Complaining About Service

bad service
It is often said that us folk dwelling here on this island struggle to complain about bad service. We look toward Americans, who have full on smiling customer service, who complain if they’re greeted with bad service, return food if it is wrong, or talk to a manager if they receive less that an A* experience, and sigh ‘why are we rubbish at complaining?’

When eating out, in most places the waiter will come over a few moments after the food arrives to ask how something is and if something is wrong most of us will just chew our way through it and do that half smile/half nod thing. Then we get outside and say, ‘pah I wish I’d eaten at home, that wasn’t what I expected’ and moan about it all the way home. Complaining about being sent the wrong food or it tasting wrong is really hard here in the UK because so few of us do it, it isn’t expected and isn’t handled well.

Recently Mr Thrifty and I went out with some friends to a burger place. We ordered onion rings and when we started to eat them we found they tasted of fish…seriously, it was like sucking on a kipper. So when the guy came back to ask if everything was okay, we told him what was up. He apologised and said he’d fetch the manager. I almost wish I hadn’t bothered. She came storming over and asked what was wrong, when we told her about our fishy onion rings she started on a tirade about how no fish was cooked on the premises and it must be our own tastes. She really laid into us and made us feel in the wrong for taking up her time with a complaint about £3 onion rings. Ummm…was there any point whatsoever in the waiter asking if everything was ok?

Eventually as we were about to leave she came over with £3 on a plate and huffed ‘I made the kitchen re fry them and they had used too much oil, you were right they did taste weird.’ No sorry, no nothing. On her heel she turned and that was the last we saw of her. This is not the way it should be. Not in a burger chain, not in a bar, not in a five star restaurant.

On Wednesday I was due to have two deliveries arrive. I’d paid for them to be sent as next day delivery however one of them won’t arrive until today because this particular dress company were ‘too busy to send’ it out on Tuesday. The second was from ASOS, I’d paid almost £6 to have something important delivered but their driver decided to say he had knocked on my door and I wasn’t in when in fact I’d been sat outside my front door working all day and not one single car, van or person had entered my driveway.  Complaints to both companies have been taken as some little airy-fairy woman wanting her pwetty dwesses and not one sorry was so much as offered. Why should we accept service like that?

No more dear readers, no more. For every bad service experience I receive I will make complaints, I will ask for refunds, expenses and more. I will write letters by the score, phone head office, tweet, email and generally shout it from the roof tops. We should no longer let bad customer service wash over us. The price of staffing, deliveries etc. is paid for by us (yes some people aren’t paid a lot but that is a whole other issue entirely) and yet we accept being treated like total utter crap. Bad service is a waste of our money. If the service is going to be crap I’d rather spend my money elsewhere or not spend it at all.

If you’re paying for food, service, delivery or a product and you don’t receive the correct item or it doesn’t arrive in the correct manner – complain. If we all start doing it, it will become common place and we won’t feel our money is wasted.


P.S. I’m not sure I could take the ultra happy, cheerful service I’ve received in America for longer than a 2 week holiday but there are so many parts of their service I was impressed by.



  1. Hear hear :) but when you receive good service, I think you should compliment it too. Having worked as a waitress for the last year, it’s almost nicer being told you did a good job by a sincere customer, than being given a tip (although that’s always nice too..). If people did that, I think people in service giving jobs would be more willing to up their game and give good service :)

  2. Good for you. I am glad you spoke up and complained. You expected the shop to keep its promise and they failed to comply.
    It is even better when you put your complaint in writing because then you keep a copy on your computer.
    Another strategy is to post your complaint on Twitter. Boy! That works!
    Remember that in these days of a multicultural society some people firmly believe that they are superior when they cheat other people. This shows that they have power over others. Some people are also very competitive. They believe that treating you like dirt shows they are the winner and you are a loser.
    It is a tricky path, but you must not let bad service become the norm.

    • I’m quite baffled by this comment – what does the fact that we live in a ‘multicultural society’ have to do with poor customer service?

    • I’m curious about that comment too. Please explain.

    • I have zero idea what living in a multi-cultural society has to do with this issue either. Could we have an explanation Louise? Or are you going to continue to make inflammatory comments & not come back to defend them as with the ‘puffy’ comment on my video post recently?

  3. BRAVO! Sign me up!! In this day and age where every frugal penny really does count, a small snack out is a treat. I take time out to praise good service like mad (my last example was this week when one of the GP’s receptionists was brilliantly helpful on the phone – I asked for the name of the practice manager to write to and told her how impressed I was with her level of service), but you are RIGHT.
    From now on I will politely and firmly let folk know when something is not acceptable, and will let you know how it goes!

