying fuck about their fellow man. You're an NPC to them. They don't hate you, they just don't care. They might harm you if it provides some momentary entertainment, and they think they can get away with it, but just as well they might pretend to be your friend if it helps them get an advantage that way.

          They also tend to be people who can (A) read others perfectly, and (B) fake any feeling convincingly. They can look hurt when they need to look hurt, shed a tear when that gets the emotional message across, or sell you logging rights in Sahara with the most sincere look on their face. They could tell you to do something that will ruin your life with a perfectly straight face, and be perfectly able to look themselves in the mirror the next day. Why not? You're just an NPC to them. You don't matter.

          Just as an example of lying with a straight face, a lot love to reinvent their past as something that milks the most sympathy. It helps manipulate people.

          And my take is that it isn't money that turns people into sociopaths, but the other way around: in the race up the corporate ladder, these guys have a natural advantage. And in the race between corporations, the one without principles or scruples will have the lower costs and get ahead.

          If being rich changed someone that way, then he probably was thinking that way long before. All that's changed now is that he feels powerful enough to drop (a part of) the mask and act like the asshole he always wanted to be.

          In a sense, we even expect them to. The idea that a corporation should have no other goals or responsibilities than making more money, at all cost, is, well, just saying that said corporation should act like a sociopath. Unfortunately, a corporation is nothing more than a bunch of people, and its decisions _are_ taken by people. So if we expect corporations to act that way, and put our money on those which act that way, we're pretty much asking them to be led by sociopaths. Or if they aren't, we'll sell their shares and move our money to the ones who can act properly antisocial.
    • The new software is infinitely better than the Microsoft software was for the DVR.
      1. It is far more stable. The Microsoft software had a tendency to crash when a recording finished. Mine crashed at least 5 times a week. If another recording was scheduled to follow the one that crashed it, you'd lose at least 5 minutes of the start of that second recording, because it took that long for the box to reboot, and then figure out that it was authorized for DVR. Deleting a recording also could trigger a crash, so w
    • I live in Champaign, IL, and go to the University of Illinois. Comcast recently bought out our local cable company... not the cable company that serves our area, just the local branch of it... right before football season started... and now they refuse to offer the Big Ten network which broadcasts our team... but I'm sure that's just a coincidence... right? (that sarcasm is directed at Comcast, not the parent poster)

      But before I start to really go off about that bullshit, our box does the same thing that
    • by guardiangod (880192) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:30AM (#21037091)
      here [jumbojoke.com]

      Dear Cretins,

      I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when I signed up for your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable modem, and telephone. During this three-month period I have encountered inadequacy of service which I had not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity of monolithic proportions.

      Please allow me to provide specific details, so that you can either pursue your professional prerogative, and seek to rectify these difficulties -- or more likely (I suspect) so that you can have some entertaining reading material as you while away the working day smoking B&H and drinking vendor-coffee on the bog in your office:

      My initial installation was cancelled without warning, resulting in my spending an entire Saturday sitting on my fat arse waiting for your technician to arrive. When he did not arrive, I spent a further 57 minutes listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful website.... HOW? I alleviated the boredom by playing with my testicles for a few minutes - an activity at which you are no-doubt both familiar and highly adept.

      The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later, although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools - such as a drill-bit, and his cerebrum. Two weeks later, my cable modem had still not arrived. After 15 telephone calls over 4 weeks my modem arrived... six weeks after I had requested it, and begun to pay for it. I estimate your internet servers downtime is roughly 35%... hours between about 6pm-midnight, Mon-Fri, and most of the weekend.

      I am still waiting for my telephone connection. I have made 9 calls on my mobile to your no-help line, and have been unhelpfully transferred to a variety of disinterested individuals, who are it seems also highly skilled bollock jugglers. I have been informed that a telephone line is available (and someone will call me back); that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been cut off); that I will be transferred to someone (and then been redirected to an answer machine informing me that your office is closed); that I will be transferred to someone and then been redirected to the irritating Scottish robot woman...and several other variations on this theme.

