Weekend vocabulary and language of complaints

Try to think about absolutely all of the places you went on Saturday and Sunday.

Tell the list to your partner and see if there is anywhere you mention that they also went but had forgotten about.

What problems have you had or could people have in those places? What complaints do people make?

Did you have any of the following problems last weekend? If not, have you had any of those problems recently or before?

A car breakdown

Not being able to get through the ticket barrier

A taxi driver refusing to take you, driving dangerously or taking the wrong route

Buying food that turns out to be off

A delayed plane, bus or train

Being ignored by a shop assistant

Pushy sales staff

Tripping on a broken pavement etc.

An umbrella that turned inside out

Shoes or a coat that turned out not be waterproof

Smelly drains

A carrier bag with a hole in it

Miscounting your change

A draught

The air-conditioning or heating on too high or low

Long queues (= lines)

Slow service

Food that isn’t fresh

Things being out of stock

Inaccurate bills

Unreliable equipment

Passing the buck

Ripped off

Put on hold

Cut off

Deteriorating customer service

Feel let down

Outrageous additional charges

Fed up

Not getting through

Not returning calls

A health risk

Fumes/ pollution

Bad smells

A design fault

Not being able to cancel a subscription

Withdrawal of service

Too much head on your beer

Do roleplays complaining to someone about one of those things and demanding some kind of action. Start with real complaints you have made, real problems you have had, or places you really went last weekend.

What other good and bad experiences have you had with service in department stores and other shops?

How can shops ensure that they give good customer service?

How do you think the phrases below are connected to the topic of service at Harrods (a famously expensive department store in London)?

exceeding expectations

bowled over

go the extra mile


mystery shop




consistent poor performers


PDF version for easy saving and printing: Weekend complaints

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