  4. I was out with my parents in a pub restaurant and ordered a fish and chips. This being the kind of place with awards on the walls, I was expecting great things. Instead, my fish was literally sat in a pool of oil (I’m not exaggerating). I told my parents I couldn’t eat it and they thought I was joking, but then my mum tried it and actually spat it out. We complained (after much debate) at the end of the meal and the girl at the bar looked so shocked it was almost comical, but they were actually quite polite and we got a refund for not just my dish, but the whole meal.

  5. I love this post! I went to Thorpe park once and only got on one ride due to “technical difficulties”. I wrote a letter to complain, saying I was a student and paying that price for just one ride was ridiculous, and our whole group got free tickets!

    I also once found a hair in one of my cookies from Sainsburys… I complained and got a £20 voucher. It’s really worth it sometimes.

  6. You are so right and I always complain when stuff is wrong. I hate when you hit the airport in the Uk after a trip to America. The service is just so depressing.

  7. Completely agree. I actually make a point of telling a manager in a supermarket or restaurant if the service has been particularly good, so I’m not sure why I’m too nervous to do the same for complaining! I have however complained about exactly the same behaviour with couriers, but they seem to be a lost cause…

  8. ooh, this rattles my cage!

    I AM one of lifes complainers. I think it’s something that has got stronger since becoming a mum. Before I would complain with a red face, now I don’t care,and complain loud and proud! This is so my little one knows you don’t have to pipe it down, you can voice your opinions in a reasonable way and don’t have to put up with rubbish.
    On the flip side, I think it’s important to praise where it is due so I do that too.

    Frankie & Benny’s have had a good moan to HO when the waitress had the most vile attitude. Things were ‘forgotten’ and the only time she perked up was when the manager arrived. Complaint there.

    A drive through McDonalds got a phone call, after we placed an order and asked for onion rings, but were told by a Grumpy Madam at the window that ‘we don’t sell them’. oh really, then why the big piece of advertising on THE WINDOW besdie you???!! When pointed out, she changed her story and then said as it was early, they weren’t ready yet. Well, that doesn’t mean you don’t sell them, it means there would be a wait. When my husband complained at the next window – because I was fuming, this young flippery gibbert gave him such an evil look because he dared to ask for onion rings it’s amazing he didn’t turn to stone – the rest of the staff leapt to her defence and argued with HIM. Nope. should have said sorry. So on the way home, a phone call was made to the manager. We didn’t want freebies, that was not the point, he really needed to know about the incredibly poor service and rude staff.

    I’ve rowed in Asda when a woman on the till was disgusting rude to a person in front of me. There was no need for it and I told her so.

    Sainsbury’s had a phonecall on Mother’s Day, when the chicken I bought for the day hadn’t been properly prepared internally. That’s all I can say about that, it was horrible, but the CS bloke dealt with it well & they sent a voucher to cover the cost + some.

    I paid for Next Day delivery with BooHoo dot com for some boots that took over two weeks to arrive!! Complained. That really is not good enough. They didn’t even say sorry, so I’ve not shopped there since.

    And, I have a list about a teacher who irritated me beyond belief when my girl was in Reception at school. I’ve since had a run in with her again, and I have no doubt she’ll irritate me another time and I need to take it further, I’ve got my list of grieviences complete with times and dates from 2011.
    I have seen how hard teachers work, so I’ve held back for now. But I won’t forever.

    I don’t complain lightly. I worked full time in retail from 1988 until 1996, I know how hard it can be to work with the public. Sometimes people treat you like poo, but there is no need to treat everyone as if they are the enemy. (When I worked in a perfume shop, this old geezer seemed nice, was chatting away and asked me about cricket. I laughed and said ‘oh, I don’t know about cricket’, his response was, ‘what do you know about? drugs?’ eh? what the heck? Obviously he got short shrift from that because it was rude and just because I was young he assumed I took drugs in my spare time!!! idiot.)
    My point is, I don’t go out of my way to complain, BUT. I will complain. If it’s justified, if service is rubbish, if someone is out of order.

    I know a lot of people who won’t say a word, and I get that. But you have to speak out. You just have to.