      Doubtless you are no-longer reading this letter, as you have at least a thousand other dissatisfied customers to ignore, and also another one of those crucially important testicle-moments to attend to. Frankly I don't care, it's far more satisfying as a customer to voice my frustrations in print than to shout them at your unending hold music. Forgive me, therefore, if I continue.

      I thought BT were shit, that they had attained the holy piss-pot of god-awful customer relations, that no one, anywhere, ever, could be more disinterested, less helpful or more obstructive to delivering service to their customers. That's why I chose NTL, and because, well, there isn't anyone else is there? How surprised I therefore was, when I discovered to my considerable dissatisfaction and disappointment what a useless shower of bastards you truly are. You are sputum-filled pieces of distended rectum -- incompetents of the highest order.

      British Telecom -- wankers though they are -- shine like brilliant beacons of success, in the filthy puss-filled mire of your seemingly limitless inadequacy. Suffice to say that I have now given up on my futile and foolhardy quest to receive any kind of service from you. I suggest that you cease any potential future attempts to extort payment from me for the services which you have so pointedly and catastrophically failed to deliver -- any such activity will be greeted initially with hilarity and disbelief -- quickly be replaced by derision, and even perhaps bemused rage.

      I enclose two small deposits, selected wi

      • Nowdays they have a worthy replacement. As anyone who has been unfortunate enough to buy Vodafone 3G Broadband can testify NTL can in some cases seem competent by comparison.
      • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @05:43AM (#21038529) Homepage Journal
        It's pretty telling that when Virgin Mobile merged with NTL-Telewest, they expected (and got) a massive increase in customer service calls, and had to staff up their call centers. Not because service got worse, but because people expect better of a Virgin branded company, and had previously just given and resigned themselves to not getting any service from either NTL or Telewest...

        Now, it's too early for me at least to tell if it's made a genuine difference - I haven't had to deal with support since the merger - but I do remember trying to order extra services from Telewest and giving up because they were so unhelpful. Way to throw away revenue.

    • by Buran (150348)
      A dual tuner TiVo does NOT cost $800. Sorry. Try $300.

      I've seen this before - people complain that hi-def Tivos cost too much - "I'd buy one if they cost half that" -- when in reality they are imagining a price that is twice the real price.
    • by Twin Pines Mall (1175669) on Friday October 19, 2007 @04:38AM (#21038249)
      How friggin dare anyone out there make fun of Comcast after all she's been through. She lost their call center is jalalabad, they went through a couple regulation issues. This lady turned out to be a user, a cheater, and now shes putting our equipment through a Hammer. All you people care about is..... readers and making money off of them. SHE'S A HUMAN! What you don't realize is that Comcast is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap about her. She hasn't performed in years. Her song is called "Please hold while we process your call, this call may be monitored for quality purposes" " for a reason because all you people want is MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE. LEAVE HER ALONE! You are lucky she even performed BASTARDS! LEEEAVE COMCAST ALLLLLONE!.....Please. Perez Hilton talked about professionalism and said if Comcast was a professional she would've pulled it off no matter what. Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publically bash someone who is going through a hard time. Leave Comcast Alone Please.... Leave Comcast alone...right now....I mean it. Anyone that has a problem with her you deal with me, beacuse she is not well right now. leave her alone
  • Dear Mona (Score:5, Funny)

    by binarybum (468664) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:33PM (#21036045) Homepage
    Have you considered the washington post as your next victim? I think we'd all appreciate someone sending them a clear message about flagrantly unnecessary pagination.

  • by amccaf1 (813772) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:35PM (#21036061)
    Damn.

    I can't figure out whether I want to go out and smash office equipment with a hammer, or I want this woman to come in and smash my office equipment with a hammer.

