To: My Pet Peeves | Teen Ink

To: My Pet Peeves

March 7, 2019
By Cat_S BRONZE, North Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Cat_S BRONZE, North Chelmsford, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments





All Addresses



Dear Airports,

On the 31st of February of 2010, I had the misfortune to take a flight at 3:16 am to Florida that took 5 hours after the 4-hour delay. Eventually, I did arrive at my intended destination, but I then spent another hour trying to navigate my way to the exit of the airport. Unfortunately, this is just one of my many complaints and issues I encountered during my experience.

First of all, I disapprove that security checks EVERYONE for drugs, weapons or alcohol. Do you really expect the TSA line to actually find real guns on 5-year-olds coming back from Disneyland? And do you really think an elderly grandmother is going to be hiding cocaine in her purse when she needs a cane to hobble around?

There is also the expectancy that every customer and flight crew of a plane has to be there 3 hours early. This may be useful for giving everyone time to find the correct gate, but it also gives time for people to find the nearest airport bar and fly drunk. Kids also become bored with tired parents who spend the whole-time downloading movies for them. Then we end up sitting there for hours, waiting for the captain who hasn’t even arrived yet.

Flying on an airplane is simply just an inconvenience for anyone who doesn’t want to drive a car for 10 hours or has an important business meeting across seas. I propose that we keep our efficient security but focus on the teenagers and adults, who we should be scanning for possible weapons and drugs. We should prevent unnecessary delays and maybe just stick to rescheduling flights when the weather is inconvenient. I also believe that our pilots should be held just as accountable as the rest of the flight crew to show up on time.


                        Cat S.

Johanna Bell

351 Lafayette St

Salem, MA, 01970





Dog Owners


(For those with especially difficult dogs)


            Dear Dog Owners,

Recently, I went on a jog through my neighborhood when I was stopped my new neighbor’s Australian Shepherd. This so-called “well-behaved” dog proceeded to jump at me with all the excited energy of a puppy, not realizing that its nails were thorns puncturing holes into my skin. And pushing a 50-pound animal is quite the obstacle when there’s no leash attached to it. The owner seemed to come out of nowhere, apologizing repeatedly and claiming that “he’s usually not like this” while trying to pull this animal off of me.

I understand that people love dogs. Some feel especially close to their dogs. But some dog owners don’t realize that others may not feel that way, certainly not a cat owner out for a morning run before work. For every time your dog jumps on someone who genuinely welcomes the animal and doesn’t mind the attention, I guarantee you there is another person who actively avoids walking on the same side of the street with you? Why? Because they do not want any contact with your animal.

Good dog owners, that when your dog gets too close to someone who has a legitimate phobia of dogs – known as cynophobia? What happens when your dog jumps on a jogger who experiences trouble breathing and severe dizziness? My suggestion? Train your dog or leash your dog. It may sound harsh but an untrained animal who is freely roaming away from their owner is simply an animal with animalistic instincts. And what happens when your dog comes across another unleashed dog? You, as the owner, do not have complete control over your dog 24/7 and it could intentionally lead to fights, the injury of others and possibly a lawsuit for your own recklessness.

I know it’s difficult to think of your cuddly, lovable animal in such a way, but I just want to remind you that your dog is also an animal with its own mind.


                        Johanna Bell

RA Jessie

354 Lafayette St

Salem, MA, 01970




Residences Who Wear Only Towels

All Dorm Halls (especially freshman halls)


Dear Residence Hall Students,

First of all, I want to recognize that this notice may not apply to everyone but for some of you reading this, I speak for a number of your dormmates and myself. When you use the shower on our floors, please stop wearing just a towel when you come back out. While others and I understand that there is no written rule about being fully clothed in the dorm hall at all times, I invite you to listen to why other might stare at you when you walk by in your towel.

The first reason many of us may point is what do you do if the towel falls off? When we stare, we are curious if you are holding the towel to your body and if you are texting while walking, you may attract the attention of everyone sitting in the lounge. Another point we should note is how you may attract the wrong of the type of attention to yourself as an individual, especially if we don’t know you. Since you can’t control what people think about you, you might give someone the wrong impression about yourself, potentially putting your own character at risk. Many of your floormates, in fact, decide to get dressed in the bathroom or at the very least, put on a robe before they walk around the floor.

We all know the transition between living at home and moving into a dorm at college can be quite daunting, especially if you’re a freshman. Some of us may be able to recognize old living patterns that we do subconsciously such as watching our favorite TV show before bed or painting as a way to relieve stress at college. But I would like to remind you that the dorm hall is not your house or your apartment. It is simply a building where those who may live far away or those we need to get away from home while we are in school. And similarly, we expect you to respect your own character while you are on school grounds. If you have the habit of wearing the only towel after you shower, I suggest that you find a bathrobe or change in the stalls after you shower.


                        RA Jessie

Finding Purpose in Genre: Complaints and More

Complaint letters are often seen in the business setting in order to inform the reader of a problem of a company and presents with a solution of how to fix it. These letters reinforce these motives by using paragraphs in a letter, the format, motives, the rhetorical appeals, and the setting. Letters help us communicate with others whether it is hand-written or send over through email. In the world of business, a constant flow of communication is simply the only effective way to make changes whether it’s within Human Resources or the CEO. These types of letters also allow for a fluid customer-to-company relationship; it’s a wave of communication to address problems in the hopes that someone will make changes to it. For this to be an effective line of communication, the Complainant relies on the writer’s usage of lengthy paragraphs to paint a clearer picture.