  9. I agree – we should stand up for ourselves and complain when we feel the need too! Let’s go girls! (and men!)

  10. Absolutely agree, I’ve got much better about complaining, even if it brings no immediate results I feel. The trick is to go to the right person – my husband is lactose intolerant so we buy lactose free milk when it’s available! I’ve been given the run around by supermarket staff, told to ‘just buy the goat’s milk, it’s the same’! My favourite rubbish response was ‘we don’t sell much, there’s no call for it’ when I suggested they might sell more if the shelf wasn’t empty! Now I’ve spoken to CS – if it’s not there they order it in, that shows there’s a demand and so far it seems to be working. I do always praise good service (which from my experiences in America I’m not sure happens so much). My brother has lived in the US and says this is common place sadly, expectation is so high acknowledgement of good service can get overlooked.. So I’m complaining and praising with equal emphasis, we can make a difference!

  11. I’m usually useless at complaining! Just yesterday I was in browns in Newcastle for breakfast and I saw my breakfast (eggs florentine) sitting ready under the heated shelf for over 20 minutes whilst they cooked my husbands full English. When it arrived the sauce had a thick skin, the egg yolk had turned dry and the muffin was quite cold. Did I complain? No because I’m an idiot! I did once go all out on a new look complaint when the deputy manager accused me of lying about only wearing my broken shoes once! I was do fuming and ended up getting a refund, extra vouchers and a letter from the big boss after complaining to head office. X

  12. I cant agree more with your post. I always speak up (I work hard for my money and im not planning on just throwing it at companies and not get what I paid for back).having lived in the UK i did have some bad experiences but i just escalated them all (i asked to speak to the manager etc), if you want to know what NON EXISTENT customer service is come to Holland.I cant even remember how many times I have been told ‘if you don’t like it leave’ or ‘ yes this is how it is,bummer if you don’t like it’.even when you try and escalate things here, the customer is never EVER right!GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  13. I had the same problem with Parcel Force a few weeks ago. OH was home all day & no one rang the bell, the card was left saying the parcel was now in the local post office waiting for me to collect….. this is no where near where I work so impossible for me to get to. I had paid extra as I needed it for the Saturday. I called & it was arranged for the parcel to be delivered to work on the Friday… no show! When I called they told me it had gone to the depot which is miles from my home! A friend took me down on Saturday am to collect & they wouldn’t let me have it as I don’t have a driving licence……finally they agreed to let me take it. I was planning on sending a letter of complaint but to be honest I can’t be arsed!

    Having worked with the public for the last 22 years I think our main problem is when we complain we feel we should be angry & aggressive…. I can tell this does not work! I’ve heard it all….. you’ve ruined my wedding, my wife is pregnant, a family member is dying & you’ve ruined the last few weeks of their lives….. making a member of staff feel guilty will not help you. Present the facts in a calm way …. if you’re calm you will find you get a lot further!!

  14. I 100% agree as I’ve also had my fair share of bad / shocking customer service. Recently had a big issue with a large mobile phone provider that was going on for a year maybe more, I was advised by a friends husband to go on this website – and find the address for this company and send my email direct to the CEO. Initially I was sceptical and also slightly embarrassed about harassing him directly and explained that in my email….low and behold a call came through the very next day and my issue was sorted within the week!! Eeee…..I love a good rant. X

  15. I rarely comment on blogs but I HAD to comment on this. I cannot stand bad customer service and will speak out against it if something isn’t right. I like to complain about things if they need complaining about, otherwise places will never know to improve. I recently had a bad delivery (something showing as being delivered AND signed for, with a name attached, but nothing had arrived) and I made sure I complained to head office and the delivery company. When I was treated like shit for daring to take a closed drink into Zara, head office bloody well heard about it.

    We should start a hash tag to report bad service and complaining about it!

    Catherine x

  16. Completely agree! Complainers of the UK UNITE! I love your picture by the way :)

  17. Yep. If I don’t get anywhere after the first complaint now I go straight to the top of the company. CEOs don’t like being bombarded with complaints so it tends to get dealt with pretty sharply (yes BT and Mothercare, I’m looking at you). The only time I’ve not had any response at all is Morrisons.

  18. I never used to complain about anything as I always thought it was more hassle than it was worth, although recently that changed and I did a while blog post similar to this one saying that you should indeed complain when you feel you have not received what you paid for. Last month my brother and I ordered a pizza, which took ages to arrive. When i phoned to ask where it was, he simply said ‘you chose collection, so come and collect it’. I said I didn’t and that I can’t get there, so he rudely said they have to make another one now and deliver it. When it arrived it was like they had thrown it around the room first. I took a photo and complained, and got a £15 voucher to spend. I was pleased that they apologised and took what I said into consideration.

