We Received Your Complaint Collection

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

July 10, 2023

Welcome to Carrot Ranch Literary Community where creative writers from around the world and across genres gather to write 99-word stories. A collection of prompted 99-word stories reads like literary anthropology. Diverse perspectives become part of a collaboration.

We welcome encouraging comments. You can follow writers who link their blogs or social media.

Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.

Complaint Received by Norah Colvin

“I want to lodge a complaint.”
“You can’t lodge a complaint here.”
“But the sign says, ‘Complaint Department’.”
“It used to be here, but now it’s not.”
“Where is it then?”
“Fourth floor.”

“The elevator’s out of order.”
“I already told you. Fourth floor.”
“How do I get to the fourth floor if the elevator’s not working?’
“Stairs.”
“Where?”

“The stairs are blocked.”
“Fourth floor. Remember?”
“Aaargh!”
“What’s the problem here?”
“I want to lodge a complaint, but the elevator’s broken and the stairs are blocked.”
“We’re aware of the problem. Complaint received. Thank you.”
“But —”

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The OWC by Colleen M. Chesebro

“Hello?” Hello. You’ve reached the OWC, the Office of Witchcraft Complaints. How may I assist you?”

“I’d like to file a complaint. I’ve been hexed, and I’d like the hex removed.”

“Hmm… I’ll need to connect you to the Hex Removal Office. Hang on and I’ll connect you.”

Click-Click-Pffft!

“Good morning, Hex Removal Office.”

“Yes, I’d like to file a complaint. I’ve been hexed, and I’d like the hex removed.”

“I’m sorry, we don’t accept complaints here. This is the Hex Removal Office. I’ll connect you to the OWC, the Office of Witchcraft Complaints. Stay on the line.” “

ARGH!”

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Reception by D’Ora X. Plorah

She never complained. She endured. She endured his complaints.
His complaints weren’t directed at her, mind you, it was just his constant comments, his disappointments; everything was either too this or too that, or, most often, not quite enough.
No, his complaints had no direction, they simply seeped, a slow toxic spread of unhappiness.
But many didn’t even notice. You’ve got it good, they said, and he’d reply, with backhanded positivity, Could be worse.
That gave her pause. It could be worse.
She didn’t complain, just began to think it could be better.
And she left, with just enough.

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Tides of Time by The Sicilian Storyteller

She lost her dearest friend last night. Her friend did not die but their precious relationship did. What makes a solid friendship come crashing down like a sandcastle, a friendship we think will test the tides of time and prevail? The vitriolic words from her friend’s mouth were like a slow-burning poison in her gut. Never had she been so verbally and needlessly attacked. It was shocking; she will never speak with her friend again. Anger of such magnitude reveals a person’s true colors. What a selfish way to act. What an awful way for a friendship to die.

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Delayed Diagnosis by Anne Goodwin

She was lucky to get an appointment; a diagnostic blood test was sheer greed. “It’s not an emergency. Come back in a couple of weeks.”

Past midnight in the hospital, they frowned at her results. The damage was so obvious, even her addled brain could understand.

Between the scans, biopsies, injections and transfusions, she rattled the keyboard of her laptop, setting out her case. Unless she flagged her GP’s complacency, he might make the same mistake again.

Convalescing, mourning her lost identity as healthy, a letter from the GP. What would he now do differently? Nothing. Nothing at all.

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A Letter of Complaint (Part I) by Sue Spitulnik

Dear Owner,

I heard your establishment specializes in Irish music. I traveled a distance for the music and hoped to meet other Irish folks. What I heard were patriotic and beer-drinking country songs and finally TWO Irish songs. I was disgusted.
I tried to find out your name and was told, Mac. Do you not have a first and last name? And the name of your establishment, “No Thanks Needed.” Do you not expect your patrons to say thank you? Maybe I shouldn’t have left a tip either.

My meal was good, but I won’t be returning.

Disheartened Lady

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A Letter of Complaint (Part II) by Sue Spitulnik

Mac read the complaint letter and shook his head. He scribbled his response to purge the angry feelings that were boiling.

Lady,

Do you have a name? How about an address? Are you real?
Did you not see the large informative poster behind the bar?
Have you ever met a veteran before? Maybe you should search for someone with a military branch hat on and ask them what they did for our country.

