How To

Are You a “Gimme Pig”? 6 Signs You Might Be One

(iStockphoto)

Do you want more?

When a hotel offers you a room upgrade, do you try to finagle a suite? When part of a computer is defective, do you demand an upgrade to the latest PC, too? Do you feel like every halfway defective product – from a lukewarm restaurant meal to the wrong shade of beige in your paint – is an opportunity for a free do-over?

You could be a gimme pig.

The term “gimme pig” has been vaguely defined in the past as someone who collects cheap memorabilia, and who can’t say “no” to just one more political campaign pin or velvet Elvis. But lately, I’ve heard it applied to a specific kind of customer: Self-important, perpetually unhappy and difficult to please.

Here’s how to know if you’re a gimme pig:

1. You think complaining is a good way to get free stuff

You’d be surprised at how many otherwise honest consumers think that griping can be a way to get a free product or service. If you have a legitimate complaint, you shouldn’t hesitate to say something. But if you’re doing it because you know the employees will try to oil your squeaky wheel, maybe you should back off.

2. You believe every company is out to get you

An “us” versus “them” attitude is almost required for you to be a consistent gimme pig. If you think a company is preying on you, then it’s easy to justify a “take-advantage-or-be-taken-advantage-of” M.O. that makes you ask for more than you deserve.

3. You believe there are winners and losers in every transaction

If you don’t believe in a “win-win” relationship – and I can’t blame you for feeling that way – then you’ve got what it takes to be a gimme pig. Look, you’ve probably been burned by businesses that offered you products that didn’t meet your expectations. If you think someone always has to win in a transaction, then why wouldn’t you want the winner to be you?

4. Your complaint reads like a laundry list

A long list of complaints about a product is often indicative of an impossible-to-please customer. And people like that will always ask for more, even when they aren’t entitled to it. If I had a dollar bill for every minor grievance that demanded a first-class ticket anywhere the airline flies, I’d retire from journalism and live on a yacht.

5. You really believe the customer is “always” right

We’ve already covered this. No one takes, “The customer is always right” literally. If you do, you’re probably a gimme pig.

6. You’re never happy

Some customers are never pleased with their product because they’re never pleased with anything. Companies know they’ll never be able to make all of their customers happy, no matter how hard they try – that there will always be a small percentage of disgruntled people who don’t like them. If you can’t remember the last time you were happy with a purchase, this could be you.

You might say, “yes” to all of the above, but that doesn’t automatically make you a gimme pig. It’s only by acting on those feelings and demanding more than you deserve, that you become one.

Christopher Elliott is a consumer advocate who blogs about getting better customer service at On Your Side. Connect with him on Twitterand Facebook or send him your questions by email.