Redefining complaining: complaint produces progress


Adam Flowers, Staff Reporter

From an early age, we’re told that complaining in most capacities is a bad idea. Let’s redefine that and say that nonsensical complaining is more so of a bad thing in comparison to progressive complaining. Nonsensical complaining is more on the spectrum of constantly stating your small, insignificant problems, whereas progressive complaining can get people to help you get tasks done. Granted both forms feel very satisfying, complaining gratuitously and excessively often becomes aggravating. Furthermore, we are in what some may call a “Golden Age” of complaining. By this, we want to complain about every little problem or inconvenience that comes our way. But why not complain about the larger inconveniences? The inconveniences that matter?

  A simple one that happens almost every day is poor customer service. If you were faced with this situation when you were a client in a business and the person serving you gave you poor service, what would you do? According to the blog, “,” Elena Belkina states in a November 12, 2012 article, “70% of defecting customers say that poor service prompted their decision to leave.” These businesses have lost over 50% of their customers on account of poor service. Instead of saying something, or airing grievances and complaining, these customers decided to take it upon themselves and step out. Because of the societal standard that complaining has been given, we feel really uncomfortable to say something to an employee when their customer service is poor. Yet, why do we think that it’s alright to complain about the small problems instead of the problems we need to fix?

  The Black Lives Matter movement was started in July 2013 after a young black person was shot. The movement campaigns against violence and racism towards the African-American community. This movement is a form of progressive complaining. This form of complaint has given black people a voice to air their grievances about violence and racism towards their community. Another form of progressive complaint is the #MeToo movement. This movement, started by Tarana Burke, spread in October 2017. This form of complaint has given sexual assault survivors a window to come forward and say something. Because of these campaigns and complaints, they’ve been put in the political spotlight and more awareness has been raised for both of these campaigns. If no one had the courage to stand up and complain, the abuse and violence would most likely still continue to the extent that it did before these campaigns.

  With that, complacency kills and complaint protects. Staying stuck in the rut of complacency and not saying or doing something has overall lead to deaths of numerous people. Perhaps one of the biggest complaints of all created the country that we reside in today. According to our Constitution, the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” In other words, we have the right of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. We have the right to petition. We have the right to complain. The citizens in our original Thirteen Colonies were not satisfied with how they were being treated by the British. Because of this, they rallied and started the Revolutionary War, thus gaining their independence. They got out of that rut of complacency and complained because they wanted liberation.

  Another example we can use is the Holocaust. The Holocaust was the genocide of Jews that took place during World War II. It overall led to the murder of six million Jews, along with the murder of multiple other groups, such as Christians, homosexuals, and black people. Most German citizens knew that Jews were being gassed and murdered, yet no one really said anything. They stayed complacent. Yet one woman, Guta Blass Weintraub, saved her own life and several others. She was a Jew that was taken to several concentration camps, two of them being Auschwitz and Ravensbruck. According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, Weintraub received a threat from a guard that she will be shot, but she jumped on his back in an attempt to strangle him. He shot at her, but the bullet grazed her skull. She basically played dead and the other guards beat her to make sure she was dead, although she wasn’t. What saved her was a Soviet Bomb raiding. She hid, then was transported to two concentration camps before being released to the Swedish Red Cross. Weintraub is a perfect example of someone, specifically someone who had the odds stacked against her, who didn’t stay complacent and took action to save her own life. There are also numerous complainers in world history, some of them being Martin Luther and Rosa Parks. The two things they all have in common is that they complained and they made a difference by complaining. Although how they complained is very distinguishable. They complained productively.

  Complaining productively can get things done. In an article written by Dave Fleming on, he wrote, “Productive complaining occurs when the complaining highlights something that is wrong with a system.” Like otherwise stated, the citizens of the original thirteen colonies complained and they are the reason why we are here today. Their complaints were empowering. They found a problem with the system and broke it. Although, their complaints had a reason. Every complaint has to be backed up with evidence and reasons, simply because it’s too easy to go off and complain without backing up your argument. Although, to get your complaint fixed, you need to have evidence.

  Martin Luther, a professor and a constituent of the Catholic church, condoned the Catholic view on indulgences. With that, he posted the 95 theses on the doors of the Catholic church. He didn’t just have one complaint. He had 95 complaints and every complaint had a reason. Another thing to note when you decide to complain, you should probably cut back on the whine. And no, not the wine you drink, but whine with an “h.” This simply means to check your tone before you complain. According to an article on, Jonathan D. Sandoval stated that “by being respectful, you’ll convey that you’ve thought about it carefully and your complaint is something that you truly think deserves his or her time, which will make that person more receptive to your thoughts.” You’ll most likely be taken more seriously by who you are talking to and they will take your complaints into consideration. Overall, when airing your grievances, you want to know what you want to achieve. It can simply be wanting something at your job, wanting better customer service, or wanting to make an overall impact within your community. Whatever the case is, you need to know what you want to achieve and thus, take action.