Most people don’t know my first name because I don’t like it, so none of my employees would dare share it.

Get a life. Elsewhere! Mac

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Thanks for the Feedback! by Joanne Fisher

We’ve received your complaint and wish to address the points you made:

Firstly, we weren’t all drunk when we came up with the idea for our product, nor were we “high on illicit drugs”. Management tends to frown on such activity in the office.

Secondly, while you are free to do what you will with our product, we don’t believe inserting it there would be beneficial.

Lastly, as it is clear you have no liking for our ethos, we suggest you follow the same advice you gave us at the end of your own letter.

Good day!

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The Informant’s Gamble by Nicole Horlings

‘The Handmaiden’ glanced up from her retail restocking checklist to see a burly fellow deliberately striding towards her, and gulped. She recognized him; she had provided information about his criminal activities to Zach Kane, fully intending that Zach’s article would hinder the continuation of those activities. She subtly pressed the call button for security. The fellow leaned heavily on the edge of her assistant-manager desk, snarling, “I’ve got an issue with the service.” “We’ve received your complaint,” The Handmaiden replied as professionally as she could. Threat delivered, he casually wandered off, smirking at the security guard, “Snitches get stitches.”

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An Unexpected Response by Hugh W. Roberts

“We’ve received your complaint,” the email whispered through the screen.

Sarah’s blood ran cold. How did they know? She had never told a soul about the scratching sounds that echoed from her attic at night.

The email continued, “We apologise for the disturbance caused by our spectral resident. Rest assured; our exorcist team will investigate the paranormal activity.”

Dread clutched Sarah’s heart. She’d never have expected a reply, let alone a promise to banish the unseen entity.

The attic door creaked open as she stared at her inbox, revealing a shadowy figure.

Her complaint had caught the ghost’s attention.

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The Complaint by Bill Engleson

“I’ve been waiting, like, forever…”

“Sorry. We’ve been jammed up. System went down…again.”

“So, do I have to start again?”

“Hope not. We’ve received your complaint…it’s just, a few more questions…”

“Like what?”

“I’ll be quick. It’s almost lunchtime. Basically, your complaint is that you…haven’t crossed over.”

“Exactly. I signed the waivers, got my affairs in order, said my goodbyes, took the pill, yet I still seem to be here…in the bloody flesh. What gives?”

“Can I touch you?”

“Feel away.”

“My my, that’s fresh flesh, alrighty. Life’s full of surprises.”

“And death?”

“Back to square one, I’m afraid.”

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In the Wrong Box by Reena Saxena

We’ve received a complaint, but in the wrong box
We don’t deal with the forbidden, or unlucky charms
You ask about a parcel yet to be delivered
Maybe happiness spilt out with a jolt We don’t deal with the forbidden, or unlucky charms
there are scavengers hunting for what’s in there
Maybe happiness spilt out with a jolt
and the parcel ran away to find its contents there are scavengers hunting for what’s in there
We’ve received a complaint, but in the wrong box
and the parcel ran away to find its contents
overlooking what’s close, chasing the omnipresent

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Complaints Welcome by Dianne Borowski

“Papa, Papa, I don’t want the baby. Send him back PLEASE! “

“He is your brother, Josette. We can’t send him back.”

“Then give him away Papa.” Josette is almost four. She’s not happy about the tiny intruder who has entered her world.

This makes it hard for my wife to have a fussy baby and a jealous, crabby Josette. In the morning my dear sweet wife complains. When I return home Josette complains. I have decided to set up an official complaint department in the den. I put a sign on the door, “Complaints Welcome.”

This works quite well.

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Unvoiced Complaint by Kerry E.B. Black

Frustration rained upon her like a hurricane. Fibromyalgia riddled her body. Arthritis ached. Headache pushed against her brain. Bills threatened to bury her if she weren’t careful. Housework. Yardwork. Her job. The kids blinked emotional chameleon eyes with slow misinterpretation and acted out, certain their bad behavior would garner attention. With each occurrence, she slid into quiet despair. She greeted her husband with a head on his shoulder and a strangling embrace. He collected her hands and studied her. “Pack up the kids,” he declared. “You need a break.” She protested. “Can’t afford it.” “We can’t afford not to.”

