Us brits are notorious for being terrible at complaining and I have to agree with that, at least in my case. I hate to complain, particularly as I spent a year waiting tables during my second year of university. However it needs to be done sometimes and Camilla Morton shows us how to do it with elegance:
“First, stop. Count to ten. Do you have grounds for complaint? Be very friendly, present the problem and ask what they can do to assist you. You don’t want to alienate your target. Get them to empathise.
Always complain in a slow, low voice. If you start in a screech you will have nothing to crescendo up to.
Always aim to have a captive audience, evidence, a witness and an alibi, and a packet of tissues- for dramatic eye dabbing.
They should immediately seize the offending garment or dish (if in restaurant) and offer a full and immediate replacement of refund.
Remember: never get too irate and don’t lose of the fact that YOU are the victim.
Never throw food over the waiter - you lose the evidence and it weakens your case.
Always get the name of the idiot who is not assisting you, and assure them you will contact their boss.
Promise also to contact the press, do an expose, call the police, lawyers, BBC’s Watchdog, etc. Voice could perhaps waver at this point
If all else fails, get your coat and entourage and LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.
Never back down, or apologise if they are in the wrong. Don’t look over your shoulder. You can make counterattacks via phone/letter from the safety of your home, with the advantage of time, clarity and distance on your side.
Always make sure your opinion is heard.”
Taken from How To Walk In High Heels by Camilla Morton (Being Socially Adept, p. 157)
THAT CLASSY BRIT TIP:
When my father complains, he remains very polite and cordial, receives the bill and tells the waiter/manager etc. that he will be paying for the meal as they clearly went to some kind of trouble to bring it to him but he will be contacting the head office or whoever of the restaurant and informing them of his horrible experience. He did this in a hotel in London before and the supervisor shut down the restaurant for the night.