  19. Well said. I nearly always feel like this if we ever eat out and really struggle to complain because I worry when the waiter goes back to the kitchen with my plate of food to rectify the problem (most often overcooked food or wilted going brown salad)they will do something horrid like spit in the food.
    Don’t know if things like this still happen but hence I don’t tend to complain.
    Must try harder

  20. I agree bad service is so common everywhere, I’ve been in the same situations, in a restaurant and our food took over an hour to arrive , we complained after half an hour and they kept saying it would be another 5 mins- it wasn’t! Or I ordered something from Topshop, next day delivery and it took 4 days to arrive.
    Daniella x

  21. I agree! Complaints all the way :) xxx

  22. I completely agree with you and i have for a few years strongly complained when service is crap, food is wrong etc.. And when i’m met with a snotty response i tell them they are inappropriate and most likely with chains if you mention you will take it to head office they change their tune. We shouldn’t stand for things like that when we work hard for our cash and i for one expect what i payed for.

  23. do not get me started on this! my husband literally cringes with embarrassment when I complain! I am never rude, but it irritates the hell out of me when I am spending my money and the standard is low :/

  24. Like sadie, I am one of life’s complainers. My blog is littered with rants about various company’s dreadful service or shoddy products. 9 times out of 10 these companies make amends. The web is a powerful thing.

    I also agree with Kayleigh though – we should definitely also take the time to compliment those who get it right both for the sake of the company and its employees, and to encourage others to use those willing to go the extra mile.

  25. We complained after buying a mattress and it not turning up on the promised days twice, ended up over a week late, but each promised delivery day we’d brought the old mattress down stairs. Wasn’t til we demanded if it wasn’t here next day we’d want a full refund. They could manage it then. We got a refund on the delivery cost of £35 and a £50 voucher.

  26. Hear, hear!!! And don’t get me started on taking time off to wait a washing machine that never arrives!!! xxx

  27. I’ve become really vocal when it comes to complaining; we’re in a recession and every penny counts- to both us AND the companies. So if I’m unhappy, I will tell the company. Their response will decide whether I buy from them again. I had a bad experience with a knitting supply company recently and blogged about it. Despite three years of loyal custom, they didn’t give a monkeys. Voila- someone else got my business!

  28. I used to not really complain either but for the past 2 years or so I have had some bad experiences, and now I always try to complain. I am currently in an email war for a defective headphones and I am definitely not letting go considering the price I paid. I think people don’t complain as often in Europe because it’s time consuming and I feel like companies don’t care as much as in The USA.

  29. Totally. I complained to my local council last week (put COMPLAINT in an email – it works!) after trying to get hold of someone for over a month then immediately received a phone call from their Head of Department. It pays to be stroppy sometimes!

  30. I’ve not complained all that much but once felt it entirely necessary following an experience in my local Boots. After waiting for some time to speak to the pharmacist as I had an ear infection and couldn’t get to the doctor, before even allowing me to speak she said “did you want the morning after pill”! Not only crappy service but insulting to take one look at me and make that kind of assumption. Funnily enough, no reply to my letter. Harrumph!

    Great post as ever!

  31. Some people seem to have made making complaints into an art form and have refunds and gift vouchers galore. I was recently spoken to like I was a piece of crap by a government building receptionist. I was so upset I sent a complaint letter. I had mentioned in the letter that they were running late and the receptionist shouted at me when I said I couldn’t sit in chairs for over an hour (with my 3 year old). The letter wasn’t about the delay, it was about the bitch behind the counter, but they picked up on the delay element and sent me a 2 page letter (verbal dribble) about delays, appointment systems and the customer charter. And guess what they said about the receptionist Q – “Since I was not present during the incident I cannot comment on the behavior of the receptionist” It took 6 weeks to get that reply. Can you guess how MAD I am right now about it.

  32. In the past, I felt quite bad about complaining. I’ve worked in both retail and in food service and I personally have always tried my best to help customers and make them happy, so I just assume that everyone else does too.

    Recently though, I’ve been letting my American side slip out (I have spent more time than usual back at home in the States this past year, maybe that’s why…) and I’ve been a lot more willing to complain if I receive shoddy service. I’m polite but firm – Asda recently beautifully messed up my sofa order and I had tons of problems from the second I ordered it – and after I complained (and pulled them up on the fact that they’d breached my consumer rights) they refunded some of the money to me. Asda, O2, my landlord, small online shops… I’ve had problems with them all recently!

    If you don’t complain, someone else might receive the same rubbish service that you have. If you do complain, amends will probably be made and they’ll know for next time :) Stand up for yourself & get the service you deserve and have paid for!

