Accio Jacksons!

An 11-inch holly blog with a phoenix feather core

The value of a well-directed complaint

by Rebecca on 2008-10-16

In recent weeks, Iʼve learned the value of a well-directed complaint. I offer up some examples.


A few weeks ago, back when our hummus obsession was in full swing (thanks to Lorraine), we bought some pita chips to eat with our first batch of homemade hummus. We, ahem, ate the entire (small-ish) bag for lunch that day because it was all so, so delicious. But the chips were kind of crushed up, so William thought it would be nice to email the company and let them know about the fragility of their product. And then one day we came home from work and found a giant box waiting for us. It was from the pita company, and this is what it had inside:


I buy Lean Cuisines for us for lunch because (a) Iʼm still sick of sandwiches from all those years of eating them as a kid, and (b) we donʼt always have enough leftovers to feed us both. I figure if Iʼm going to eat convenience food, it should at least be somewhat healthy, right? I had one a few weeks ago, and some of the chicken had gristle in it. And it had two little snips of red pepper in it, hardly the confetti-colored concotion depicted on the front of the package. So, I filled out a form on the Lean Cuisine site letting them know about these shortcomings, and yesterday, I received coupons for two Lean Cuisines and more.


HEB has Meal Deals, where if you buy, say, 2 packages of hot dogs, you get for free buns, mustard, pickles, soda, and some Twinkies. The idea is that you get a bunch of free complementary foods if youʼre willing to spring for the big one. (I know those of you who donʼt live in central Texas must be terribly jealous of this truly amazing grocery store.) A few weeks ago, we got a package of mini Baby Ruth bars with our Meal Deal. They were free, lest there be any ambiguity here. William noticed that about half of them had been improperly sealed and were open on the ends. So, he contacted Nestle via their website, and lo and behold, two days ago, he received a bundle of coupons for free candy. Itʼs like Halloween, except we get to pick out what we want instead of being at the mercy of the toothbrush, penny, and Dollar Tree candy crowd.


Pei Wei. I love their food. Itʼs almost always good. But the last meal I got there was chicken teriyaki, and there was a bone in the chicken. So, I emailed, or some equivalent cyberspace black hole, somewhat skeptical that I would get a response. But I did! They were terribly sorry about my awful, miserable experience, and hoped that they had not lost me as a customer forever (they havenʼt) and wanted to win back my affections by sending me a little something for my anguish. Really, the letter was a masterpiece of groveling. Yesterday, a $10 gift card showed up in my mail box. (Yesterday was a really great mail day. We also got our digital converter box coupons from The Government.)


And this is my absolute favorite. We booked a cruise in January, and we are so so excited to leave in less than a month. (Not the point of this story, but I just had to share my anticipation!) In some of my research, it came to my attention that the current price of our cruise is about half of what we paid for it. What? Did we get ripped off big time? Probably. So, I thought, “I am learning about the value of a well-directed complaint. Letʼs see if it works here.“ So, I emailed our travel company to say, “I want to be compensated for the difference.” And after 2 days of thrilling twists and turns, which I will spare you because this post is already far too long, we received (a) $550 back on our cruise, and (b) an upgraded stateroom with a balcony.

Lesson learned.