Saturday, 29 December 2012

It’s so much easier to complain than offer praise!

A friend of mine posted about how her rather curt e-mail to a supplier had obviously hit a nerve.  The supplier had responded by explaining her oversight had been caused by the pressure of Christmas orders and trying to run a small business while nursing a sick husband (man flu) and keeping a 4 year old son entertained.

Personally, I felt the reply didn’t address my friend’s complaint but she may not have reproduced the whole response.  However I was a bit surprised at other responses which were critical of the supplier quoting personal reasons for an oversight.  The feeling seemed to be that business issues should be kept separate form personal ones.

I can agree with that to some extent but there are many people out there who have bravely, in my opinion, set up small businesses to try and support their families.  This must take an incredible amount of work and must be stressful.  Starting up new ventures in the current economic climate is risky, even if you do have a good product/service to offer.  If you also have young children to work around it just adds another factor into the work/life balance.  I’m grateful that both my husband and I have good jobs and stability that don’t require us to have to look at alternative methods of making a living although it would be nice to have the drive and imagination required to set up a business.

But the point I also wanted to make here is that we are so much quicker to complain than we are to praise.  Perhaps anger is a stronger emotion.  It can certainly motivate us to pick up pen and paper (or turn on the computer) and rattle off a complaint when things are not to our satisfaction but can you remember the last time you wrote a letter of thanks for good service?  I’m not sure I can.  Note to self: must do better!


  1. I think this is very wise. It is much easier to pop off a brusque email than to talk to someone over the phone or face to face. But I think that most business people want to work with you to get the problem solved and being rude only makes things harder. Being pleasant, on the other hand, works just as well in most cases, and if it does not, then one can take a sterner tone.

  2. You are right it is far easier to complain but I do try to praise good service.

    I have one other thing to say which is probably not going to be liked by some........If you have young children perhaps it would be better to stop trying to "work around" them and just get on with bringing them up?

    Sorry, me on my high horse and this is one of my biggies!


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