  33. Such a brilliant post! I am quite partial to a complaint if I feel it is justified and normally have received good service afterwards. X

  34. In the last few years I have started complaning (although not in restaurants, I’m not brave enough for face to face yet) and it generally worlds wonders. I’ve had vouchers,refunds,free tickets and apologies. People need to start complaning if things aren’t up to scratch. And I do compliment too if things are great!! Xxx

  35. Late deliveries are the worst for me too. I once waited for a bike to arrive ‘next day’ for 4 days, then it accidentally went to the (honest) next door neighbour. The problem is often with the courier company not the seller so I felt a bit bad for them… they were really helpful when I called up and even offered to get a new bike sent to a local bike shop they knew, but they too were the ‘customer’ being let down by the courier.

    There is a restaurant blog I follow about ‘bad’ customers. As someone who used to work in a similar environment, I can hardly bear to read it. Their idea of ‘unreasonable’ or rude is disgusting at times. Sadly although the blog is hilarious, I don’t think the blogger realises it puts people off going there.

  36. I completely agree, I have an open complaint with the royal mail and their “we’re sorry you were out cards” my postman is a lazy sod who writes those cards out rather than bringing the parcel out of the depot at all! Fills me with rage! x

  37. I recently spent three weeks in Canada and experienced perfect service every single day. Friendly, interesting people all of whom I praised and several of whom I am nominating for tourism awards. The contrast with the UK is a stark one but we should remember we have choices and remind rubbish companies that we can take our business elsewhere. Complain away, it needs to become a national trait then we might really see a step change!

  38. First of all, love the photo that accompanys this blog post – laugh out loud stuff! Also, for the very first time in my life (I’m 30) – I complained in a restaurant last week and sent back my food – I was so nervous doing it BUT it was priced at €16.50 and really it was something that was not fresh and was simply reheated! At the same meal, my boyfriend ordered sirlon steak at a cost of €22!! Unlike him, he ate nearly all of it and I tried the last bite, it tasted horrible and said to him, “why did you eat that? Its overpriced and bland?” – and so we could not send that back. The waiting staff were nice about it and of course I didnt pay and we were offered free desserts which we declined as I just wanted to leave the restaurant – BUT for me it was a personal triumph and I normally dislike any type of confrontation!

  39. Hear bloody hear! It is our money and we work hard for it, and we deserve to get the service we pay for dammit! I always equate the money I spent to the time it has taken me to work for it, and my time is worth complaining for!
    Complain, check the rules and complain a bit louder.

  40. BT are my enemy. Delivery services seem to be major participants in the bad service givers. However, I have a darling of a postie who has actually driven back to my house to deliver a parcel after I’d past him in my car on my way home. How’s that for service?

    We recently visited the Harry Potter Studios in Levesden and I am convinced the powers-that-be studied the staff behaviour at Disneyland because the staff are so friendly, happy, and geared towards looking after you and making sure your day is great. Even the man on the gate to the car park wished us a great day!

  41. Must admit I am a bit reticent when getting around to complaining but if I feel strongly enough I will. I do try to put things into perspective like are they short-staffed, run off their feet or has something else gone wrong. I am always very polite and calm when I complain. If it is appropriate I put it in writing rather than causing a scene.

    Recently I was in Morrisons cafe and I ordered scrambled eggs. To put it politely they were horrible. It took me a while to complain about them as either the staff were busy or nowhere to be seen. I also needed to think about what outcome I wanted as I didn’t want more scrambled eggs. Eventually I went to the guy who was on the till and asked if they were made with powdered eggs as they were truly disgusting. He said they were actually pre-cooked and bought in like that!!!! He offered to make something else so I opted for toast. He was polite and efficient and I was satisfied with that.

    A good few years ago I was out with my brother and a group of his girlfriends family at an Indian restaurant. The waiter seemed to want us out as soon as possible and brought the bill before we had finished. When I asked for a dessert and one or two others followed my lead and ordered drinks he huffed and puffed. I wrote to them, again in a polite manner, I wasn’t baying for blood (how do you know what was going on for the waiter that night). The head of the company rang me and asked what this man looked like and I again re-iterated that I wasn’t after him being sacked just thought they ought to know. They said that they had opened a new restaurant that night and all the experienced staff had been sent over there (so this poor guy was left struggling). As compensation they sent me a voucher that was enough to pay for a three course meal for two including drinks.

  42. Hear hear – totally agree with complaining about shoddy service. But I do write to companies when I get good service too. Love the blog!

  43. This couldn’t sound any more alien to me really, I work in the M&S Cafe and BOY my customers are definitely NOT afraid to complain should the slightest thing be wrong haha!!

