A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were out with friends for a meal at a local restaurant which has become quite popular.
We arrived early and waited in the bar area with a drink until we were called to our table. It was very busy.
There followed a 50 minute wait, before we were served our first course and whereas my wife and I felt that was a little too long, our friends were seriously put out and from that moment they were determined to be recompensed in some way for the inconvenience.
They asked for this, they asked for that, they hinted on a discount, they said they were under pressure to catch a train (untrue) and they returned food.
The result of all this was a £20 discount at the end of the evening, which I promptly returned in a tip to the waitress after our friends had left.
The cost of complaining for me is about much more than the anticipation of a discount.
It is the giving up in the moment the pleasure of being in company, the pleasure of conversation, the pleasure of sharing and catching up with the lives of our friends and family.
I learned from bitter experience many years ago, that to complain is to lose perspective, it is to take out ones own frustrations on the hired help of a restaurant, often young people who are working unsociable hours to make ends meet through college.
My way of complaining is to walk away and not return, at least for a while, until my memory of the poor service or poor food or poor atmosphere has dissipated from my mind.
Our friends left us with smiles and kisses after their successful complaint, none the wiser that for us, their friends, the evening had been an ordeal.
The relief after they had left us was palpable, we were almost giddy to be alone for a while as we waited for our taxi to arrive.
The cost of complaining I believe eventually impacts on the complainant because friendships are strained, families are torn open and society becomes fractious and intolerant too.
My next blog will be: Transgressor