In the last month or two I have made a command decision. I am not going to settle for sub-standard products. If we purchase something, using our hard-earned money, and it does not meet our expectations, I am going to let the manufacturer know. Seriously — people have no problem walking into the wine shop and complaining that they didn’t like a wine so it must have been “bad.” (Not true: just because you don’t like something, that doesn’t mean it has turned.) I hear people at the bank complain about waiting in line (and rather nastily, I might add). I don’t think it’s ridiculous to lodge a complaint if the product really, truely does not perform — as long as the complaint is made in a courteous way. Considering the rising prices of foods and household goods, I feel well within my rights to demand excellence.
About a week ago, after yet another load of laundry where several items had to be re-laundered because stains did not come out (even after pre-treating), I decided to write to Proctor & Gamble, the maker of Tide detergent which I had been using. The stains weren’t anything crazy. They were basic food stains created by two messy little boys: ketchup, chocolate pudding, spaghetti sauce, etc. I went to the Tide website to contact the company. I included the size of the detegent I’d purchased as well as the UPC code. I very politely expressed my disappointment with the product, noting that I had been a loyal Gain user but decided to give Tide a shot because I’d purchased it on sale. I wasn’t mean, I wasn’t accusatory. I asked if perhaps they’d recently changed formulas or if there was a bad batch, and also said that I was sorry I could not recommend the product to my friends and family because I do use and enjoy many other P&G products. I wrote the e-mail on a Saturday and that Monday I received an e-mail response back, saying that there would be a postal mail follow-up. Today I received a $5 coupon for Gain detergent (also a P&G product, in case you were wondering). I was very happy about this and it makes me feel like I am valued as a customer. Sure, $5 might be a drop in the bucket to Proctor & Gamble, but it is good enough for me. Basically, it gives me the money back on the Tide I was not happy with and allows me to puchase my detergent of choice. I was proud of myself for making my dissatisfaction known in a firm, yet polite way and getting a result.
So the moral of this story: don’t be afraid to complain! It doesn’t matter what the product is, if you are not satisfied, let the company know. Say you prefer to write with Bic pens, and you buy a package that is faulty. Send them an e-mail! Any corporation worth their salt will send you a coupon at the very least, as long as you thoughtfully explain the problem and are not obnoxious about it. It might not seem like much, but I think it’s going to matter more and more in this slow economy. Don’t throw your money away and don’t feel like you have to settle.