“Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Cute quote, Randy—but I’ve got one thing to say.


Randy has obviously never been so broke that he’s had to steal his roommate’s socks because he doesn’t have enough quarters to do laundry (hey, at least I stay out of the underwear drawer). Randy sounds like the kind of guy who has always had the luxury of cheese with his macaroni and “J” on his PB and J. Randy is clearly that guy we all hate who uses a Brita water jug, and actually buys a new filter every week.

And if not? Well that’s Randy’s problem, because he’s not complaining enough!

Complaining 101

Contrary to popular Randy Pausch’s opinion, complaining is EXTREMELY likely to help you achieve your goals. Most specifically, if your goals involve getting free swag.

Now I’m sure this goes against a lot of things you’ve been brought up to believe in. If your mom read the same “How to Make Sure Your Child Isn’t a Whiny Bitch” book that mine did, you’ve probably been taught the following :

  • treat others the way you want to be treated
  • say please
  • stop whining
  • stop whining
  • stop whining

Complaining 101 (2.0)


I was first introduced to this valuable trick of achieving happiness in life and a full stomach  a couple years ago after a miserable dining experience with my sister at East Side Mario’s.

In a nutshell, our waitress was a walking argument for why minimum wage should be lowered. Not only did she fail to provide me with a single refill for my bottomless iced tea, but she forgot the bread-bowl, and didn’t realize that she’d forgotten to tell the kitchen what entrées my sister and I wanted until two hours after we had ordered!

When I politely explained that this mishap had completely interrupted the rest of our night’s plans and asked for some kind of compensation, our waitress replied (with a stank face and an extremely witchy voice):

“Not really, these things happen.”

The rest of our conversation went something like this:

Shitty Waitress McGee: I don’t know what you expect me to do, you’ve already eaten your food.

Me:  Is there a manager that we could talk to?

S. W. M.: Talking to a manager isn’t going to change anything.

Me (inner monologue): It’s. On. Bitch.

One nasty e-mail later, and I receive a friendly phone-call from the restaurant manager informing me that a $50 gift card is in the mail, and S. W. M. “ had been dealt with accordingly”.


Complaining 101 (3.0)

 I know what you’re thinking.

“But what if I’m one of those unfortunate people who’ve only received optimum customer service and above average food while dining!? I don’t have anything to complain about!”

This doesn’t matter anymore. You’re officially too poor to worry about that. Or to be honest.

Have you ever had one of those “wouldn’t it suck if…blah blah blah happened” thoughts? Those thoughts are the unborn fetuses of future complaint letters!

For instance:

“Wouldn’t it suck if I opened up my Kraft Dinner and there wasn’t even a cheese packet?”

It sure would, and here’s what I’d say if it happened…or if it didn’t happen, and I wanted free KD.

            Dear sir or madame,

            I might be the biggest fan of Kraft Dinner I know! I eat it at least three times a week. It’s my favourite food, even better than lots of the pasta at restaurants like Olive Garden!

            That being said, I was extremely disappointed by my last purchase which was missing the best part… The cheese! I dumped out all of the noodles to make sure the packet wasn’t at the bottom, but it wasn’t! And who wants to eat plain boiled macaroni noodles? $1.79 down the drain.

            I am a big fan of Kraft products, but this isn’t the first problem I’ve had with them lately. Just a few weeks ago, I purchased a large block of velveeta cheese for my famous Easter cheese sauce, and there was a slit in the plastic and half of it was crusty! I didn’t complain this time, because I thought it might have been a shipping incident and wasn’t worth the trouble…but now it seems to be a trend.

            I’m not sure if there is anything you can do to repair this situation, but I just thought that you should know.

 One month later:

Oh hi, $1.50 coupon from Kraft.

I’m not kidding, this works. You just have to put your mind to it…and if you don’t feel like putting your mind to it, then let me introduce you to http://www.pakin.org/complaint. A free complaint letter generator!

The possibilities are endless, so get out there, start complaining, and let me know how it goes!