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Complaints from State Prison by Melissa Lemay

My children’s father called from prison. I didn’t have much to
say. He became angry with me for having boundaries. He and
his mother are too close, and she gets involved in things
she shouldn’t. I can sense when things are about to go
south. I am doing what I need to for my family.
There is always fallout when immature people don’t get their own
way–this time it was in the form of the thirty-eight-year-old
man who spent over two decades shooting heroin into his arms,
telling me I use people for money. We’ve received your complaint.

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I Have A Complaint by Geoff Le Pard

Jeremiah Backstabber ran Little Tittweaking’s dedicated complaints business. He promised a 24 hour personal service with satisfaction guaranteed. Mo Ning his most determined client had discovered an eternal truth: the more you complain, the more you have to complain about. Her biggest complainee became Jeremiah; when he refused to accept a complaint against himself, Derek Liction O’Duty set up in competition. Mo’s list of recriminations grew and soon every commercial property was dedicated to her complaints. That there was no space left for any other businesses about which to complain didn’t stop the doggedly. inexorable march of Mo Ning

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Inferno by Sarah Brentyn

Thanks for contacting us! We’ve received your complaint and are looking into the issue! Business hours are Monday through Friday, 2:00 AM – 2:16 AM. We respond within 48 days. BS Team

We’re experiencing a high volume of complaints. We appreciate your patience! BS Team

How did we do? Send feedback to BS.Team.FFS@dante’s8thcircle! BS Team

Feedback for what, exactly? I’m still waiting.

Thanks for contacting us! We’ve received your complaint and are looking into the issue! Business hours are Monday through Friday, 2:00 AM – 2:16 AM. We respond within 48 days. BS Team

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Compliments or Complaints by Miss Judy

“We’ve received your complaint. All our customer service reps are actively addressing customer complaints. Your issue will be dealt with in the order it was received.”

This was the response Carey received when she clicked “SUBMIT” to the online form. Since no other contact information had been provided, she had used the form to submit a compliment, not a complaint. You see, Carey, also a CSR, understood the importance of positive feedback.

Carey returned to the form, promptly chastising the company for failing their employees and, obviously, their customers.

She wondered if or when she would get a response.

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From the Response Department by Duane L Herrmann

“We have received your complaint, there is nothing we can do. We have your money, we fulfilled our contracted service. The outcome was not what you desired, what you desired was not possible. Next time read the instructions, we cannot read them for you. The Age of Aquarius is over, this is the age of greed and corporate self-interest. You are not a corporation with assets in the millions: we do not care about you. If you attempt to contact us again, you will be ignored. Your account with us has now been closed. Get a life. Goodbye.”

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A Lifelong Complaint by sweeter than nothing

Dear Mrs Sweet, we have received your complaint and want you to know, we are taking this seriously. 

I’m not sure there is much I can personally do for you and will have to refer your case to The Creator. 

I’m sorry to hear your knees need replacing sooner than advertised and you’re having trouble with your software. Yes, faulty wiring may well be the cause of your audiological issues but sadly an upgrade is unavailable at this time.   

In the future, please address all correspondence straight to God.

Please accept our thoughts and prayers.

Have a blessed day.

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Complaint by Simon

“We’ve received your complaint.”
He was satisfied complaining on a new site that asked to punish people for their wrong doings.
The engineer he complained about not following the rules on site found dead that night.
Poor Pete doesn’t know who the killer was.
His girlfriend that noticed his changes in behavior took him to psychiatrist.
Shocked to reveal he has multiple personalities. Not just that, the site he created has received 1000+ complaints. More than 100 of them already got killed in last 90 days.
Lucy must save the 900 people from Pete.
Lucy can do this alone?

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Last Laugh by Stephanie Mordi

The sun is high, perfect for a trip to the park. Mr. Morriston walks his poodle while I swing along, making conversation with them. He stops, combs fingers through his damp hair, cursing, “Fuck off, Baboon!”

“Ou!,” I yell, throwing an acorn.

