Complaint department: CLOSED!

The Delta Airlines security line was impossibly long at JFK Airport earlier this week, when my son and I were headed to LA. Colby had arrived at the airport earlier and sailed through security, but a big line had formed by the time I got to the terminal. Passengers became anxious about missing their flights and irritated with the airport personnel who were acting like generals. Two men and a woman traveling together stood behind me; one of the men was agitated about the whole process and complaining every step of the way. “I can’t stand taking off my shoes,” he mumbled to his companions. “I’ve learned it’s best to just accept it all,” the other man said. “Complaining only makes it worse.”

I smiled to myself at the man’s wisdom. Complaining at times like this does make it worse. It’s easy to work yourself into a frenzy when you have no control over a lousy situation, but since your kvetching will accomplish nothing, why waste the energy?

I cringe when I think about the frustrations many of us face almost every day. Among the leaders:

Trying to get answers to pressing questions, about everything from your phone bill to your checking account, from pre-recorded messages. Automated customer support “menus” make us feel helpless.

Standing endlessly on the  subway platform, waiting for the next train, which is apparently delayed. People are continually leaning over the edge of the platform to see if a train is coming.   Riders are grimacing, muttering under their breath about missing meetings and criticizing the subway system.

Hitting gridlock when cabbing or driving to an important appointment. The minutes are ticking by and you’re not budging.

Next time you feel frustrated by situations like any of these, think about the advice from the man in the airport. Cool it! Complaining makes matters worse.




0 Responses to “Complaint department: CLOSED!”

  1. Kate Line Snider says:

    Thanks for this blog! I get tired of listening to whining.

    I live in Chesterfield County, VA, a suburb of Richmond. We have fewer daily frustrations than those of you who live in bigger urban areas, but there are some. For instance, due to delays at the cross-town distribution center, the daily mail isn’t delivered to our street until around 7 PM. This is frustrating and inconvenient, particularly if you have to go out to the street in a rainstorm- in the dark- to get it.

    I’ve quit fussing about it and so have my neighbors. Life is too short to bitch about everything.

  2. Patricia C. says:

    Living in a big city is definitely stressful. I have seen the best and the worst behavior, especially when it comes to driving. You can risk your life sometimes while walking or bike riding in downtown Seattle. I also find that if I absolutely have to do something, like taking off my shoes at the airport, I just do it, and not put a lot of negative thought in to the situation. That would only make me feel bad longer over a situation that can be quickly forgotten if I remain calm about it.


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