    Which end of this fight is the right end? I CAN'T DECIDE!!
  • by Raineer (1002750) * on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:35PM (#21036063)
    Please let this woman have a made-for-TV movie made of her life.
  • by feepness (543479) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:37PM (#21036077) Homepage
    Internet + SD cable. No box. I think I get great speed because I'm in the city. Never had an issue.
    • by plover (150551) *
      I'm mostly happy with Comcast too. Their HD DVR cable box sucks ass, especially compared to my ReplayTV units, but the HD quality is OK and their internet service is quite fast and I have really good uptime.

      But I'd never voluntarily get VoIP through them. It's more expensive than POTS, plus since my wife installed Vonage as a temporary stopgap for her home office, th-e d-am-n sig-na-l s-ou-nd-s li-ke c-rap. If that's how they treat voice traffic, it'd be totally useless.

      • by feepness (543479)
        I used SunRocket with them until they went out of business. I switched to Vonage. $14.99/month if they can stay in business. My wife doesn't notice any difference and that's the key for me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by epp_b (944299)

      Internet + SD cable. No box. I think I get great speed because I'm in the city. Never had an issue.
      Hey, that's cool! Comcast's only satisfied customer is a Slashdotter!
    • by jlarocco (851450)

      Consider yourself fortunate. Since Comcast took over Adelphia I've had a couple of half month long outages and dramatically reduced speed. Not to mention that their tech support staff can only be described as incompetent. And that's being nice.

      But of course my only other option is 1/6th the speed for the same price.

  • by User 956 (568564) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:37PM (#21036081) Homepage
    75-year-old Mona "The Hammer" Shaw took her claw hammer back to the customer service center and bludgeoned the office equipment into tiny plastic pieces.

    Funny story, Tom Delay got his nickname [amazon.com] the same way.
    • Tom "Hammer" Delay - "God, *Mona*, and the Rise of the Republican Congress"

      There. Fixed it for you.

  • by jberryman (1175517) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:38PM (#21036087)
    is there no problem you can't solve?
  • If only I could get away with taking a hammer to equipment in a corporate office building. But something tells me if I had done exactly the same thing she had, I still would have gone to jail (she got 3 months suspended sentence).

    Still, I'm glad she did it. Comcast deserved every minute of it, I'm sure. I never thought it was possible that I would run into the welcoming arms of a telco until the day I got Comcast.
  • by causality (777677) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:43PM (#21036137)

    75-year-old Mona "The Hammer" Shaw took her claw hammer back to the customer service center and bludgeoned the office equipment into tiny plastic pieces."

    She's rather old, so I guess the office equipment was easier for her to catch than the employees.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:53PM (#21036229)
    ... when it was good :) When service matters, when companies gave a dam... when people gave a dam doing their jobs...

    I say we arm our elderly and let them take back this country. They stood up in ww2, and they might be feeling up to it again.
    • When you could spell damn out in full without worrying about the blasphemy police....
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Neuticle (255200)
        BAD MOD, No cookie! Referencing the parent and making a JOKE about the current state of affairs? Cut the guy some slack.

        Maybe English isn't the mod's first language, but even if you don't get the joke, it's hardly off-topic.

        Somebody woke up on the grumpy side of bed I guess.
  • by kongit (758125) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @11:54PM (#21036241)
    Comcast's miserable but completely irresitable
    Bringing TV to the home
    Late nights all alone with the boob tube
    Ohh-oh-oh-oh...

    Mona shaw is getting really raw
    and calls them on the phone
    "can you fix my cable you
    I-dee-ots?"

    But she's getting nowhere
    so she takes her hammer there...


