Monday, November 17, 2008

Guest Post: Save Money by Complaining!

Y'all...my blog has arrived! I am honored to post my first guest blog entry. Please enjoy this article written by Betty Mills, human resource extraordinaire and money-saving guru!

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My idea for saving money approaches the subject from the back side. Rather than collect coupons, which I never seem to be organized enough to pull off, I have had success complaining about things that don’t work. Websites have made this easy. In the olden days we had to take pen in hand and write a letter to complain. Now it’s so easy and it only takes a minute or so. I’ll give you two recent examples that I encountered personally:
I am a fan and avid consumer of Lean Cuisine brand frozen lunches, although you certainly couldn’t tell it by looking at me. A couple of months ago, on the recommendation of my sister, who is apparently taste bud challenged, I purchased a “Smart Ones” frozen dinner. Take it from me, you’ve never had such horrible meat loaf. In the past I would have written this off as a bad experience, but instead I sat down in front of the computer and emailed Smart Ones to complain. I didn’t get ugly, just stated that I was disappointed with the taste and threw it away without finishing it. A week later I received a nice note of apology and four coupons for free dinners. Theoretically these would be worthless, I know, but I’m holding out hope that their stuffed peppers are better!
Then, a week or so ago, I noticed that some uninvited guests had moved into my pantry. Living on a farm, you get used to this cold-weather ritual: all the little critters that normally live in the fields move into the house at the first sign of cold weather. So I trekked off to Walmart for mouse traps. The only kind they carried were made by Victor, a very old manufacturer of mouse traps, but they were a new model that uses fake bait instead of the time-tested piece of cheese we all know and love. So I bought four of them, assuming that Victor Mouse Trap Company knows more than I do about mice. No so. After three days I had not caught one mouse. So I emailed Victor and told them of my bad experience. The next morning I had an email from them stating that they were sending me four new mouse traps of the old kind that actually work. Voila – in two days I was a mouse-killing machine.
My recommendation is to save coupons, take advantage of sales and on-line specials, and do all those other wise things to save money. But don’t forget to complain when you’re unhappy with a product. Most companies are anxious for your goodwill and satisfaction and will do what it takes to make you happy.

11 comments:

Lindsey Burke said...

You know your blog is important when...the one and only B Mills is a guest writer!

Mallory said...

I know! Tell me about it. I'm definitely going to try this next time I am disappointed with a product.

Grams said...

Oh, I love it! You go,Betty.
You have met your match with Mallory. She asked to see a "member of management" at Dollywood when she was 11 years old because of unsatisfactory service in a "diner"!

Anonymous said...

After reading this guest blog, I must say that I was appalled at her suggestion on how to save money. Clipping coupons is one thing, but to complain every time you dislike a product is another. Stop freeloading off of companies' attempt to appease you. Taking advantage of their efforts to satisfy their real customers is an unethical attempt at saving pennies. Re-evaluate your strategy.

Grams said...

Oh, anonymous, loosen up, this is all in fun!

Mallory said...

Anonymous- I'd like you to clarify what you mean by "real customers". I think that anyone who spends money to purchase a product/service is a real customer. If someone is not pleased with the quality of a product or service that they have spent money on, they have a right to let the company know. Like the author said, she didn't get ugly or rude and she didn't make up false complaints. There isn't anything unethical about letting a company know you weren't happy with their product. On the flip side, I've heard of people writing companies to praise their product and they also have gotten coupons. The bottom line is that we should feel free to communicate with manufacturers/companies to tell them when we are happy and unhappy with their products. Most good companies believe that feedback, whether positive or negative, is a gift.

Lindsey Burke said...

I think it is so amusing when people comment on blogs and yet hide behind the "anonymous" label. Stand behind your comments by leaving your name. Mal, I wonder if this is the same "anonymous" who commented on your post about at home births?

JACKSON ANDREWS said...

"Re-evaluate your strategy"???? Anonymous, I think you need to re-evaluate your commenting strategy. You know what's appalling? Commenting anonymously! I think differences in opinions are a great thing. What I am torn over however, is that some people are too insecure to stand behind their own thoughts. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in helping you boost your confidence. Honestly, I think if we work together we could have you posting confidently in about a month or two! JACKSON ANDREWS

Betty said...

Wow... all this dissent over a bad slice of meatloaf and a few defective mouse traps! Mallory, I agree - I AM a customer by virtue of the fact that I paid my money for these defective items once and didn't think I should have to pay twice. And Jackson, I agree - why would anyone have to hide behind an "anonymous" posting to make such a harmless, banal point. (To Anonymous: "banal" means boring, and the emphasis goes on the second syllable.) That said, I have a suggestion. Since Mallory will be a virtual shut-in for couple of weeks soon, does anyone have suggestions for movies she could rent to help pass the time (as if a new baby won't pass it well enough!). If so, maybe she'd let you be a guest blogger, too.

Teri said...

What a hoot! Shannon and I got the biggest kick out of this comment exchange. I guess anonymous got more than he or she BARGAINED for!

Fred Roberts said...

Whew! I never thought of that one.. I was really smiling when I see how those companies tried to make up for the disappointments that their clients were experiencing. Thank you for giving me hint. I'll to email the company with whom I have bought that general maintenance service sets the other month. Something is wrong with the machine.