Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

How Do You Complain – Gracefully?

So, I’m of the ethos that if you don’t like your meal, you send it back. It’s how I was raised, and I don’t have any sense of shame about that. When you pay for something, you should get your money’s worth. 

HOWEVER, I also believe there’s a polite way to do it, and a wrong way.
Sometimes I don’t manage to do it the polite way.
Today I accepted delivery of a piece of furniture, and, guess what? It arrived badly scratched.  I’m afraid I freaked out a little bit. I was standing out in the freezing cold, trying to communicate with the truck driver, who did not speak my language very well, that I was unhappy and that the damage was unacceptable. Turned out, the people I needed to complain to weren’t the delivery guys but the original shippers. But before I figured that out, I was a bit curt with the guys. Not mean, not nasty, but not exactly cordial either. After all, they had wanted to drop the damn thing off a block away and make me drag it home from the curb, which wasn’t exactly what I signed up for. Had I not demanded they do the right thing, they would have left me completely in the lurch. Still, I didn’t like getting all up in their grilles, so to speak.
I’d prefer to be a master of decorum and serenity all the time. I want to always treat people with kindness and understanding. But there are times when, in the heat of a moment, I don’t find that easy. I ended up emailing a very strongly worded, yet reasonable letter to the shipper, who promised to rectify matters. Let’s hope he does, because I really hate confrontation, but I’m not afraid to stand up for myself either.
How about you? Are you afraid to make a stink, or are you comfortable with confrontation?
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posted February 11, 2010 at 6:52 am

As a child of God complaining isn’t what He would nwant us to do…rather speak encouraging words over the situation…speak what you would have it be…pray and trust in the Lord to bring it about…in His goood time…speak life and victory into every situation, every obstacle ….

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posted February 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm

This is not complaining, but actually receiving what you requested and are willing to pay for. I believe that even God allows us to represent ourselves and even Jesus became angry with immoral acts that’s people do to each other and against God as well.

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posted April 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

I agree

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Your Name20callenderslady

posted May 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

I smiled when I read this. It is so me! Right down to the email to the shipper rather than picking up the phone to discuss it. I too deplore confrontation and despise myself if I lose my cool, but how do personalities such as ours avoid the inner stress caused by not speaking our minds.
I would have handled the problem in exactly the same way that you did, and I believe that approach works most of the time and is far better than blowing up like a grenade when things aren’t going quite as planned. We can still get things off our chests in an email without being rude or aggressive. There’s a very old saying that you can catch more flies with sugar than vinegar!

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David Altschul

posted January 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

The keys: Complain to the person who can rectify the matter. Focus on the result. Refrain from “making a stink”: that only mkaes your audience want to shut the door on you.

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posted May 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

belated post.I’ve had mo,emts when my self-posession and grace were remarkable ( for me)- other times when I have lost it. sometimes I’ve lost it at the “right”person, sometimes the “wrong” person. When you lose it YOU end up feeling worse — whatever actually happens. “losing it” is a sign that I am feeling threatened and or disrespected … maybe used. There are definitely tomes when I think you have to stand up – insist that whoever is on the other side of the contract honors his commitment – in part because it usually isn’t about you. That way, you give the other person or company a chance to make things right – it’s a lot better than bad mouthing some one/place on the internet when they may not even know what happened.
I’ve had – this is funny to me – the delivery guy pointing out a problem to me – and advising me not to accept the delivery (lots of those guys are nice people). I have also called and started complaining to — the wrong company! I’ve learned that if I have an issue which requires explanation and which is bound to lead to extreme – put it in writing. Most of the “customer reps” are in sad positions where their main role is to serve as buffers. A letter is more likely to end up at the right place. Sometimes it’s amazing – I had a Toyota 4-Runner which blew a head gasket way too early in it’s life – expensive repair – the dealer offered no help but a letter to the company brought full reimbursement. In truth though – there are a lot of things that I think people let go but shouldn’t – overcharges and poor treatment – because they do not have time, and do not like the process. Ideally – face the problem, but don’t let it get your goat.

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