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: Wacktrap Helps Consumers Ditch Stress Through Therapy by the Paragraph
[April 11, 2011]

: Wacktrap Helps Consumers Ditch Stress Through Therapy by the Paragraph

Apr 11, 2011 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- What does a 78-year-old grandmother, who prefers square-dancing to technology, have in common with a website driven by connections made online? Experience. Lots of it.

Wacktrap ( co-founders Shannon Miller and Suzanne Ziesche are responsible for creation and development of the website that snares all the crazy things that happen in life, makes them searchable, and connects people through their experiences.

"Things happen every day, that make you want to shake your head at how ridiculous they are, laugh at the absurdity, or even scream with frustration," says Ziesche. "Whether it's the company that tells you something outlandish, another employee or customer that makes you want to hang your head in your hands, a bizarre experience at a restaurant, bank, gas station - or something that's just plain ironic, funny or has a twist.

Wacktrap is therapy by the paragraph." Mona Shaw made a first and lasting impression on Comcast and the nation in 2007, earning the grandmother a most unusual nickname: "The Hammer Lady." The Virginia woman was simply trying to upgrade her existing service to Comcast's popular "Triple Play" plan. In its own version of a triple play, Comcast failed three times - in one week. After experiencing a "no-show" for the first appointment, a second technician who failed to complete the job, and a disconnected phone line of 34 years, Mona Shaw was at her wit's end.

On her first visit to the local call center, Mona Shaw and her husband waited on an outside bench in summer heat, told that a manager would "be right out." Shaw says a curt employee returned two hours later with news that the manager had left for the day. The Comcast customer then returned home to a disconnected landline. Finally forced to contact the company from a cellular phone and wend her way through endless menu options, Shaw was promised a return call. But that call had never arrived when Shaw returned to the call center - with a hammer.

The 75-year-old had smashed an office keyboard, tumbled a computer monitor, and marked an office telephone as her next victim, before asking the employee from the previous Friday, "Have I got your attention now?" "Whether or not Mona Shaw had the proper attention of the cable company, she certainly had ours," says Ziesche, "because we know her frustration is mirrored by millions nationwide, across every industry." "It's totally not like me to do stuff like this," Shaw said in an interview.

As secretary of the local square-dancing club, Registered Nurse and Air Force retiree, activist in animal rescues, regular church-goer, and marriage partner of nearly 50 years, Shaw's life credentials seemed to match her claim.

"There's a reason that people instantly understand and relate to the phrase 'it makes my blood boil,' says Ziesche. "You don't have to be Mona Shaw to know how upsetting experiences can make you feel, and the impact that stress has on the body and mind." The woman was rushed to a hospital after the Comcast debacle, over raised concerns of a heart attack. "My blood pressure went up around my ears," said Shaw. "I started hyperventilating." In the aftermath Shaw was hailed as a hero nationwide. The show of public support for the square-dancing grandmother, say the Wacktrap founders, is no mystery. "Of course the nation finds Mona Shaw intriguing," says Ziesche, "because people can relate." Before the Wacktrap founders became familiar with the story of Mona Shaw, they had one of their own. Miller and Ziesche had researched and hired a contractor they believed was reputable. Instead, fewer and fewer parts of the job were completed, as the experience turned anything but standard.

"Things were really dragging," says Miller. "We were having a hard time even getting him to show up, let alone finish." When the contractor suddenly phoned for final payment, it was under the guise that work was completed. "We were surprised by the suddenness of communication, and relieved," says Ziesche. But any relief proved short-lived.

The job site revealed work to be far from complete. "When we arrived, we did note one significant difference," says Ziesche, "and it didn't involve the bullet list of work to be done." The contractor had caused extensive damages that added up to a hefty price tag - of nearly $7,000. "We were stunned," says Miller, "and still speechless when the phone rang." But things were about to get more bizarre.

The late contractor phoned to say he'd been in a car accident. "It was a new twist in a scenario where we -- more - hadn't even processed what had already happened. I was just about to ask if he was alright," says Ziesche, "but couldn't get the words out fast enough.

Then I heard him say, 'and it's all your fault.' If we were shocked previously, we were floored at that point," says Ziesche. "We were still trying to figure out what step to take next, when there was a knock on the door." The women found the contractor slumped in the building's doorframe. He offered a three-word greeting. "We couldn't believe it," says Ziesche.

"We'd no sooner opened the door when he said, 'you torture me." Those three words marked the beginning of Wacktrap.

Miller and Ziesche realized people need an outlet and the ability to connect in a healthy way - to help cut negative stress in the crazy and bizarre things that life throws their way. "When you feel like you're alone in an experience, it can be overwhelming. People can be at a complete loss as to what to do, how to react or even act," says Miller. "But no matter how odd, crazy or even upsetting an experience is, someone else has had a similar one. We're connecting those experiences and those people - in what becomes a powerful, positive force." "It's hard to have your blood pressure go up when you're laughing or connecting over similar experiences," says Miller. "Life is crazy. That fact isn't changing. Experiences are unavoidable but how we handle those experiences dramatically changes how we feel, and how we enjoy life.

The Wacktrap website is simple to use, free, and sign-up takes less than a minute. Users post a "wack" -- their personal experience or insights about their world or the world around them - and can easily add an uploaded photo, related video or website. "If you've experienced it, read it, heard it, or seen it and find it laughable, unbelievable, ironic, outrageous, irritating, lousy, lame, infuriating, outrageously good or ridiculously bad, a bit bizarre, or just plain crazy, you've got a wack," says Ziesche, "and we've got the place." Wacktrap is cheaper than a therapist - and a lot more fun.

To learn more about Suzanne Ziesche and Shannon Miller, the two female entrepreneurs who hail from Southern California, contact: Wacktrap ( Wacktrap Press Tel: 323.988.7272 E-mail: [email protected] ((M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at on the world wide web. Inquiries to [email protected].

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