The art of complaining effectively – Success Stories

Today’s interview is with interior designer par excellence and mother of two tween boys, Karen.

Good evening Karen. What smells so delicious?

That’s a whole chicken on the Bar B Que. I butterflied it, and marinated it in – I’ll give you the recipe after. Don’t you want to hear my complaining successfully story?

Sure. Why don’t we start by introducing ourselves. You are?

I am 43 years old. I compost. I have two kids, thirteen and ten. I am an interior designer. I work out almost every day.

Wow. Good for you. You look fantastic. So what happened with the complaint?

I was with a client, choosing just the right chocolate brown for her custom made banquette. We were vacillating between chocolate fondue moire fabric and cioccolata velvet when my phone rang. It was my kids’ camp. Everything’s fine, they said. But we have an emergency.

Your heart must have dropped. What happened?

I was oddly calm. I took a deep breath and said Go Ahead. Then the camp assistant told me what happened. My 10 year old son J broke his sandals.


And? Broken ankle? Sprained toe? Scratched knee?

None of the above. The sandal has been patched with – gasp – duct tape. He needed a new pair immediately.

So what did you do?

I dropped the bolts of fabric. Told the client I would catch up to her later. Sprinted to the shoe store, bought a pair of sandals, raced to the post office and overnighted the ankle strap buggers to camp. Wiped my brow, called my trainer and said my workout was done for the day.

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Since you don’t have a complaint to tell us about, let me ask you a question. I’m thinking about re-doing my basement. What is your position on pot lights?

I like all lights. For a full consultation, though, I would have to come and see the room.

The sandal delivery was NOT as easy as it sounds.

Oy, What happened?

More like what didn’t happen. I paid $17 to Canada Post for a tracking number and a guaranteed next day delivery. The next day I tracked the package and I saw it hadn’t been delivered.

Go on.

I was disappointed, I have to tell you. I tried to submit a complaint on Canada Post’s web site but it kept getting stuck. I don’t think I was the only unhappy, uh, camper. I kept tracking the package and three days later it still hadn’t been delivered.

I posted a complaint on Canada Post’s Facebook page and no one got back to me. I have to tell you though, I got tons of likes on my complaint.


This is going from bad to worse. How did it all end?

Finally on Day 4 the web site showed a shoe delivery. I checked the camp pictures and yes – no more duct tape.

I was relieved but still angry. I paid for overnight delivery. I wanted my money back.


So what did you do?

I called Canada Post. I was fuming. I’m very ANGRY I said to the poor clerk who answered the phone. Ten year old blah blah blah duct tape blah blah blah overnight delivery blah blah reimbursement.

Sure Ma’am, she said. We would be happy to refund your money.

You don’t understand I said. This is UNREASONABLE. I’m FURIOUS. I WANT MY MONEY BACK. NOW.

Yes, Ma’am, the clerk said for the second time. It will be our pleasure to refund your money.

  1. I realized. I had better stop screaming or she may change her mind.

I graciously gave her all the details and before you could say custom made banquette with chocolate fabric the money was back in my pocket.

Karen, I’m impressed. You certainly complained effectively here. What do you think was the secret to your success?

A few things worked in my favour. First, as you say in your book The Art of Complaining Effectively, I knew exactly what I wanted as resolution to my complaint (my money back). Second, I had all the information – tracking number, date, receipt- in front of me so it was easy for the clerk to know what I was talking about – this is another tip right from the pages of your book.

Third, I was persistent. When the form didn’t work, I went to social media. When social media didn’t get me the response I was hoping for, I picked up the phone.

That’s all awesome. Anything else?

Yeah, there is one more important thing. When complaining, you need to know when to quit talking. In this case, I got my money back and I was SO UPSET I wanted to keep ranting and raving. Luckily, I came to my senses and zipped my lips before the clerk reversed her decision.

And regarding custom made banquettes for the kitchen? Chocolate brown is a beautiful colour but velvet probably isn’t your best bet. Look for fabrics that can be wiped down easily. With a good stain resistant coating I promise – you will have absolutely nothing to complain about.



No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.