Monday, May 9, 2011

To complain or not to complain, that is the question...

Some people wonder if it's worth it to complain about things that go wrong. In a restaurant, you have poor service, or poor food, or something isn't clean. Is it worth it to complain? I say yes.

In the past week I have had three negative experiences. Each time I complained, but I complained the right way. The outcome? GREAT!

I had a meal at Chili's in a local town. The food was good, but I couldn't finish it, so I took it home. When I started eating the salad at home I found a large piece of hard plastic in it. I threw the salad out, and sent an email to the corporate office. The next day the manager of the Chili's called me. She was super apologetic, and explained that she would be retraining her staff. She also asked if I would allow her to send me $20 for my next visit. Worth it? Yes.

But here's the thing - I wasn't rude, I didn't yell, I didn't use foul language. I just stated the facts. I found plastic in my salad. I was grossed out. That's all they needed to hear.

Here's another recent example. I was eating some wheat bread and I noticed it tasted STRONGLY of rye. I tried eating several pieces, all tasting of rye. I don't like rye bread, so I called the company. They apologized and sent me $15 in coupons to purchase new bread. Worth complaining? Definitely!

This is a unique example that hasn't ever happened to me before. Around Easter, I got 2 bags of Peanut Butter Eggs for my daughter that were smashed. I don't mean they were slightly misshapen, I mean they were totally smooshed. I wrote to Hershey and told them about it. They sent me $2. I was kind of upset. On one hand, they offered me something, but on the other they had said they would totally replace the 2 bags, and here I was with $2 which wouldn't even buy one bag. So, I wrote again, as polite as the first time but I explained that I paid $6 for the 2 bags on sale and I expected they would send me similar compensation. So they did. They sent me 2 more coupons for $3 off. So instead of $2, I now had $8 to replace the smashed treats, and the coupons are good until October! (Halloween candy, anyone?)

My point is this, when you are not satisfied, and it's reasonable to be dissatisfied, there is value in saying something. The company learns, they keep you as a valued customer, and you are restored to the same or better state most of the time than you started!!

When we are thankful, I think it's important to also tell the place of business. We always call the manager over when we have stellar service. It frightens the server, and surprises the managers. Why? Take a look at the picture, gratitude is rarely expressed. Try it next time you have great service, you'll make somebody's day!

Disney Dreaming,



  1. Fabulous article, you might include that some companies will send coupons when you contact them telling them you like them. I always try to let companies know when something is wrong, not for the chance of getting something of course but cause well you just should that way they can make it better!

  2. I've had great luck complaining directly to corporate also. Plus, if it's a restaurant, you don't ruin the risk of spit in your food. I don't know if anyone actually does that, but better to be safe than sorry! Following from the Alexa hop.

  3. Great post. You are so right about complaining the "right way."

    Visiting from the alexa blog hop!
    Chase’s View

  4. Yup, I totally agree--no reason to be a big old B about it, I have the same philosophy...
    here from the alexa hop

  5. Very good words of encouragement! Just like you said, complain in a polite way! Be grateful for what you do have ;)

    Stopping by from the Alexa hop. Thank you for stopping by my place already