Whine, Whine, Whine

We had a power failure last night. An ice storm took down a bunch of hydro poles. Our neighborhood got power back after about three hours. However, some homes nearby were still dark the next morning. The local radio station reported that phone lines into the power company were jammed. We can just imagine the calls they were receiving…

Hydro customer service: Hello, Friendly Hydro. How can I help you?

Caller: Why don’t I have any electricity? (The fact that it’s been storming and freezing rain all night couldn’t have anything to do with it.)

Hydro: The ice storm last night has disrupted service. Our technicians are working to resolve the issue.

Caller: Well when are you going to turn it back on?

Hydro: We didn’t turn off the power. The ice storm knocked down several hydro polls. Our technicians are working on repairs now.

Caller: I pay for electricity, you know! And you’re always putting up your rates.

Hydro: We are working to resolve the issue.

Caller: Your rates are too high anyway. This shouldn’t happen with the rates you charge.

Hydro: We don’t control the weather.

Caller: I’m missing my favorite program! I need my electricity.

Hydro: Our technicians are working to resolve the problem.

Caller: Well, when is it going to be turned back on?

Hydro: As soon as possible. We have all available technicians out working on it right now.

Caller: Well, your rates are too high!

A couple of weeks ago an oil refinery that supplies most of the gasoline for this area suffered a major fire. At the same time, because of a rail-workers strike, gasoline from other refineries couldn’t be shipped in quickly enough. As a result, several gas stations were forced to close while other stations began rationing fuel.

Would you be surprised to know that drivers took their frustration out on the gas station attendants?

Driver: Hey, why isn’t the pump working? (The sign in big red letters on the front of the pump, OUT OF FUEL, wasn’t obvious enough.)

Attendant: Our tanks are empty.

Driver: Well, I need gas.

Attendant: I believe the station down the road still has fuel.

Driver: That’s out of my way.

Attendant: Sorry. Our tanks are empty.

Driver: Well, when are you going to fill them?

Attendant: I don’t know. There was a fire at the refinery and the rail strike is preventing us from getting supplies from elsewhere.

Driver: Well, your prices are too high!

We see the same behavior at airports when flights are canceled due to weather.

Passenger: Why has my flight been canceled? (The blizzard outside probably wasn’t a big enough clue.)

Clerk: The airport has been closed due to the storm.

Passenger: Well, I need to get to Chicago.

Clerk: I understand, but in this weather …

Passenger: I’ve got an important meeting!

Clerk: I understand, but the airport has been closed.

Passenger: Well, what about another plane?

Clerk: There are no other planes leaving tonight. All flights have been canceled.

Passenger: I paid good money for this flight!

Why is it that complaining usually comes down to price?