Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Art of The Complaint

I wrote a complaint letter to the makers of a coffee maker that broke after having it less than a year.  These are the things women will do if left unattended for any length of time.  I actually didn't write a letter, but an email and of course, I got no response yet. Yes, I too am rather shocked.

 I don't have my receipt which, as I explained to customer service in my email,  no one keeps all their receipts unless they are gearing up for a starring role on "Hoarders." I don't expect to hear from the company customer service rep, or get any satisfaction but I just feel better about myself when I do things like this.  I feel like I'm making a difference, like I've uncovered their evil plot to steal money from every unsuspecting consumer on the planet (and their starving children)  and I will singlehandedly call them on their underhanded plots and demand that I get a refund, or at least something free, like a years worth of coffee, or maybe a gift card to Starbucks.  You see, I'm not doing this for myself, because hey I already ran out and bought another coffeemaker as I was getting the shakes.  I am doing this for all consumers everywhere.  You're welcome.  I'm also doing it  to take my mind off the fact that my neighbors are fixing up their house, and yesterday they jacked it up and I just know that bitch is only doing it to make it taller than mine. But that's another story for another day.

You know, once upon a time when women had free time and had martini's at three, they also wrote letters to the manufacturers of defective products. (some wrote them prior to 3:00PM and some wrote them at about 3:30, depending on whether alcohol helped or hindered the creative process of the individual woman.) I know one woman who wrote hers at 4:30PM and although she couldn't remember how successful her method really was, she was pretty happy with the whole process.

 I knew a woman who hadn't paid for diapers for her kids for years, since she wrote constantly to tell the company that the tapes didn't stick.  And it didn't stop at diapers.  Trucks were constantly pulling up at her house, with cartons of plastic wrap to replace the ones that wouldn't cling or didn't roll out of the dispenser properly, canned green beans to replace the ones that had yellow beans inside, and various products to replace the ones that didn't last as long as they should. I asked her once what her secret was and she said it was because she preferred a Pina Colada over a Martini.  But anyway, back then, you just wrote a letter.  Now you have to prove you're not a robot by sending in a DNA sample.  And still you'll never get your money back because they will trip you up every time by asking you for your damned receipt which you will say that you have, but you know that you don't, or if you are one of the ones that do keep these things, you know you'll never find it as it's mixed in with all the others in the the ten year old, half empty box of Frosted Flakes that is buried somewhere under the 28 years worth of garbage piled in the basement.

To this day, the most money I have every received for my writing was due to a complaint letter. One New Year's Day when I was about to make an expensive roast, I nearly fainted from the stench of the meat after it was released from its wrapping.  Obviously my dinner was ruined and I had to figure out how to celebrate the new year in a traditional way as I strolled the aisles of the quicky-mart.

 Needless to say I brought the meat back to the store the next day for a refund and the bitchy-faced woman behind the counter stared at my meat, poked and prodded it as she looked at me accusingly.  She was so suspicious of my intentions that honestly I thought she was going to fingerprint me and send me into  the back room to be interrogated, and I said so in a letter to the manager I wrote hours later after my bail was posted and I had received my reimbursement.

A few days later the manager called me, told me how much he enjoyed my letter and while laughing, told me he would send me a $25.00 gift card to the supermarket. I thought the laughing part was a sure sign that I'd never see the card, as it was completely possible he was sleeping with Bitchy Face,  however I did receive a gift card for not $25.00 but $50.00, which brings me to the moral of this story.  A complaint letter need not be dry and boring, nor does it need to be angry and confrontational.

The more entertaining the letter, even if you lie about and exaggerate about pretty much everything, the more chance you have of seeing the Pampers or perhaps the Depends truck in your driveway, depending on what part of your life's journey you're enjoying. Look, do you think the person who reads complaint letters feels fulfilled in his/her career?  Right. Customer service people have very boring, predictable, soul destroying jobs that brings in barely enough money to buy store brand no-name food, which even they have to complain about via email, claiming it was somehow unsafe for human consumption, in order to get refunds or coupons for free food, so if your letter gives them a laugh or otherwise brightens their day (hey would it hurt you to talk a little dirty for free stuff?) then my advice is Just Do It.

As for Pina Cola vs the Martini thing, well I'm pretty convinced the drinking part is a person decision.  I lean towards good wine myself.


  1. Let me tell you about what I have learned about complaint emails in this day and age...I give them two times of me writing to them and then resending my first email if I receive no response...make sure you are sending to their CORPORATE OFFICE, if you can find an address - that seems to be the only way I can get a company's attention (I have tangled with Ashley Furniture this past year, over a purchased warranty that they "thought" they would deny, and one other that I used these steps on; I also took Olive Garden to task over treatment of my parents on a night out that I sent them on!). THEN, I write back, very calmly but firmly, and explain that this is now the THIRD time I have taken the time to write with no word from them, and that I am assuming at that point that they will not be abject to me doing social media postings about their products, both on my personal blog, and Facebook. I usually have a response within a took Ashley 20 minutes! Good luck with the Coffee Maker...sounds like you may need more wine! Happy Monday!

    1. Oh, you played the Social Media card you sly dog, you. Good one. I will too!!

  2. Well...1st I'm glad you're back...2nd I like your spin on the unimaginative and sulky customer complaint letter...if I didn't know you better I'd say you were being kind???and 3rdly I will be widening the house next week!

    1. First, don't call me kind, except maybe if you whisper it, write it in secret code your diary, or write it on a piece of paper, put it in a bottle and throw it far out into the ocean. your house widens, so shall your ass. !!! I hath spake.


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