The use of paragraphs in a complaint letter helps to inform the reader through its elaboration. Typically, when you see a paragraph, you see many sentences, both short and long weaving in and out to spell out a complete thought. When someone issues a complaint, it can be very easy to blame another outright or just simply state a problem with no context. But if the complainant writes out full paragraphs about what happened, subconscious details will reappear. Using multiple sentences also dissuades the usage of incomplete thoughts. And the same can be said when a solution is proposed. Instead of simply saying “this didn’t work, fix it now”, a paragraph says, “this didn’t work, here is what I think could help to fix it”. And suddenly, the letter and initial complaint are more palatable and easier for the reader to digest on the other side – most likely the Customer Service employee. Elaboration allows for the illusion between the complainant and the reader – one where they are working together, with character and ethos.

When someone uses formal communication, they must use ethos to demonstrate their own credibility and therefore, the validity of their complaint.  In order to legitimize your argument or point of view, ethos reshapes your concern to make it sound like it’s coming from a place of certain skills or knowledge. For example, you wouldn’t expect fencing advice to come from a soccer coach just as you wouldn’t expect a cat lover to tell you what’s so great about dogs. If an artist writes a complaint to a paint company about what they could do to improve the consistency, then their complaint would appear more valid than a student’s opinion. More importantly, the company may decide to take the advice from the professional artist more seriously and apply it. If ethos supports the credibility of the complainant, then it makes the complaint itself worth listening to – supporting why we still write complaint letters today. We see these letters throughout many departments in a company, communicating problems about products, services, and even people.

The setting of a complaint letter can be used with many different scenarios, requesting issues and policies to be noticed and changed. Most often, people think of Customer Services when they think about receiving complaints about a company. But it can also be a tool for Human Resources – filing issues between co-workers and mediating them towards a common solution. The complaints also notify management if a crime took place at work such as physical assault, racism, sexism or workplace violence. The importance of these letters in this setting is to promote awareness and policies changes within management. Complaint letters also reflect how people respond to a company or business – useful for the Marketing and Sales Departments to make decisions about product placement or service improvement. These departments rely on the letter being organized and faithful to certain visual rhetoric in order to pick out the writer’s motives.

Letter are notorious for being recognizable by their format (their visual rhetoric) which is used to support the genre’s motives: informing and proposing.  These types of letters often include a formal introduction to of the customer, explains what happened, and ends with a proposed solution. As a result, the employee is able to point out key parts of the letter, which are often explained in a sentence and then elaborated on. Elaboration keeps the complaint concise and straight to the point – making it easily identified. Letters in a formal manner also prevent customers from sending letters with angry and derogatory language since you wouldn’t expect the writer to swear and say “sincerely” at the end.  Having a consistent “formula” with this genre also helps the employee reading them because they can expect what order the information follows in (the complaint will come before the proposition, etc.). “Horoscopes” follows the format you would expect to see if you were to go look up what your reading was for the day – each zodiac sign has a brief oracle of what is supposed to happen to the individual assigned to it (Pedmore). The visual organization of this piece is another example of how a genre’s format makes it easier for the reader to pick out the most important pieces of information, including the motives.

The previously mentioned motives for why someone would still use complaint letters today is that it is a beneficial criticism for businesses, always improving due to competition. A genre’s motives for why the piece was written determines why we choose to read it. In “Side Effects”, the author writes a humorous parody about what you would expect to see on the label of a prescription. However, he uses the genre’s motivation of giving serious medical warnings to its advantage, presenting the reader with the unexpected and sometimes contradictory range of imagery that plays with the idea that this genre also can be ridiculous (Martin). Customers still use complaint letters to complain about an issue with logos, just like the employees read them in order to solve the issue.

If one of our reasons for still using complaint letters today is to propose a solution, then the best way to derive a solution can be seen through logos with deductive reasoning. While one of the genre’s motives is to describe the issue, it’s not the primary goal. The proposed solution must stem out of logical thinking and not someone’s emotional vendetta against a company or a person. In the complaint about uncontrollable dogs, the author’s solution is to put them on a leash, so they are more controlled by the owner. In an example of a complaint letter, Jane Wales is an owner writing to the manager of a printing supplies company because she received only a part of her shipment. She requested the company sends her another order to fulfill what she needed since it was affecting her business. If her solution had come from pathos, then it would’ve caused the manager, Mr. Halls, to be less inclined to help her and the customer would’ve suffered a drawback in return.

When we know how the defining rhetoric, we can understand why using a specific genre helps us to understand the purpose of a piece. In other words, when there’s a motive to write something, we must recognize what genre would be considered as the “proper” one. For example, you wouldn’t send your professor a text – that genre is too informal between a student and teacher dynamic. Instead, using an email reinforces and mimics the same level of respect seen in the classroom. In retrospect, this also happens when you know the genre, but you need to recognize the purpose of writing it. If you’re using a love letter, you would know not to bash the reader just as you don’t expect a country song to be about living “happily ever after” (Dirk). When writing your next complaint letter, remember that its rhetorical devices and other characteristics are meant to reinforce its purposes: to inform and to propose.

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