Complaint Department

I spent part of Friday looking up the online recipes for a new diet I’ve been trying, and printed out a few of the recipes for my collection. I finally gave up on one recipe, however, when I read that I should “In a small saucepan, whack honey with liquid and simmer till sauce thickens slightly.” I realized after reading the next sentence “Take off heat and whisk in mustard” that the author meant for us to “whisk honey with liquid”, not whack it. (!)

In the next paragraph I was told to “mix sugar with nest and chile powder”, but I’m on to them now, and after consulting the ingredient list, I understand that oddly enough, instead of nest, they meant lime zest.

I want to write to them with my rant – “What is wrong with you people? Have you no editor? Since I’m doing it anyway, how about if you pay me to be your editor?” but there is nowhere to write that would bring satisfaction.

When have you lodged a complaint with the appropriate party, and did you get satisfaction?

44 thoughts on “Complaint Department”

  1. I have a success story from this week. I’ve recently bought several things to make life nicer in this new place. Among my purchases was a folding cart with four wheels that lets me roll groceries from my car to my apartment.

    Trouble arose when I tried to assemble this thing. It was supposed to have four wheels, but I only had three.

    I contacted Amazon, and they put me in touch with the importers of this cart (which, of course, is made in China).

    They importer said that there was no problem. I should look in the original packing for that missing wheel. It has a tendency, it seems, to get stuck to tape used in the packaging. They were sure I’d find it there.

    I wrote back to say I threw the original packaging in the dumpster a week ago. The importer might or might not have shipped me four wheels. What was clear was that I only had three, and only a massive search of a landfill would prove whether or not they shipped four.

    The importer shipped me the wheel, and now I’m ready to roll.

    What makes me proud is that I solved this problem with civility and restraint. I was sorely tempted to write these folks to suggest they re-think their processes. If one of the wheels often gets stuck in the original packaging and is thus thrown away, maybe they should change how they taped their boxes for shipment. If this problem happens over and over like they suggested, how in hell are we going to make America great again? I didn’t say, “You idiots have a problem that Stevie Wonder could see!” I thought it . . . but didn’t say it.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I’m guessing that Wes isn’t actually a part of the party. You don’t have to be a part of the party to complain, especially if your elected representatives are of that party.


        1. Well, yeah, but if you have an elected representative of that party, it’s still good to vocalize that complaint, right?


  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I think the recipe typos must have been auto-correct problems the way those read. Auto correct IS the editor–you get what you pay for.

    Years and years ago, when I was very young and naive, my wasband and I were in a bizarre car accident while crossing the Mississippi River Bridge on I94, in which the wheels on a straight truck in front of us fell off the truck. One wheel bounced off the bridge barrier, flew up in the air, and hit our windshield. Had the tire hit an half inch lower, wasbamd would have been killed. Meanwhile it did a lot of damage to roof and windshield. There was glass everywhere. Of course, the company which was neglecting the vehicle was entirely at fault and liable.

    We had one car, so were without a car and we had a tiny baby to tote around. I called the insurance company, which had been useless to that point, and overcome with emotion, started to scream and cry. Once I calmed down enough to speak clearly enough to be understood between the sobs and hiccups, I got everything I wanted, including the eternal rental car and a check for our trouble. Anything so we did not sue, which I was too young to even think of doing, given my naivety.

    There is little as powerful as corporate liability and emotional dysregulation to motivate insurance companies, I guess. However, there was no strategy involved. Just desperation.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Most work trucks, smaller than a semi, bigger than a pickup are/were categorizes as a “straight truck.” The wheels fell off due to lack of maintenance.

        Yes, really.


    1. Years ago, when I was still working in downtown Minneapolis, one morning on the way to work I was driving behind a straight truck loaded with used car tires. We had just crossed that same bridge Jacque mentioned, and were nearing the 11th street exit when we hit a rough patch of roadway. I slowed down so as to distance myself from the truck in front of me when I noticed the load of tires bouncing ominously in the back of the truck. Seconds later one of the tires became airborne but luckily missed my car before it hit the guardrail and bounced into the traffic behind me causing causing a crash. The truck driver, completely oblivious to the accident his load had caused, just drove on. I can attest to the helpless feeling of panic you get when a tires is headed for your windshield.


        1. I suspect it is more the fault of the corporations in the area which operate businesses in a careless/illegal manner. A lot of places are sloppy about maintenance. About 20 years ago in a different part of town, a straight truck backed into my car at a stoplight just because the driver was playing with the brakes. He broke the front grille of the car. I went to the police station with the license number, which was, surprise!… a dead end.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. I forget the details, but I notified an author on the Oxford Press site (I get their newsletters) about a typo and received a very pleasant thank you from them. I (and others:

    😉 feel compelled to try and clean up stray typos, errors of fact, bad grammar etc. on the Internet. It keeps me off the street at night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hanging out on this blog should provide you with ample opportunity to spot typos and whatnot – but there’s precious little you can do about it. Besides some of our best stuff is the result of typos. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. When Sarah Vowell did a reading at Barnes and Noble at Galleria, I waited to get a book signed and in my moment of conversation with her, I told her about a factual error in her book “Assassination Vacation”. She wrote my information on her hand with her pen, but I don’t think the error ever got corrected.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bill, what was the error in Assassination Vacation? I think that’s my favorite of all the Sarah Vowell books.


