Reaching the Limit: When Do You Write a Complaint Letter?

Reaching the Limit: When Do You Write a Complaint Letter?

Grace Shu
Jan 29, 2009
This meal served on Virgin's Mumbai to Heathrow plane trip caused one passenger to pen a hilarious letter of complaint to Sir Richard Branson: "Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation. Look at this, Richard. Just look at it."
This link of The World's Best Passenger Complaint Letter has made the rounds, and it got us thinking about what kind of tolerance level we have when certain expectations aren't met. Perhaps it's a noisy neighbor, a lagging landlord, an unfair city law, or a crappy telephone or cable service--whatever it is, we've all been there. But what really makes you tick enough to sit down, write a letter (or email), and send it off?

A friend was telling us about the time when she was a bridesmaid for a wedding at a swanky hotel in La Jolla, and it seemed as if everything that could go wrong certainly did: the hotel had accidentally double-booked the honeymoon suite, the flowers had been switched with another wedding happening later that afternoon, the reception ballroom had a sticky floor from spilled drinks from an earlier party. All in all, not a great showing for the hotel. "In the grand scheme of things, it's the marriage that matters, not the wedding," said our friend, "But still: When you're paying so much money for all of this, of course you expect things to go as smoothly as possible!" Employing the age-old philosophy of the squeaky wheel getting the grease, the bride's furious mother wrote a letter to the hotel manager, detailing all of the things that went wrong. End result? They got a few free nights to stay at the hotel's penthouse suite.

When do you write a letter of complaint? What sort of things do you deem unacceptable, and what sort of things do you let slide?

[ Photo from Read the whole letter here--it's pretty hilarious... ]

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