Flame on


I think I secretly like to complain.

But then I guess that’s just the inevitable consequence of finding so many things that people do in life infuriating.

I fine-tuned my complaining skills in the days when I worked for the London Underground particularly because the travelling public are often [to understate it] displeased with many aspects of the “service” provided. Consequently I would spend large portions of my working days being shouted at and/or complained to.

I did get my own opportunities there to complain and gained a degree of notoriety for a number of complaints that I initiated. One of the more successful ones sprung from a train driver upsetting me one night by obstinately quoting a particular procedure out of context and without recourse to rationality or reason.

I then spent the subsequent months wading through a multiple volume operations manual the size of a small refrigerator in order to extract supporting quotes that I could use in my campaign to have the rule that he’d quoted re-written; which it eventually was, wa-l-hamdu lillāh.

In terms of my interaction with companies, official bodies and retailers then I have been known to voice objections to various things that have irked me in the past. This Postman rant that I wrote a couple of years back might give you an insight into just how much something can bug me.

Anyway today I’ve just fired off part four of my current email campaign against a particular UK retailer that has rattled my (very rattle-able) cage, with these closing remarks:

I don’t think I’m accurately able to articulate how wronged I feel by [edit] but hope you can appreciate the doubtless aversion I’ll have to shopping with your company for the duration of my remaining life.

I got to thinking afterwards about how “the complaint” seems to be deeply embedded in the British psyche. To express outrage and indignation at the trivial seems to be both an individual and collective duty.

It’s probably also why I’ve slipped so easily into blogging, it being the “natural” environment for complainers to vent within.

So, any other complainers out there?

Any successful complaints you want to share?

How has complaining served you?



Filed under Gripes

11 responses to “Flame on

  1. Totally unrelated (or maybe not, because this is a complaint):
    I registered at IslamicNetwork the other day but I can’t post anything ‘cuz it says my account hasn’t been activated, but I haven’t recieved any emails that’d activate the account. What’s wrong with you people?!
    (Just kidding w/ the last bit! 😉 )

  2. What username did you join with?

    I think there’s a problem with the address that activation requests go to.

  3. I registered as AnonyMouse…

  4. i don’t like to complain. i always think it may get somone into trouble and feel too nasty to do it.

  5. I complain alot when it comes to companies that try to take you for a ride and charge you too much thinking you can’t calculate as well as their “very dodgy” computers or when they sign you up to things you never asked for, or when they simply transfer your call to a indian who speaks very POOR english and where you have to repeat everything 20 times simply to ask something simple….I mean i don’t mind repeating…but 3 is the sunnah…20 is just downright ARGH!….but i think its necessary to fight for rights…im a woman so im gud at it… alhamdulillah….if we didn’t complain to these people, how would they know how to better their service? many a time its a form of “nasiha…”

    Quick example, I was sent an electricity bill for £486… i spent 3 months having a go at the company saying its calculated wrong…

    1 month later revised bill: £286…

    another complaint later….as their computer doesn’t know how to add and subtract….

    3 months later… revised bill: £150 oops we’re sorry.

    complaining for every aspect of life and not being satisfied with what you have…thats when i think complainers step over the mark…otherwise i say it is a obligation 🙂

    PS: Akhi nice line you have quoted in the post… no doubt i’ll keep that in mind when i write my next letter of complaint to the next person to transfer my call to india before i get to speak to sum1 at my local branch.

  6. Sorry, I’ve been offline doing stuff and haven’t been here much.

    AnonyMouse: I’m really sorry about the delay getting you activated on I.N. We really need Sas to do certain things for us but he has other commitments and can’t always help us troubleshoot.

    I think I’ve just sent you an activation code to your email which should resolve it. However, there’s a very real chance that it won’t help as I get really lost when I venture into the admin board of the forum.

    Let me know if it works anyway.

    Hema: I can understand that side of things and do sometimes look to resolve matters without complaining when it involves an employee with little rights himself.

    Like when it’s a company that employs cheap labour consisting of immigrant workers who’ll likely get fired on the spot if mention something bad about them to their manager.

    However, I do believe you need to make yourself heard sometimes as some companies (especially big ones) have some bone-idle incompetent buffoons working for them and it doesn’t harm you to point them out once in a while, especially when it involves you having lost some of your rights.

    Like for example the case I posted above. I’m getting nowhere with the Customer Service “team” and so I’ve just tracked down the CEO’s email address and fired off an “I’m unimpressed” message to him.

    Next step will be to start posting my correspondences on some of these name and shame consumer rights’ websites.

    SoulScripture: Good to hear that your efforts paid off, that’s an impressive reduction you got with that complaint.

  7. i know sometimes you need to, but i still feel bad.
    and yes, i do think i get walked over a lot

  8. Nope, haven’t gotten the email… 😦

  9. AnonyMouse, try posting on the forum. Your account should now be active.

  10. Awesomeness, jazakAllahu khairan!

  11. al-hamdu lillāh, victory!

    I just got a call from the UK with a full apology, refund and compensation for the international calls I made when they ignored my initial emails.

    Emailing the CEO is definitely the way to go.

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