    Bang, bang, Mona's old claw hammer
    Came down upon their stuff
    Bang, bang, Mona's old claw hammer
    Made their office look real rough
  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by false_cause (1013577)
    Why is Comcast still the only option for my friends who live in Arlington County? Why is Cox my only option in Fairfax County? I have endless complaints about Cox and my friends in Arlington have their's about Comcast. Wouldn't some competition between the two be likely to press these megacorps to resolve a few of the issues?
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Steeltalon (734391) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:24AM (#21036547)
      Because municipalities decided that they should only have one cable company in most cases and the courts decided that the cable companies don't need to share their bandwidth despite being granted a state funded monopoly.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by false_cause (1013577)
        Those decisions don't appear to be benefiting me, the consumer/customer/voter. Shocking, I know.
        • by crucini (98210)
          The problem is, installing cable TV in a town is a big and risky investment. The cable company normally demands a "franchise", meaning a monopoly on cable access in the town. Without the franchise, the investment is less likely to pay off; therefore it's probably impossible to attract a cable company without offering exclusivity.
    • by arivanov (12034)
      Neah, they will just merge
    • by jonwil (467024)
      Its because Comcast and Cox spend your money (i.e. the money you pay for cable) ensuring that competition never happens.
  • I was just at the /. party in MN, at Vibrant.

    We took a hammer to many pieces of hardware.

    It was a good feeling to hit that old E-250.

    I'd love to take it to Comcast.
  • by jroysdon (201893) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:04AM (#21036335) Homepage
    I always wondered why my local Comcast office was behind plexiglass (bullet-proof?). The Post Office down the street has no such physical barriers. I guess Comcast is used to dealing with this sort of response to their customer dis-service. The Post Office is slow and all, but at least you get what they promise. I just wish Comcast could get their programming guide data fixed. I lost a few channels that they block now with their filter. I can still most of one, and a hazy version of another. Comcast's solution? Upgrade my package to digital and pay $40 more a month for the two channels I want. No thanks. OTA looks better and better if there was just another high-speed internet player in the market.

    Comcast high-speed internet (without CableTV): $61
    Comcast mini-basic CableTV ($15) + high-speed internet: $60

    What a racket, eh? It's cheaper to get their mini-basic CableTV and internet than to just get internet solo. Not by much, of course. I wish I could just get high-speed internet for $45 and then that'd be motivation enough to get a nice OTA setup going.
  • It's Crapcastic!!!
    • I have called comcast 'crapcast' for about 2 years, and I was a loyal customer of comcast from 2000 to 2005.

      Comcast has too many failings, and several people in my neighborhood switched to u-verse http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=5838 [att.com]

      I was and am sick of Comcast, and I never intend to go back to them. They were the only game in town in 2000, and now they are not. Now they look like a dinosaur by comparison. I think it is Very sad when nearly all choices look better than comcasts offerings. Hell the
  • by Belacgod (1103921) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:06AM (#21036345)
    I'd contribute to paying her fine for her.
  • by SailorSpork (1080153) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:08AM (#21036363) Homepage
    The best part about the article is the end, when the police fine her $345 (likely less than the cost of the equipment she smashed) and gave her the hammer back. Is there a lighter slap-on-the-wrist punishment? The police must be Comcast subscribers too.
  • Have you seen my hammer?

    Actually Comcast has been great in this area. But then again that's because they're being compared against the Verizon.

  • The Elderly (Score:4, Funny)

    by gaelfx (1111115) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:25AM (#21036567)
    How many times must people be told? Don't mess with the elderly! I mean, these people actually go out and vote. You just watch, one day there will be a curfew and all those under 70 will be in-home, lights-out at 5:30 sharp.
  • Feeling rebelious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GregPK (991973) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:28AM (#21036599)
    Having lived through 3 different cable providers giving me the same service. Started with TCI, then moved to ATT, then moved to Comcast. I'd have to say I'm the least satisfied with Comcast out of all three. I hate thier customer service. Thier CRM setup is a complete joke. Personally, I think the woman is a hero, If she had a paypal posted I'd send a buck for making my day. Comcast should have this happen in every one of thier offices every single day until they get the point. Treat thier customers right.
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:51AM (#21036769)
    Its the little old lady from Pasadena...

