To Complain or Not to Complain: Does It Matter?

I come from a long history of complainers which I’m not saying is positive or negative;  I’m simply stating the obvious.  Once as a teen when my family attempted to dine at a seafood chain restaurant, the cards did not seem to fall in anyone’s favor, but mine.  After a too lengthy wait, we were finally seated.  Age muddles the details, but what I do remember is not one patron at my table was happy with his/her order except for me.  Thus, irritation and impatience loomed at the table.  While dishes were being sent back to the kitchen and managers were being summoned, I was quietly enjoying my meal.  No complaints here with the food.  My only complaint at the time was the mortification of being seated next to these complainers.  I was a teenybopper;  what can I say?

When my husband and I were newly married, we decided to spend the weekend away at a hotel which was offering a Valentine’s Special.  Young and naive, we jumped at this opportunity.  After a lengthy wait with check-in, we were finally given the key to our room.  With much anticipation, we rode the elevator to our floor.  Once entering the room, we decided to test the bed and scope out the amenities.  Before heading to the pool, we peeked into the bathroom only to find fecal matter on the seat.  Mind you, this was not our fecal matter.  Oh joy, not an ideal way to commence this romantic weekend we had envisioned.  
Furthermore, as part of the attractive package, a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries were to be delivered to the room.  When we returned from the pool, strawberries and champagne were nowhere to be found in the room.  We called the front desk and were assured they would remedy this situation right away.  They told us they were running behind and would have them delivered shortly.  Thus, we opted to walk to dinner nearby.  On our return, still no strawberries and champagne.  
Not to fear, we decided to order the complimentary in-room movie.  After making a selection, we punched the correct order of buttons only to be presented with a message on the screen, “No Movies Available at This Time.”  Apparently everyone else was taking advantage of this offer, too.
When we returned home, as a couple we decided to write a letter informing the hotel of our memorable experience.  Honestly not looking for a freeby because we knew we didn’t want to stay there again, we did feel someone should be aware of our less-than-hospitable stay.  After a few weeks, we did receive a reply in the mail with a summary sentence, “We are not known for this at our hotel.”  Well, this statement is definitely true now, being that this hotel is no longer in business.
In a more recent adventure, I was at a chain restaurant with my five-year-old daughter in the hopes of purchasing an ice cream cake for her preschool graduation.  We approached the counter with a coupon from the Sunday paper in hand.  No “hello,” “how may I help you,” or even a “what do you want?”  Instead, we were accosted with, “Where did you get this [coupon]?”  Stunned by the question, I replied, Huh?”  Turning the coupon over repeatedly on the counter, again the employee asked, “Where did you get this coupon?”  I told her from the paper as the coupon was obviously from a magazine publication.  She then asked if it was from the local paperWhen I informed her the coupon in question was from the Sunday circular, she replied, “I’ve never seen this before,” and then retreated to the back in order to see if she could accept this.  After what seemed like an exorbitant amount of time, she returned mumbling, “I’ve never seen this before,” but reluctantly accepted the coupon.  
Okay, I am attempting rightfully so to receive a $3 discount on a $25 cake.  This is after I purchased my daughter’s lunch and my own at full price.  Is there some sort of black market couponing I do not know about where coupons are meticulously printed on magazine paper?  Are these coupons being smuggled across the borders?  Do I fit the FBI profile of a scam artist?  I don‘t knowno explanation was ever given for her gruff attitude and certainly no apology.  I walked away with the 10″ cake in hand wondering if alarms would be set off once I walked through the door or if officers with handcuffs were waiting to take me down outside (much like on Dateline:  To Catch a Predator).  
My friend urged me to write a letter of complaint.  I did, but will it matter?  Will I put an end to coupon discrimination?  Will the employee-in-question no longer be suscpicious of customers with preschool children in tow and accept coupons without putting them under the microscope?  Who knows?  What I do know is I will eat seafood out again, I will probably fall for an “attractive package” again, and I will definitely eat more ice cream cake with a smile on my face. 
  

Larry McMurtry’s Books: A Memoir Book Club

Who would have thought reading a book about a man’s love affair with books would be so addicting?  I’m a bookaholic, and even I wasn’t so sure when I checked Books:  A Memoir out from the library.  I was hooked on the cover photograph, though, gaggles and gaggles of books.
McMurtry discuss in great detail his own obsession, “I had to have books,” (20) with books which eventually led to his buying and selling books.  In fact, he utilizes his love of books to remember prominent points on his personal time line:  the beginning of his teaching career, the end of his marriage, the growth of his son, etc.  
The wit, intellect, and characterization found in this memoir is mesmerizing to say the least, and I noticed I read with a permanent smirk on my face throughout.  When McMurtry tells of some eccentric book sellers he came across during his book hunts, such as the owner who had books piled high in a one-room shop, I had no choice but to laugh out loud.  In order to “view” the books, a customer was to make use of provided binoculars for which McMurtry spent hours scanning the titles giving a whole other meaning to browsing the shelves.”
For the purposes of book club, Coca-Cola served in the bottle should be the beverage of choice served for your discussion.  Without giving too much away, this would be an ideal conversation starter on the topic of difficult customers McMurtry encountered at his own book shop, Booked Up.  An assortment of chocolate ” . . . we might offer our children”  (20) to accompany the soda in lieu of beef intestines would be my preference.