Complaining Has Its Benefits

When you were growing up, you were probably told to “quit complaining” hundreds of times. I know I was, but that might just be because I was a picky, whiny child. I’m also a perfectionist, and whenever something didn’t meet my standards you can bet I would go running to mommy and daddy to complain about it.

When you grow up, though, some things change. The best thing to do isn’t to stop complaining when you have a legitimate concern, it is to complain “smartly”. And sometimes this will work in your favour.

For example, I’m a poor student and I can’t afford life. I bought myself some instant oatmeal because it is a cheap effort at dinner (yes I know it is for breakfast but I’m poor so I eat breakfast foods for every meal sometimes). Anyways, I buy the stuff, add water, and…

It turns into a disgusting mushy puddle of diarrhea.

Now here most people would either eat it anyway, or throw it out. But I don’t enjoy eating diarrhea, and I’m not about to throw out several dollars worth of dinners.

Instead, I decided to complain about it. But I decided to do it “smartly”.

Here’s how:

1. Know who you should be complaining to.

Your mom doesn’t care. No one on your Facebook feed wants to hear about your diarrhea oatmeal either. But you know who will care? The people who made it. Nowadays, there are so many brands out there that it would be simple for you to switch to a new brand. And the manufacturer knows that. From a business standpoint, it is easier to keep a customer than it is to go out and find a new one. As well, on average an extremely satisfied customer will tell 3 people, but a dissatisfied customer will tell 10. And with Twitter and Facebook, that 10 can easily become many more. Think about it: have you seen this happen? Someone on my Facebook told me that the movie “This Is 40” sucked. And with that I no longer want to see it because I don’t want to waste my time and money. It doesn’t matter how much hype it has gotten.

2. Get to the point.

The people you are complaining to don’t want to read a 10-page story on your experience with this oatmeal and how you’ll never ever ever ever be buying any of their products ever again. Be brief. Tell them what happened, and nothing else.

3. Emphasize brand relationships.

I grew up eating this particular brand of oatmeal. I loved that other kind that I tried. And I was just disappointed this time. By telling them that this isn’t your first time buying it, they know you will likely purchase again if the right circumstances occurred. It isn’t that you just don’t like oatmeal in general, which would be unfortunate but also means you never want to be a customer of theirs again so why are you bothering to complain in the first place? And remember, you want a tone of disappointment, not rage.

4. Leave your contact info.

Even if they don’t ask for it, leave them with a way to contact you. Even if it is just an email address, although many businesses require you to fill out a complete form with your contact information first. They may want to answer you about what you are complaining about. Or they may want to give you free stuff. Let’s be honest, that’s exactly what you’re trying to do here.

5. Get free stuff! (hopefully)

The business wants you to come back to them. So in their eyes, giving you a coupon for a free box of non-diarrhea oatmeal will encourage you to buy more in the future, and will most likely pay off. So it’s a win-win for everyone! And now you don’t need to eat diarrhea for dinner for the rest of the month!


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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

2 responses to “Complaining Has Its Benefits”

  1. Maurice A. Barry says :

    I would have picked generic corn flakes as something worth complaining about :>) In all seriousness, though, your advice strikes me as spot-on. Me–I complain too little. Hey–maybe I finally have the new years resolution I’ve been looking for :>)

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