    Only a 75 year old white lady can get away with something like that. If it was a 15 to 25 year old black male, then he would already be in Gitmo...
  • Only old people attack comcast!

    (How did anyone not say this yet?)
  • by meburke (736645) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:06AM (#21036893)
    I have some customers who use ComCast now that they own Houston's RoadRunner customers. (That is not really a typo...) I had occasion to call ComCast the other day asking for technical assistance for a customer replacing their Linksys Wireless cable gateway. Comcast told me they would have to fill out a form with the new MAC address and the account would be updated in 5-7 days. After an hour of being transferred around I finally found someone who updated the account MAC address in 5 minutes. Then I asked for the DNS address of the nameservers. They told me they didn't support DNS. I got transferred to four people who didn't have a CLUE about Windows XP needing a nameserver address (if you have a static IP, even if it's an internal NAT address) before I finally simply hung up, set the workstation to DHCP and derived a DNS address from ipconfig.

    There is such an abundance of crappy customer service out there you would think that any company that provides outstanding (or even reasonable) customer service could steal the market.

    My biggest advice for companies wanting to reduce the cost of customer service is, "Clean it up upstream." Don't put out crappy products and you will have fewer customer service problems. This means solid design and VERY good documentation, plus some solid troubleshooting tips. Then pay your customer support techs better money, give them a nice place to work, and reward them for SOLVING PROBLEMS instead of just closing tickets or answering calls. (This means the customer support function needs to be "designed" instead of just being an afterthought.) Provide constant and high-quality training and alternative ways for the customer to get support, and for God's sake, ANSWER THE PHONE!

    I ask my customers, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our service?" Then I ask, "What would it take to make it a 10?" I have managed to retain some really loyal customers this way, and I have dropped services I can't provide good service for. Noone can please everyone, so I have also dropped customers who are impossible to please. Cleaning it up upstream for me (an integrator) means clarifying the scope of work and the customer expectations before I start the job. I also evaluate the customer's reasons for wanting my services. Many times they are trying to solve a problem by "jumping to solutions", and I have saved customers a lot of money and grief by helping them troubleshoot the whole problem before committing to help. It takes more time, but it prevents hassles downstream.
    • There is such an abundance of crappy customer service out there you would think that any company that provides outstanding (or even reasonable) customer service could steal the market.

      Nope. Shoddy companies like that are also not below lying in their ads (or press statements for that matter), spreading FUD about their competition, and lobbying to reduce all those 'regulations' keeping them from doing worse things to citizens, etc. If they can't beat the competition, then make anything else just seem w

    • by bmajik (96670)

      There is such an abundance of crappy customer service out there you would think that any company that provides outstanding (or even reasonable) customer service could steal the market.

      You'd think that, but then you'd wake up and realize that the government red tape involved in running something like a cable company is of such epic proportions that there is no competition whatsoever, and no possible entry into the market.

      Want to start a wireless TV service? Sorry -- the FCC -- bought and paid for by incumbe

    • by barzok (26681) on Friday October 19, 2007 @08:05AM (#21039383)
      So don't use their DNS in the first place. My RoadRunner connection was terrible (slow, sites unavailable, etc.) until I figured out that the problem wasn't the connection but rather their awful DNS servers. I switched to use other DNS servers and my service was instantly usable again.
  • White Alert (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:11AM (#21036935) Homepage Journal
    I used to work in IT for a cable company, and whenever a customer went bizerk in the customer service office, a white clicking light would flash in most offices and pre-designated "bouncers", mostly employee volunteers, would walk briskly down the hall toward the service area. The theory was that large quantities of large people would make customers think twice about violence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pcgc1xn (922943)
      While I can understand that there are nutbars everywhere, and you have to be careful of them, your comment stuns me.

      Something about the cable company was bad enough to send enough people crazy.
      Management decided that this was not good.
      So they decided to come up with a process to deal with people who go non-linear in your office?