    I do get what you mean though, I’m personally absolutely terrified to bring up things I’m not happy with, mostly because I just don’t want to bother the customer service assistant because they might think I’m just being picky, I know it irritates me when I’m on the other side of it at work… but then again it’s probably just because I get some downright rude and ignorant people acting like its personally my fault they get a paper cup and not a china one.

  44. I’ve had a delivery failure today too. Pet Supermarket said our cat food order would take a shocking 10 days to be delivered, but I accepted that as we were saving money. The delivery was due yesterday and the order was still marked as processing! Turns out one thing was out of stock and they never told me.

    They’ve now split the order, but when I complained they just shrugged and said ‘Oh, well it should have sent you an email telling you, but that obviously hasn’t happened in this case’ You think?! Instead I’ve had to go out and buy a more expensive bag of cat food to hold us over until the order arrives.

    I already disliked the company for their 10 day delivery policy, but I’ll never shop with them again now.

  45. Bad service IS a waste of our money! Why pay for something that will only make us wish we hadn’t paid for it?

    The only problem I find in complaining would be – what age is it appropriate?
    I am a 15 year old teenager, and I feel if I tried to complain I would be taken as a ‘stroppy cheeky teenager’. However, if I pay for something which is unsatisfactory, surely I have the right to say something?

    I am far from a cheeky teenager, if I ever complained I would do it as politely as possible.

    P.S. I love the photo you put with this, very cheeky haha;) Love the dress. :)

  46. This subject really grates on me. In fact, the English way of keeping quiet and polite grates on me in a general sense. It is drilled into us so much that we need to be polite, that we end up having to put up with a lot of shit! We sacrifice value for money and good food, just to be ‘polite’ and not complain in a restaurant.

    Now of course there is a balance and you can’t be rude, but when you experience rudeness from someone else or shit service, we have to start asserting our rights as a consumer. I’m 18 and I think complaining is seen as an embarrassment amongst people my age. My friends would be mortified if I complained in a restaurant – but I’m only mortified about the shit service/food I receive in exchange for my money!

    I LOVE the American attitude towards things like this – they don’t put up with this shit and we need to start adopting more of this.

  47. I agree that we should complain for bad service, but this is not normally the problem. I find people are more than happy to complain but no one tells anyone when they are doing a good job! By all means complain when theres bad service (some of what people have had on here is atrocious) but I think it’s better to highlight good service, to show people and organisations how it SHOULD be done rather than focus on the negative! :)


  48. I used to be mortified if anyone I was with complained about something but sometimes it’s necessary. Now I’ll complain if I’m not happy, not in an angry way more in a ‘you could improve’ way!

  49. Great post, i really need to start complaining more. Sometimes I feel as if I am doing the shop/restaurant a favour when it should be the other way round. Trip advisor should start a section for shops etc :)

  50. Haha. Oh the UK…. I remember walking into stores when I lived in London – teeny tiny little boutiques where it was extremely obvious that there was a customer, and the staff not even bothering to raise their heads to acknowledge us. Now I live in Japan and the service is really….the SCHIZZ. It’s fantastic..although it can get a little tooooooo fantastic at times. But seriously – it’s amazing.

  51. god i could not agree more! i used to work as a waitress, and people tended only to complain at the end, when there was nothing we could do after. people need to complain if they do see something wrong, then we can fix it!

    chlo @chlowitty blogs

  52. I totally agree although I thought ASOS would be better then that, sometimes companies think once they have the good reviews and everyone loves them they will keep it that way and they can step back for a little and work a little less. Great post :)

    Laura x ~

  53. Definitely agreed! I don’t go out for meals so often, but even when I get a coffee somewhere and it’s horrible or even just too strong, I don’t go up and ask for more milk or for it to be changed. It’s always nice when I have my boyfriend with me as he works as a manager in Costa so he definitely knows when things are wrong and will always take it back for me, but I’m just too shy to. We really do need to speak up more often, but the companies themselves need to sort out their responses and attitudes when we go. I’ll always remember my Mum telling me about finding a slug in a salad at a restaurant and she was offered nothing to apologize for it! XO.

  54. I won’t put up with crap service. I worked in retail for a while, and I was a barmaid/waitress for a certain well-known pub chain, so I’ve dealt with plenty of complaints from that side too. Some people do throw tantrums about bizarre stuff, but you can definitely complain in a way that is effective and polite. Often the person you’re complaining to has no control over what’s gone wrong, and I try to bear that in mind so I don’t get stroppy with someone innocent.

