"I think I'm just an average person who was pushed too far. In Bristow, we don't have a choice of cable providers. It has to be Comcast. We wanted to save some money, so we asked for the Triple Play: cable, telephone and Internet. That's when everything went south. We waited the entire day for Comcast. They never came; they never called. We called, and they swore up and down that they'd have a man out. He showed up and gave us a lot of gobbledy-gook about giving us a new telephone number," seethes Mona. "After putting a box on our line, we discovered we didn't have a phone. These people are playing God. If I have a heart attack, if my husband falls, we cannot call 911."
The 75-year-old grandmother took matters into her own hands. "I said to my husband, â€˜Let's go on down to Comcast. Maybe we can find a manager.' We were asked to wait for two hours, then one of the girls said, â€˜Oh, I'm sorry. He left for the day.' These Comcast people are submoronic idiots!" She bristles at the memory. "So I went downstairs, got the hammer and said to my husband, â€˜C'mon honey. We're going for a ride.'"
"For a while, I didn't realize what she was going to do until we got there," recalls Don, her husband.
Mona was anxious to drive home her point. "I leaned over the counter and started whacking their telephone and their computer keyboard. I said, â€˜Have I got your attention now?' When the police officer raced in, he yelled at me, â€˜Put down that hammer!' So I whacked the telephone one more time," she recounts with a satisfied smile. "I knew I was wrong, but at age 75, they weren't about to hang me. Somebody had to do something to wake them up."
"What was your thought process?" Dr. Phil asks, hiding a smile.
"I had to get their attention. That was the only thing. We live far enough out that if the house caught fire, if I had another heart attack " which I've had one before " and we had to call an ambulance, there was no way we could do it," Mona replies. "I had to do something to get a manager, somebody who would say, â€˜OK, we'll fix your phone, get you a phone.' When I went in there and smacked their phone, they told me to go out and sit in the hall again on that same darn bench! And I said, â€˜I've bee
n there, done that. No! I'm standing here until I get a manager.'"
"So after you busted up their equipment, they said, â€˜Would you have a seat in the lobby, please?'" Dr. Phil probes, trying to keep a straight face.
"Right," she replies. "Brilliant people."
Dr. Phil cannot contain his laughter. He turns to Mona's husband, Don, in the audience. "Did you know the plan when she said, â€˜Let's take a ride,' and got a hammer?" he asks.
"Not exactly," Don replies. "I thought she was going to maybe threaten somebody with it."
"Which would be OK, right?" Dr. Phil jokes. "You were down with that; you just didn't want her to bust up the equipment?"
"Right," Don answers.
"How are you at responding when she asks for something?"
"I've learned two words: â€˜Yes, dear,'" Don replies with a broad grin.
Dr. Phil turns back to Mona, observing that she's wearing a pin on her sweater. "My husband had that made for me on my 76th birthday. It is a gold hammer," she says proudly.
Dr. Phil introduces Michael Shames, Director of Utility Consumers Action Network, which protects consumers from utility abuse. "You don't recommend this particular approach?" Dr. Phil asks.
Michael shakes his head, laughing. He addresses Mona. "The funny thing is you heard the audience's [amused] reaction. Almost everyone has either gone through this, or has had somebody go through something like this, so you're not alone. But there are people out there w
ho, for a living, protect people like you who have gone through something like that," Michael explains. "You have state agencies, local agencies, consumer advocacy groups " all who could have taken your case on. Not only would it not have cost you $2,500 " I guess is what [lawyer fees] cost you " but you could have actually had the company pay you for having gone through the inconvenience you went through and the indignity you went through."
Dr. Phil reads a statement from Comcast: "We apologize for any customer service issues that Ms. Shaw experienced, and we are working hard to increase customer satisfaction. We handle more than 300 million customer interactions a year, and our goal is to deliver a positive experience to every customer, every time. There are thousands of employees working to reach this goal, and their safety is also of the utmost concern to us. We are making numerous improvements to help them better serve our customers, including giving our technicians new tools that will help improve on-time reliability, and we are also enhancing our training programs."
Noting Mona's disbelieving expression, Dr. Phil says, "You don't seem moved by that statement."
"Not an inch," she declares.
Mona presents Dr. Phil with a T-shirt designed by her church. The front reads "Brains and Backbone," and the back proclaims, "Have I Got Your Attention Now?"