We rotate the event planning through the Divisions. Every Division has to plan each event once every ten years or so (Holiday Party and Company Picnic - two different events...). I was the person who monitored the activity (to keep the groups on time and on track) and advised the groups. I took a unique strategy in dealing with whiners:
1. Asked them what they were volunteering for in order to fix the problem.
2. Stated that I signed them up for the 'X' committee next year, and passed their name on to the Division lead for the event.
If they sputtered and complained, I told them they could then stick a sock in it. I tell the people planning these things that: It's a party for fun. There will always be people complaining. I actually give them a list of names for Complainer Bingo, as it's the same people every year. I also suggest the following internal mantra: It's a party. Go or don't.
Repeat to those who need to hear it. As a last resort, I tell them to funnel all complaints to me. It's funny how quickly things didn't seem so bad...
Now, I'm not talking about complaints such as terrible service, bad food or something wrong with the venue. However, I really can't see the world coming to an end because they had carrots and you wanted green beans. And the people with legitimate complaints do manage to express them politely.
I think my favorite complaint of recent years pertains to the "Reindeer Rockettes" - a group of fellow employees (all ladies) who dress up as reindeer (black pants, red shirt and antlers - different outfit this year, though) and do a dance. The number starts with them "pulling" Santa (another co-worker) in on his sleigh, with his elf running behind, throwing candy to the crowd.
And that elf is me. A 6'1", 300 pound elf. Who is about 7 inches taller than Santa. It's pretty funny.
Anyway, they do a kick line. Well, they did.
Until someone complained of "jiggling." Yes, that kind of "jiggling." We think it was someone with a B-cup. Although one of the flat-chested reindeer wanted to know who was complaining so she could hear someone accuse her of "jiggling" - since she doesn't.