Britain's 'Greatest Complainer' Doesn't Get Mad, He Gets Even

Download Audio

Has your car ever broken down the day after you bought it? Are your flights constantly delayed and overbooked? Did your barber give you the wrong haircut for your wedding day?

You might need the help of the man who’s been called “Britain’s Greatest Complainer.”

Jasper Griegson is a complaint expert and wrote over 5,000 complaint letters on behalf of readers of the British newspaper, The Daily Express.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson speaks with Jasper Griegson (a pseudonym) to get the scoop on what makes a great complaint.

John Cleese on Saturday Night Live, demonstrating the difficulty of registering a complaint

Jasper Griegson's Tips For Successful Complaints

  1. Write: What’s not worth your time is ringing up. Don't get on the phone and lose your cool. It's much better to fire off a letter or email.
    • "I’m old fashioned," says Jasper who believes in sending an old fashioned letter. "Email is transient and easy to pass on."

  2. Find the person who cares: There are some companies that don’t care — the trick is to get through to someone in the organization who does care.

    • How do you get to that person? Get through to someone at the top, a CEO will care more than a lower down employee.

  3. Be funny: If you can have a one-to-one dialog with a real human being and inject humor you can have remarkable results.

    • Try writing a poem or just make your letter stand out. "I once sent a letter in a pink envelope... sealed with a loving kiss," says Jasper. That way, he knew the secretary wouldn't open it, and it made it all the way to the leader's desk.

  4. Think like an American.

    • "American’s are much better complainers," says Jasper. "There’s a problem with the British psyche ... we don’t express ourselves."



This segment aired on March 24, 2015.


More from Here & Now

Listen Live