    Most recently, I complained to Natwest about their baffling fraud policy, and credited my account with fifteen quid to cover the costs of my phonecalls to sort out the mess, which was nice.
    I’ve also complained to H&M about the deliveries. I kept getting automated responses that didn’t answer the issue I was having. When eventually a human responded, I still wasn’t given an apology so now I don’t buy online from them.
    The girl I deal with at my letting agent got a nasty shock too, after mucking around me and my housemate. There were unpaid bills on the property when we moved in, and British Gas were threatening to cut us off, but the silly mare kept ignoring our concerns. Eventually I wrote to her boss, AND the landlord, so he knew the agent he was paying to look after his property wasn’t doing their job.

  55. AMEN to THAT!!

  56. Working in customer service I totally agree with you on how important good customer service is. However the reason it is so good in America, especially in food outlets, it’s because their only salary is the tips you give, which is outrageous! On the other end, many customer service roles are paid minimum wage so they just do not care and management cannot make them care by paying such pitiful salaries.
    So I think if companies valued customer service, their front-of-house staff would be properly rewarded for it.
    Just my opinion though!

  57. I refuse to shop in Pulp now (and I LOVED that shop) after I returned a hoody that had split down the front. I took it back, and the manager accused me of cutting it! All I wanted was an exchange, and she stood there making a huge scene in the middle of the store before conceding and letting me pick a different item.
    I called head office and all I got was an “uh okay…”

    Sick of it!

  58. I always complain! Love it lol.
    List time I went to pizza express the service was awful and I got a call from the manager she said sorry but that was it …I complained to newlook about a recent visit and I didn’t even get a response!

  59. I used to die of embarrassment as a kid when my mum would complain, but if there’s an issue with something and you don’t complain/explain, then some other poor person will suffer as well. Places do need to improve – although maybe it’s just I’m getting more miserable and fussy as I get older!

  60. I worked in a Call Centre for a well known Mail Order catalogue for over 5 years on the Query oline, and if nothing else I now know how to complain and how to get something done. Most of the calls we took were from people wanting to ‘have a go’ and they hadnt thought things through, I used to stop them in their tracks but asking them what they wanted me to do to try and resolve the problem and nearly 100% didnt know!
    When I complain now, I write to the company involved, sending a copy to their Head Office (and telling the branch I have done so) and in the letter I outline what I want them to do to resolve my complaint. I find this approach works every time. Substandard service is NOT what we pay for. Well done Mrs Thrifty!

  61. I have always been to embarassed to complain. Then one day my friends and I went out for a meal, walked into a very empty chain mexican restaurant and were told we need to wait like 15-ish mins for a table. So we excepted that, sat down and ordered. I think we had starters, then we waited and waited and waited. Ended up being over an hour for our main meal to come, when they did we ordered drinks and they took another 30mins to come. They had forgot about us, we had desert then asked for the manager, WE should have probably complained earlier but didn’t have the guts. Worked out fine because we got 50% discount. But I haven’t went back. So glad I did complain though.

  62. I really agree with this post- I wanted to add, though, that I think it’s important who you complain to. As a KFC veteran, I can tell you that yelling at the cashier because the fries are greasy isn’t really the way to go about getting better service, and it just makes the cashier lose all hope in mankind and turn to the blogging world to find good people… or maybe that’s just me.
    I really like your blog!

  63. Having worked in hospitality my whole working life i fail to understand why waiting staff dont apologize and take away offending items and tell “chefs ” they must be redone! I would never argue with customers! I think mardy waiting staff seem to forget customers pay their wages! It takes nothing to keep your customers happy by listening to them. On numerous occasions i would re do/tell kitchen to crack on and also not charge my customers. Service staff either see it as not a long term thing or are just scared to upset chefs and its them that need to toughen up too!
    I do find it in retail and i have started to complain after a pushy sales person resulted in me hiding my face for a week after a botched and unnecessary lip wax. Company involved couldn’t be kinder and their complaints dept were faultless!
    Took a new extreme recently after complaining about inappropriate interview questions i had at a job interview!
    Dont be scared people! A lot of companies would rather you complain as it highlights issues and possible training that needs looking at. Stand up for yourself and if you get bad service from staff and management complain to the head office. People need to remember- no customers=no money