He immediately calls someone, smirking at me the whole process, “Hello?” “I’m calling from…., I’d like to report…” The conversation drags, and I vaguely hear a familiar “We’ve received your complaint.”

Dan, from Animal Control, arrives soon after. “Debs, let’s go home” I swing onto his shoulder, smirking when Morriston’s bald head reddens. Now who’s the Baboon?

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“Thanks a lot, Bud!” by Margaret G. Hanna

Harry ripped open the envelope.

Dear Mr. Auston, We are in receipt of your complaint . . .

“Yah, only after two letters and a phone call.”

Please be advised we are looking into this.

“You’d damn well better be.”

We value your patronage . . .

“If you value it so much, just send me the part I ordered two months ago instead of this stupid letter!”

You may come into our store at your earliest convenience . . .

“What! I bloody will not drive 300 miles!”

Harry’s next letter was addressed to the Better Business Bureau.

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Lodging Complaints by Sadje

The guy on the other end assured me, “We have received your complaint, and someone will be contacting you soon”

With a sigh, I disconnected the call, not believing a word of the statement. My patience was running out as this was the fourth call in two days to the internet provider.

This is the third company we’ve employed for the Internet. It’s the same story every time; a great service promised that just lasts a few weeks and then it’s back to constant complaints!

Perhaps they will fix it this time, I think optimistically, but I’m losing patience.

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Life Only Gets Better by Frank James

“We have received your complaint,” could cause bitterness about a problem. Not me because I reduced anxiety, by correcting it. I controlled my reaction to negative stimulus, leading to a calmer life. This created internal balance. As a result, I could positively affect the world.

Instead of yelling at the person who shoved in front of me at the coffee shop. Maybe, pay for his coffee. The calmness permits me to enjoy the first time the rest of the world remembers me for who I am.

Next time, feel good when those five words appear. Life only gets better.

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Harry’s Impossible Dreamin’ by JulesPaige

Harry looked oddly at the mirror behind Kid and Pal, so they too turned around and read the words formed “We’ve received your complaint. No use trying to poke at windmills. Authors tend to take their time when they get stumped, blank out or take a ‘walk-about’. You’re safe and in good company. Stay tuned. And remember to enjoy your time at the Saddle Up Saloon at Carrot Ranch…. “

“Refill on yer sasprilla,” Kid asked.

Pal chimed in, “Y’ain’t related to Donnie Quixote? He don’ thought windy-mills were somethin’ to fight aginst”

Harry, stunned, shook his head.

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Cultivatin Positive Shifts (Part I)

“Dang sun’s in my eyes.”
“Move inta the shade.”
“Too cold. I like the warm here.”
“What’re ya doin anyways, Pal?”
“Catchin up on Shorty’s post.”
“Is it a good one?”
“Cain’t complain.”
“Betcha do.”
“Whut’s thet, Kid?”
“Nuthin.”
“Ya need ta speak up.”
“That’s what Shorty does.”
“Dang straight. Hey, quiet down, Kid. What’s thet ruckus?”
“Lookin fer a filin container.”
“Whatever fer?”
“Startin a complaint department. This oughta do. Now, Pal, jist write yer complaints down an put em in this here metal barrel.”
“Why’s it metal?”
“So the fire don’t spread when I process yer complaints.”

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Cultivatin Positive Shifts (Part II)

“Bought a donkey, Kid?”
“Yep, offa Slim Chance. Afore ya go off, I kin tell ya, Slim’s told me all bout this here donkey; I know it’s deaf, dumb, an blind an he even ‘mitted it ain’t even that sensitive ta touch. Ha! Only sense left is smell.”
“Reckon thet works fine, somethin stinks alright. Kid, I don’t mean ta complain, but—”
“But? No buts. I git the function a yer conjunction. Yer gonna complain anyways. Dang it, Pal, this donkey deserves a fair chance to do what it kin do.”
“Yer donkey done dooed on ma foot.”

