The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease." This has been a hard lesson for me to learn because I have always been very shy and afraid to speak up or complain.

When I say, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." I am referring to business and retail matters.
There is a fine line between standing up for yourself and going too far. A wheel that constantly squeaks even after being greased can be very annoying and no one likes to be around a constant complainer.

Most businesses want you to tell them if you are unhappy and have made it easy to communicate. Almost every business has a place on their website for complaints. It is so easy to take a minute and fill out a complaint if you are unhappy, and most businesses are happy to make it up to you. Here are some examples:

A couple of years ago I bought a Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia pint of ice cream. I love cherries, but sadly found only 1 in the entire pint of ice cream. I went online and filled out a complaint form which asked for things like the bar code number and store I bought it at. A couple of weeks later I was sent a coupon for a free pint of ice cream and several other discount coupons.

I buy the big boxes of Huggies diapers at Costco and was very frustrated a couple of years ago with the ink that kept rubbing off on my son's clothes. I went to Huggie's website and filled out a complaint form including the bar code number and other information. They sent me coupons for $60 in free diapers! It only took a few minutes out of my time to complain about something that most parents just ignored. My voice was heard and Huggies assured me that they were going to use less dye in future diapers since others had also complained.

Last month we stopped at a KFC and picked up some Snackers. When we got home the chicken was so tough and hard that we couldn't eat them. I emailed KFC and was sent an email back saying that they would like to make it up to us and buy us a combo meal or more Snackers.

Last month we went to a restaurant for dinner and were seated in the very back corner. The waiter took our order and we never saw him again. People who were seated after us were getting their food, so my husband went in search of help. He found the manager and told him the situation. It turns out that our order had been lost so they said they would move it up to the top and not charge us for the 2 kid's meals. I politely told the manager that we had somewhere we needed to be and not to bother. He felt so bad that he gave us the whole order for free and packed it up to go. I was not trying to get a free meal, just speaking up and being honest. To be honest, I would have rather had a relaxing meal in the restaurant with my family than eating in the car on the way to our appointment. However, not having to pay for the meal did make up for the inconvenience.

After eating almost all of our dinner at one of my favorite restaurant's, my husband noticed that his chicken was a little pink in the middle. When the manager came by to ask how our food was, we asked if it was supposed to be pink. Well, it wasn't and our meal was free that night.

A few years ago we were at a new restaurant and when the manager came by to ask how the food was I told him mine was not very good. He apologized and had me order something else and didn't charge for the previous order. I told him it was my fault that I didn't like it (I'm a picky eater) and that I was fine, but he insisted on making me happy.

I am very good at paying my bills on time so when I forgot to pay the American Express bill I felt horrible. They charged me $20 plus interest making the fee around $40. We called them and because I am so good to pay my bills on time every month, they waived the whole fee.

When we had new windows installed in our house the owner of the business was horrible to us. He didn't do a very good job installing the windows and did an even worse job installing our new sliding door. When we asked him to fix it he told us we would have to pay extra for him to reinstall it. I emailed the main company and he came over the next day to re-install the sliding door. He was not happy about it, but didn't want the complaint on his record. We did try to work out our problem with him first, but he was unreasonable.

These are just a few examples. If you are ever unsatisfied with anything, it never hurts to "squeak" a little and most of the time you can just fill out a form online. I am a very shy person and am still learning how to speak up for myself. I would love to hear your stories and examples. Just leave me a comment.


  1. How funny, I just wrote a post about this type of thing yesterday (and added a link). I ended up saving over $200 on my countertops by speaking up about a promotion I thought I deserved.

  2. Thanks for coming by. I added 3 fun links to your party, added your party button to my blog party scroll bar and followed you as well. I look forward to getting to know you better.

  3. I, too, think it's completely acceptable to "squeak" when a product does not meet my expectations. I recenly bought a differenct brand of dishwasher detergent which left a horrible film all over our dishes. I emailed the company about it, and they sent me a $5 check in the mail - more than what I actually paid - and several coupons for other products. Other companies like Mega-Bloks and Fisher-Price have been very accommodating when I've called with a broken part - often resulting in a whole new toy for free. Good customer service from reputable companies has made me more willing to buy from them rather than buying a cheaper knock-off brand. The only downside to all this great customer service is now I feel kind of entitled to free stuff when something breaks - not always the case. And, I've learned that "you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar", too.

  4. I agree about squeaking! I added your Penny button!