It seems as though each of us has had a complaint about something or someone at one time in our lives, but when asked what we did to address the situation, the answer we invariably gave was, “Well . . . nothing, really.”
Why don’t we ever do anything about the things that bother us? Are we afraid of reprisal? Do we feel inadequate to the task? Or, is it that we’d like to do something (we really would), but we just don’t know where to start? How about writing a letter? (after all, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” right?). Oh, nobody writes letters anymore, you reply. And I say that’s nonsense!
I’ll give you a perfect example. Recently, my wife and I each received a packet from our health insurer (I won’t name the company, but suffice it to say that it is one of only two health insurers licensed to sell a Medicare Advantage policy in the state of North Carolina). Inside was a 26 page, four-color, glossy-finish brochure (spiral-bound, no less) which was, in the words of the company’s Vice President of “Member Experience” (what the heck does that mean, anyway?), designed to help us live a “healthier life.” Its focus was to help “brighten your day,” and it was packed with “happy images and quotes” to help us make the most of each day, and to “embrace positivity each and every day.” In the words of comedian Steve Martin, “Excuuuuuuuuse me?”
I was fuming! What a complete waste of money. The thing must have cost a fortune. Like I really need a brochure filled with inspirational images and sayings to help me enjoy each day! I don’t think so. But what could I do about it? That was the question. (Admit it, most of you would just “moan and groan” to your friends, and that would be the end of it.) But I’m a writer, so I decided to do the one thing I could do that first came to mind: write about it.
So, I sat down and composed a series of letters. The first one was directed at the source of the problem: the insurance company and its “Vice President of Member Experience.” Subsequent letters went to my congressmen and my two US senators (I’m fair, if nothing else). Finally, I wrote to the editor of my local newspaper, and asked that my extensive tome be published as a guest editorial (since it exceeded the permissible word count for a letter to the editor by at least 200 percent).
Will anything come of my letter-writing campaign? I don’t know, but I hope so! However, even if the answer is no, I feel as though I’ve done more than the average person who does absolutely nada. I’ve at least made my voice heard, and that’s something.
So, the next time you’re kept waiting in a doctor’s office for an hour before being seen, or the mailman (or lady) leaves someone else’s mail in your mailbox, or a waitress brings you a cold plate of pasta, or anything at all just “pisses you off,” don’t just moan and groan about it. Do something! Write a letter.
Oh, by the way, did I ever tell you about the time I wrote a letter to the CEO of a major food company and complained about its packaging? No? Well, I did, and just the other day, I used the five-dollar coupon I received for my efforts to pick up something for dinner—on him, of course!
So what are you waiting for? Get writing!
NOTE: Joe Perrone Jr is the author of the highly-successful Matt Davis Mystery Series: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises (an Indie B.R.A.G. medallion winner, along with Opening Day). All four are available in paperback and E-book from Amazon.com. As the Twig is Bent and Opening Day are also available in audiobook from Audible.com, with Twice Bitten and Broken Promises soon to follow.
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