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Cultivatin Positive Shifts (Part III)

“Shit, Pal, an ol ranch hand like you, complainin bout a little donkey doo-doo on yer boots?”
“I kin handle thet, but now it’s a standin in its own doo, which, as we have ass-ertained, is on ma foot.”
“Did ya ask him ta move? Try hand signals?”
“Yep. Jeez Kid! This donkey is deaf an blind, an doesn’t even seem ta care when I push on his rump. Git ‘im off ma foot!”
“Tryin ta make sense a this, Pal. Taste! I’ll lure ‘im off with carrots!”
“Phew. Thanks. Dumb Ass.”
“Pal!”
“Weren’t talkin bout the donkey, Kid.”

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Cultivatin Positive Shifts (Part IV)

“Hey Kid.”
“Hey Shorty.”
“How’s the complaint department going?”
“I’m turnin frowns upside down!”
“Whoa! The circular file’s empty!”
“That’s cuz I jist fed the goats.”
“What’d ya feed em?”
“The complaints was in that barrel. It’s part a how I process complaints. See, the complaints go inta the front end a the goats, then later they come out the back end, all kinda pelletized.”
“Oh, shift. Really Kid?”
“I poke a wee hole inta each a them goat pellets and insert a carrot seed inta the hole. Hand it back ta the complainer, tell em ta grow positivity.”

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Cultivatin Positive Shifts (Part V)

“Kid, complaints aren’t always a negative thing. Complaints could bring about awareness and constructive, positive change.”
“Reckon yer right Shorty. Still, I like this process. Even had stickers made: Give a Shit.”
“Sometimes people share a complaint because they care about making things better, Kid. I just hope the people that filed with you in your new department felt heard, and not had by a herd of Kid goats.”
“Honestly, Shorty, only one’s filed with me was Pal. An ev’ry complaint was about me.”
“Oh. Where’s Pal now?”
“Plantin carrots. See?”
“Oh, that’s a long row to hoe!”
“Yep.”

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Thank you to all our writers who contributed to this week’s collection!

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13 Comments

  1. Charli Mills

    What a catharsis of complaints! Great writing this week! If I missed anything or annoyed you with my tardiness, send it to the complaint department listed in Sarah Brentyn’s Inferno! ????

    • Sarah Brentyn

      ???? Right on.
      Seems quite a few of us used the “passing ’round in circles” idea for this one. Hmm… Imagination or experience?

      • Charli Mills

        Good pondering, Sarah? I’m leaning toward a glimpse into the collective unconscious. So fun to have you join in!

      • Sarah Brentyn

        Thanks, Charli. 🙂 Fun to see the folks at the Ranch.

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Pal, yer back from yer carrot plantin. Wanna file anuther complaint?”
    “Nope. Takin a cue from Miss Judy an filin compliments. Ever’one did such a great job with this prompt. How could I complain?”
    “Habit, I s’pose.”
    “No more, Kid. Had time ta think whilst I was a-plantin them pelletized carrot seeds. Reckon they’s a dif’rence tween a complaint an plain ol complainin.”
    “So yer not complainin bout Shorty bein late?”
    “Nope. Reckon she had reasons. Reckon this collection was worth the wait!”
    “Not gonna complain bout handlin goat turds?”
    “Nope. Was all done with a sense of humus.”

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for your good humus and for not lodging a complaint. I hear Shorty doesn’t really know what time it is. Zen work, that carrot pellet plantin’.

  3. denmaniacs4

    I can’t complain about any of these submissions…

    • Charli Mills

      I have one complaint, Bill — Word Press won’t publish your comments. You might complain I’m late to notice! I appreciate your patience, but above all, your writing.

  4. Susan Budig

    Great start to my Monday morning! Complaints all around. Er, compliments all around?

    I especially found D’Ora X. Plorah’s submission compelling. No link back to their site, though, to offer a congratulations on an excellent Drabble thus I say it here!

    • Charli Mills

      I think that D’Ora X. Plorah is an incognito writer from the east traveling the west. They’ll see your remark. Thanks, Susan!

  5. Maryann J Warren

    I loved the varied ’complaint’ stories. Some made me laugh so hard, others thought provoking, and others very interesting.

    • Charli Mills

      Who knew complaints had so much depth? Thanks for reading!

  6. Jules

    Oy, so many complain. Positively a lively batch though.
    Older folks often say; I’d complain but who’d listen.
    So let’s focus on the golden ‘carrots’ – Thanks to all the writers and may their complaints be answered and may they enjoy many compliments.

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