How to Complain Your Way to a Better Vacation
I consider myself a pretty decent person, with realistic expectations of social courtesies—there’s nothing like being sandwiched on a rush-hour train to make you realize that you are an insignificant piece of debris in the grand scheme of life.
However, when I’m on vacation, I suddenly turn into The Travel Diva. Once we’ve splurged on a nice resort, I expect everything to go perfectly, that I’ll be wrapped in a warm paraffin wax of contentment for the entire time I’m there. I become so entitled that even the maid failing to replenish the bottles of lotion in the bathroom can prompt an annoyed call to housekeeping. Despite the pangs of guilt, the fact that my grievances are so often rewarded by generous hotel personnel has taught me that it literally pays to complain:
Rant: Our room was lovely, overlooking the pool, but at night I could hear loud frolicking and laughing in the hot tub, while I was trying to sleep. The Jacuzzi was supposed to be closed at 9 p.m. and this was long after that. I called the front desk to complain. I did that two nights in a row.
Reward: The first night, I received profuse apologies, and they sent a guard to have the perps jettisoned from the Jacuzzi. The next day, the hotel gave us giant cookies and a bottle of wine. If I hadn’t complained, I would not have enjoyed that yummy free snack (of course I might not have needed wine if I wasn’t so upset about the bad sleep). After the second night of after-hours raucous revelry, the resort took off an entire night’s rate from our bill. I slept a lot better after that.
(See also: How to Complain Effectively—About Anything)
Rant: Our daughter was scheduled for a tennis lesson. About halfway through the lesson, someone else arrived and claimed the court, as the resort had double-booked it. Well, you would have thought I was Serena Williams’ mother, and that if my daughter didn’t get to finish her lesson, it would prevent her from winning the Grand Slam. There was no way I was giving up that court time without compensation.
Reward: We got the (half) tennis lesson for free. But I gave the guy a really nice tip. Especially when he told me that I looked like I worked out a lot.