      Wouldn't it have been better to fix whatever the company was doing to drive them insane?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:39AM (#21037173)
    I serve on student government at small liberal arts college. My position was recently added, and basically, I handle the concerns of students relating to information technology. For example, I've been working with the administration first by advocating for a wireless campus, then helping decide which areas would receive service.

    But the first thing I did on student government was try and tackle the "Comcast problem". The "problem" in question being massive downtime... over 120 calls due to downtime in one month. Keep in mind, this is a SMALL campus. The residence halls only had maybe a thousand students maximum. (And that is a liberal estimate).

    Now when my internet went down, I actually followed the Comcast tech into floor's wiring closet, and saw a bank of cable modems hooked up to a switch. He located my room's modem, and power cycled it. Problem solved. And it was something that a user should be able to due themselves, but Comcast insisted that the students not have access to the modems, because we might steal them.

    The thing is, the wait for a technician was two to three business days, if the technician even showed up.

    Slowly I garnered support for a new provider, starting with Residence Life, and eventually the head of IT for the college arranged a meeting with all the Comcast bigwigs... the main guy was in charge of sales for the entire state I believe. Anyways, the Comcast posse promptly blew off everything the college had to say. When I brought up students having technicians pull a no show, I was told that my peers were exaggerating or lying. It took me stating that I had experienced a no show before they would even concede the point. Everything was like that... they wanted the college to PROVE they were incompetent. They ignored what me and the head of IT said (That modem's should be moved to resident rooms, and that anyone whose modem was missing at year's end would be charged for it) and insisted that the problem was due to illegal file sharing. When they were told that connections were already throttled to a point where that was not an issue, they insisted the college's wiring was faulty and brownouts were causing the problem. Comcast offered to install UPSs in all wiring closets. (And got a little miffed when I said they should have already had them).

    Then they insisted it was a firmware issue with the modems and replaced every modem in the halls. Finally they admitted they needed to move modems into the rooms so users could power cycle on their own, and that was only after the college administration threatened to end the contract early and find a new ISP, and I threatened to write to Consumerist.

    End result? What could have been a fifteen minute "whoops, our bad, thanks for the suggestion" type meeting, it became a five month process, where every user complaint was dismissed unless not only a specific user would testify to it in writing, but any bad experiences with rude techs, or techs who never showed up were not owned up to unless the user had the foresight to have a witness wait for the tech with them. Even when the college pointed to the acceptable downtime limit in the contract, Comcast refused to turn over logs and insisted that the college either sue or accumulate documentation.

    And during the process, every word I said was met with derision or waved away since I was "only a student". It was made clear to me by Comcast that my opinion did not matter. And quit frankly, I think only the threat the college finding a new provider or possible lawsuits for breach of contract prompted them to act.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KingOfBLASH (620432)
      Out of curiosity, why couldn't the college ditch comcast and purchase bandwidth via a couple T3s and buy a couple switches? Was that ever an option? It seems really weird that a college would power their net with a Beowulf cluster of cable modems...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KKlaus (1012919)
      Whats the moral of the story though? You're still using Comcast!
  • It must be a cathartic feeling smashing the equipment of your nemesis.
  • by PineGreen (446635) on Friday October 19, 2007 @02:08AM (#21037395) Homepage
    Mona "the Hammer" Shaw vs Steve "the Chair" Ballmer.

    Just imagine!
  • Yes but.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by codeButcher (223668) on Friday October 19, 2007 @03:25AM (#21037855)
    ....will Comcast blend?
  • by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Friday October 19, 2007 @06:41AM (#21038841) Homepage
    I've got Verizon DSL/Phone with no CATV, and Comcast STILL managed to screw me badly!

    A couple weeks ago, in the middle of the afternoon, my internet connection started crapping all sorts of madness. Disconnecting constantly, poor throughput... I thought maybe the line was really noisy or something, so I pick up the phone... No dial tone.

