What should we do with these odd complaints?

Wow. Test. You.

Scroll through our vast complaints database — more than 2,000 of them this year — and you’ll see a lot of familiar names under the “company” category. And some you would not expect.

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My favorite? Wow.

Wow, what?

WOW Air, as it turns out. “Do you have an email address for an executive?” asked reader Martin Taxson.

Of course we did.

We have a lot of strange complaint categories. And just to be clear, these complaints are supposed to be last-ditch efforts to get a company to do the right thing. My volunteers and I field many more questions through our forums or email. The form-submitted cases are supposed to be the hardest of the hard-luck cases.

Well, usually.

Here’s a row of “complaints” we received a few weeks ago.


All of the files were empty. I’m not really sure what our readers were testing, but whatever it was, I wish them the best of luck with finding it.

And then there’s “yours” for the complaint category — as in your site.

Just last month, we received half a dozen of those. Most were hate mail.

Sara De Jong, a restaurant server from Orange City, Iowa, read my recent story about the relentless spread of tipping, and wanted to complain.

To me.

“I had a customer come in and before they finished paying, they told me about an article they read: yours,” she says. “They also said they no longer need to tip, and if enough people do the same, our wage will change, so no need to be upset.”

She’s upset about that.

“I want a public apology,” she says. “And maybe tell people that they should be tipping!”

She adds, “I do not make minimum wage without tips. How is it OK for you to tell people to not tip us? Believe it or not but you don’t need to tip, but if we do change things, prices for going out to eat are going to go up drastically!”

De Jong also wants me to pay her $100.

What a strange request.

First of all, I don’t believe her story. Sure, the story ran in a few newspapers, but I don’t believe anyone told her that they didn’t have to tip her because of something they read.

Let’s scroll to the bottom of the article to read what I actually wrote:

Service employees with below-minimum-wage jobs really need the gratuities to make ends meet. Travelers are pressured to pay more than the sticker price on everything from coffee to Korean barbecue — and made to feel guilty if they don’t.

Maybe we’ve reached a tipping point. And maybe it’s time for businesses to pay their employees a living wage and to eliminate the system of not-so-voluntary gratuities. Many travelers feel guilt tipping crosses a line. If you’re not one of them, just take a trip and experience these aggressive solicitations for yourself.

You’ll see.

I’m not sure where I said, “Don’t tip” in there. Can you find it?

I think De Jong didn’t bother to read the article. Instead, she relied on what a mob of angry waiters on Facebook had to say about the story. They called me every name in the book. Really made them look like professionals, that did.

Like I said, “yours” is a strange category, and hers is an even stranger demand.

Needless to say, I’m not paying her $100.