Onion Letters

What are the odds that our favorite Burger place is also our least favorite Burger place? Sounds complicated, but really, it isn't. Paul and I went to a Back Yard Burger in South Carolina once and fell in love with it! The food was incredibly good, and the staff was super friendly and helpful! We were excited to find one near our house and went out one night for supper there. We have never had a worse experience with eating out. They got the order wrong three times in a row, and when they finally did get it right we ended up throwing out most of our meal as it just tasted gross and looked rather unappetizing.

Soon after we were married I read an article in a woman's magazine about "Onion Letters." Onion letters being complaint letters. The woman had a fancy name for "praise" letters too, but I can't remember what those were called and I can't remember why she used the phrase "onion" ... I really should remember because Paul and I spent a good portion of a 14 hour car ride discussing that article ... but I simply cannot remember why. And anyways, the 'why' is a rather mute point to this blog.

Ever since reading that article I wanted to become an onion letter and 'praise' letter writer. If someone gave great service their boss should know about it! And if it stank, the boss should know that too. And, ok, I'll confess - the author got some free gift cards to the places she wrote letters to. And I want free gift cards too!

So, as of this afternoon I am an official Onion letter (and praise letter, tho that doesn't have the same ring to it!) writer. I wrote to the good Back Yard Burger location telling them how much we liked them, and I also wrote to the Headquarters telling them about the location we loved and the location we hated.

I have been racking my brain trying to think of other Onion letters I can write, but nothing else is coming to mind yet. From what I remember though the lady who wrote the article got a lot of free stuff just from writing letters - so, uh, maybe I will make that my career? Can't you just see my son on career day talking about his parents jobs?

"My daddy is in the US Army and is defending our country. My mummy writes onion letters."

Do you think I'll make him proud??


The Rock Chick said...

What I like about your idea is the praise letters! Most of my job is customer service and as you can imagine, I spend a lot of time listening to people complain about things.

Rarely does anyone take the time to write a nice letter! I think Judah will be very proud :)


Mel's Mom said...

I think your son will be proud of you no matter what =) As far as the letters go- if I receive service above and beyond the norm or if I receive lousy service I try to write a letter. Sometimes free stuff comes (though I don't do it for that) and sometimes not. Though when you go to redeem your free stuff, trust me, they KNOW why you have it- you can just see that "oh- your one of THOSE people" in their eyes! =)

Anonymous said...

The name of the "Praise Letter" is Orchid letter ... and I think this is great idea ...

Jessica Morris said...

Ohh Onion and Orchid letters - that has a good ring to it!!

I have before asked to speak to management to let them know how much I love a specific person on their staff. Actually on the trip up to my parents when I had the horrible car problems and had to stay at the hotel two hours from my parents the girl at the desk was SO helpful! I left THE sappiest note to her manager (as the manager wasn't there at checkout) telling the manager that this girl was the best employee in the world and that she just made my whole evening better ... she really was an angel that miserable night!
I hope she was given a bonus!

mel said...

Love that idea! And I think your son will be proud of his onion letter writing momma no matter what! =)

Mel's Mom said...

You've been tagged =)

shoeaddict said...

I love that idea. I think customer service sometimes goes by the wayside and that should not be the case. One of my pet peeves is when someone who is suppossed to "help" me (at a gas station, fst food place, etc) acts like I'm interrupting/bothering them!
I also think great customer service is admirable.

JAM said...

I worked for five years for a regional pizza restaurant chain in north Louisiana where I'm from.

They had postage paid comment cards on every table. The company had us as managers really work to make sure each dissatisfied customer's complaints were followed up and made right.

Their market research for our area showed that each negative comment card represented a total of 13 bad experiences similar to that one. In other words, for us, only one in 13 with a problem took the time to write on and mail the comment card.

They are still a regional company, but very strong on customer satisfaction.

I've always remembered that 1 in 13 number. Wherever we go, if we get consistent good or bad service, I let the management know this.

Clo said...

Hey I think Onion and Orchid letters are GREAT ideas! In fact I am compiling one now to the Lexus headquarters telling them how lousy the people treated me when my husband purchased the vehicle for me, as well as how the guy in the service department is telling me that my michelin tires after
25k miles are worn and I need new ones. It has been one problem after another with this "ELITE" dealership. Only had the car since January of 2007 it was brand spanking new with 32 miles on it and now I have to pay all of this money for foolishness. So I am writing an onion letter and when the times comes I will also write an orchid letter.

Anonymous said...


I have found your blog. I really like your perspective on complaint letter writing. As I was doing my research, I have also found a great resource for online complaints: Complaint Letters. I think you will find it very interesting and resourceful

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