    It took a couple hours to piece together some of the information in my head. Hearing someone say something about cable while standing outside a new tenant's apartment across the hall, and later going to the top of the stairs and coming back down. (The box where all our phonelines come in is on the third floor, at the top of the stairs)

    With this information, I go up and check the box... It's closed. I take the screw out and open it, the clasp that holds everything down in one of the blocks pops open on its own... Closer inspection reveals a broken retaining tab. (Later found on the floor.) One cordless phone handset, and a little wiggling of wirey bits later, I am able to determine that this unmarked and now quite fscked connection is my line. So I taped the clasp down with some gaffer's tape, taped a little ball of tape to the back so the door puts pressure on it, marked the thing correctly, and wandered back to my apartment grumbling about how it shouldn't be illegal to light stupid people on fire.

    After talking to the new tenant, he confirmed that the Comcast technician said he had to make sure there was a phone line (wtf?!), and did in fact go play about in the box.
  • My Story (Score:5, Informative)

    by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Friday October 19, 2007 @10:08AM (#21040899) Homepage
    I might as well...

    I was a business class customer of a local cable company that comcast bought out. Back then, I was pretty much forced to pay extra for that service because they blocked all inbound smtp and http (which I provided on my servers). But, the commercial service was actually nice, and when I had a problem, they were very responsive and I had a direct line to L2 techs who knew what they were doing.

    Comcast then bought the company. I only found out when my bill arrived and it was now from comcast. They never told me I needed to change anything, and my service was still working and the bill amount was the same, so I didn't really care.

    One weekend, I lost connectivity. My own end seemed fine, as I was seeing the typical stream of ARP requests flying by on comcast's network. It looked to me like my default gateway was down. I called and explained the symptoms.

    The tech was confused and thought I should own a comcast router (I didn't...I run my own firewall with a regular linksys cablemodem). This would be a matter of contention for the next 2 months.

    Anyway, the problem persisted intermittently. To their credit, I did finally get through to a support rep who actually discovered the real problem: My modem was being intermittently filtered for some reason. He did explain that comcast was moving to using their own routers for all business class customers (same service, they just give you a static IP address in a 'good' netblock). I continued to use my old ISP config, and it worked, so I didn't care.

    Problem came back, but this time I knew the likely cause. This time the support lady was a total asshole demanding that I owned some form of comcast equipment, and that they would need to send a technician out (after explaining to her several times what was really going on) to remove that equipment and install their new solution. At this point, I was sick of paying extra for service I was not receiving so began the process of going back to residential service.

    Long story short, I had to sign some form to give comcast permission to cut my commercial service and go back to residential. They mailed this form to me in such a way that my server dropped it (their server was on the spamhaus block/exploit list!). I finally got the form and filled it out.

    2 days later, service is dead again. #$!@$#@!$. Again, they claim that I own some sort of comcast gear (b/c I was a commercial customer, and they have a certain way to do that...but I was transplanted from an ISP that they bought out...this is like the 20th time I've explained this to them). They will schedule a time to send a technician out. I agree, for now, and then call back to cancel the nonsense (hoping to speak to somebody with more clue)

    When I complain about this, I finally get the rep to concede that they don't need to send anybody out, and that they will transfer me to residential class service. They *FINALLY* understand that I don't have any of their equipment. I continue to use my old static IP address, which still works (go figure), because they have not given me any connection information yet to change (this is for a change that they were definitely going to force on me...and I have yet to hear any official news of this, other than when I call to report problems with my service).

    I did eventually get changed to residential service. Biggest hassle is that I have to smart relay through comcast's SMTP servers. Luckily they don't block inbound ports, so I can get away with paying less.

    Here's the fun part. Last week there was a router from comcast sitting on my porch. Inside was a letter about them changing my commercial service (which I no longer have due to the frustrations with my connection and horrible customer service). This thing showed up about a month after I started having problems, and AFTER I changed to residential service! These people obviously have a serious lack of internal communication that rivals even that with their customers!

    If they ha

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