      1. When she is describing the play, “Our American Cousin” at the point Lincoln was shot, she says that Lord Dundreary delivers the line that ends with, “I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal, you sockdologizing old mantrap!”

        That would have made no sense and would have been completely out of character for the foppish, supercilious Dundreary. The line belonged to the rough but plain speaking Asa Trenchard, the American cousin.

        Vowell’s misattribution of the line was especially significant because at that point she is discussing whether the line was funny and why and neither she nor the National Park Ranger seem to have any insight into why the line would have tickled mid-nineteenth century Americans.

        Despite independence, the English had culturally dominated America in the first half of the nineteenth century. By mid-century there was a strong movement in favor of indigenous American arts and strong nativist resentment toward the British. The Asa Trenchard character, while unpolished, was honest, with a true heart. Lady Mountchessington, to whom he delivered the line, and most of the British characters in the play are portrayed as conniving snobs. So the sockdologizing old mantrap line would have been received by an American audience as their hero speaking truth to power.


        1. The funny thing is, the play was written by an Englishman and British audiences saw the play as satirizing the unsophisticated American.


  5. This post is timed well since only this morning, I resolved a complaint I had. My 14-year old cat, Peanut, developed a sore on his back which went from a small, round bump to a 1/2″ open wound. Last Friday, I took him to a vet closest to where I live. She did a once over lightly exam, then recommended giving him a powerful anti-biotic injection. Her clinic has to order the med as she doesn’t stock it, so I was required to pay for it, along with the visit, ahead of time. The total came to $244.

    When I got home, I took a closer look at the charges: $75 for the visit; $6 for needle disposal; $24 to administer the shot; $110 for the anti-biotic. This just didn’t seem right to me, mostly the $24 to administer the shot, so I called another local vet for price comparison.

    He charges $49 for a visit and $40 for the anti-biotic!!! I called her back and relayed this information. She got pretty defensive as she tried to justify the enormous difference, but said she’d call the other vet to verify the costs I’d quoted. This morning, she said that she’d refund all but the $75 office visit.

    I just saved $125 by making a couple of phone calls this time, but a whole lot more for future vet visits.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A few years ago, I ordered a used book through Amazon. I particularly wanted a certain edition with a certain illustrator, so I was careful to find a copy where the ISBN and the picture matched what I wanted. I found a copy that was a decent price from a seller that had a good approval rating and ordered.

    This particular book has a number of really lovely illustrations and I was planning to tear the book apart and frame some of the illustrations to put up on my wall. When the book arrived, I was first surprised at the size of the package: much smaller than I expected. When I opened the package, I was enraged. Inside was an old, beat up paperback that was undoubtedly the ugliest copy of Wind in the Willows I have ever seen. There may have been illustrations inside the book as well as the front cover; if so, each one was uglier than the last.

    I contacted the seller and expressed my displeasure at this travesty. My money was refunded and – lucky me – I was allowed to keep the wrong book. It was so ugly that I threw it away; too bad I did that because I now see that that particular edition is selling used on Amazon for $199. I cannot imagine who in their right mind would want to buy such a piece of crap for that amount of money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I buy a fair amount of used books on Amazon, but only once have I received a copy so bad I didn’t even want to touch it. It was a vintage cookbook and had apparently been well used by an extremely sloppy cook. Upon complaining, I, too, was credited for the full purchase price and told that I could keep the book. It was such a disgusting mess that I tossed it.


      1. I bet you have seen them, BiR. If the picture etc. had been accurate, there is no way I would have paid what I paid PLUS shipping, for it. Heck, I would not have even paid a quarter for it at a garage sale. I’m not in favor of banning books, but that book was so ugly and there are enough beautifully illustrated editions of The Wind in the Willows that that particular edition should never have been published.


  7. I learned from the Master – Nonny. I don’t often have problems with things that I purchase (with the exception of cable and telephone and internet. I always seem to be arguing with these folks but I always seem to get my way.) I usually apologize right up front to the person who’s answered the phone and say I know this isn’t your fault but….
    I think my best example was with a local plumber who came out to unclog the drain in the basement,
    was there probably 3 hours, dragged some machinery down in the basement, didn’t unclog the mess and then told me I’d have to have my plumbing torn out out to the street to the tune of $15,000. I called Minnegasco the next day, paid them $149 and they had the clog removed in 15 minutes. I then called the first plumber back and it took about 25 minutes and a lot of silence (which is something I learned from Nonny) but he eventually refunded my entire $400 bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I complain about a lot of things without being able to determine whether it did any good. That includes calls to a number of companies to complain about microbeads or triclosan in their products, or packaging products in containers that are not recyclable, or don’t recycle completely. I’m not sure why I spend the time on it.

    Sometimes it’s a directly personal thing. I once had an Amazon gift certificate that expired, and I called and persisted until they issued me a new one.

    Since I’ve had several customer service jobs, I try to be nice about it. No need to be unpleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Earlier this year, I was on my up to Two Harbors for the funeral of a friend. Google Maps steered me to the wrong address, so I was running a little late. As I was coming around a corner into town, I hit a patch of wet, black ice and slid into the ditch. I called my insurance company’s roadside assistance program. They promptly told me that, “I should just handle it myself.”

    A few days later, I called to complain. Nothing happened as far as I could tell, no follow-up with them. And I just saw that my ‘rebate’ is estimated to be about half of what it normally is. I may have another chat with them…

    Insurance companies are always the first to try to shaft you and then whine and cry when you go to a competitor.


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