  64. I, like many others, find complaining to be the most awkward experience ever. Time after time I’ve reprimanded myself thinking exactly what you stated above, that if we all did it more it would become common place and as a result we wouldn’t face bad service as often. I still struggle but I am getting better at asking for what I think I deserve for my money. My lovely fiance was perhaps even worse than me with complaining and if we went out for a meal together and something didn’t come or was wrong we’d both just sit there insisting “it’s not that bad” or “I didn’t want it anyway”. However, after a stint working in a call centre to fund his PhD, he’s become hugely proactive and now he positively relishes the prospect of politely questioning bad service or sending something back. I think because he had to deal with complaints so often working in customer service that he decided there’s nothing to be bashful about after all! I also had a friend who I lived with while at uni who loved to send a complaints letter or email when the rest of us were too embarrassed. She ended up getting some really good deals, vouchers and money off – wasting a lot less money than the rest of us on substandard goods and services. She encouraged me to be a little more assertive, and as I said earlier, I’m definitely getting better as time goes on. xx

  65. I completely understand this! You only ever very occasionally receive good service in the UK. I find the most annoying to be the postal/delivery services – I once had a parcel being delivered to my flat where I was living in Newcastle via Royal Mail, then one day when me, my boyfriend and his flat-mate were all in the postman had been, left one of those ‘Your parcel is at the post office’ slips, and gone. I was a little annoyed at this point because it was a Wednesday, apparently I couldn’t pick it up for 48 hours and by that time I would be home for the weekend – the problem was that it was a package from my mum with my purse in that I’d left at home, sent Special Delivery Signed For, and I wouldn’t be able to pick it up until Monday when I was back from home (ironically!). When I finally did pick it up, I mentioned that the postman hadn’t knocked, but they just shrugged. But they must have said something because a few days later we had someone frantically pressing our buzzer – turned out to be the postman who decided to shout at us for complaining about him, insisting that he had knocked on the door and rang every buzzer in our block. If he had knocked, we obviously wouldn’t have heard because it just goes onto the hallway that the flats come off, which he knows since it’s a glass door, but apparently it was our fault! It took more of his time to shout at us then than he would have done buzzing our bell in the first place!
    I could go forever with these stories – don’t even ask me about Canon customer services, I was without a 5 month old camera for 5 months because they couldn’t get their customer service sorted!!

  66. Most good places are happy to help if you complain or tell them they’ve done something wrong, for example in Nando’s they gave my friend the wrong side dish so she told them, they realised their mistake, brought her another and let her keep the other one! Yum!

    As well as complaining when something is wrong, praising staff and businesses for good service is so important. I work in retail and the managers take note of customer feedback on staff and the store in general more than they would ever listen to staff feedback. Great post! xxx

  67. Good on you for making this post! I once kicked up the hugest fuss when an Apple Store member tried to take an extra £100 in cash on top of my purchase. He counted my money, then said it was short, I recounted and said it was correct, he recounted and said it was £100 short and it needed to be in cash. As I went to naively hand over the extra money, my partner said ‘hold on a minute’ and counted it infront of the guys eyes, it was entirely correct! SO wrong of him to try and take extra money from us, I made a huge complaint but somehow he is still working there, I don’t quite know why he wasn’t dismissed or suspended for such a serious issue. It obviously and clearly was not a mistake, and we got no apology from him. I wonder how many other people he has scammed in this way. x

  68. Couldn’t agree more! athriftymrs campaign? I like it! I’m in! Zoe xxx

  69. a new charity shop opened I wandered in and sat down on one of two chairs they had available for customers I picked up a volunteers application form to read as I was thinking of applying.
    All of sudden a lady behind the counter leaned over it pointed at me and shouting at the top of her voice ,” This is not a hostel for the homeless at me and could I leave the shop”
    I jumped up and told her I was not homeless and told her about her bad manners .

    I later on got a volunteering job there and as I left today she was bitching about me with the two staff members on the till even though there were customers in the shop oh and by the way she is the assistant manager .

  70. I totally agree with you. The lady at my local post office is absolutely awful. For three years, she’s done nothing but pick fault with the way I’ve wrapped things. The final straw came with my most recent visit, when she complained that my envelope was 1cm too big for the contents, snapped at me for telling her what was in the package (which is a standard question now) and for asking her to put postcodes on my receipts so I could keep track of the items (which I’m sure is compulsory). I made a complaint to Royal Mail (though they didn’t seem too bothered), and I now go to other local branches instead. I’ve never had any trouble with those.

    I don’t understand why so many people in the UK have trouble with complaining/complaints. Complaining in itself isn’t rude, it’s the way you complain that determines whether you’re being rude or not. I always send back food if it isn’t up to standard; all it takes is an, “Excuse me, there’s (insert problem here) with this. Could I have a refund/replacement please?” If a company deals with the mistake in a reasonable way, that’s fine. It’s when mistakes are consistent that there’s a problem. If the staff are unreasonable about it, you have every right to complain (and never shop there again, if you choose).

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