It's a fact of life that you just won't get tip-top service or complete satisfaction every time you buy something. Most of us just suck it up and accept that. But now and then, we simply have to complain. There are good and bad ways to go about doing that, though.

My friend Liz Morley, who has logged some time as a telemarketer and grocery cashier, recently shared some thoughts on this topic with me. For starters, she encourages us all to go ahead and complain. If we're encountering poor service and don't object to it, we're likely permitting it to continue.

She then went on, saying, "Sometimes, I get customers at my register who have a specific request or complaint. They want us to stock Brand XYZ butter, or they think the melons are overripe... I suppose they expect me to record this information in my memory, along with the time and date, and instantly transfer it to corporate offices for review and response, regardless of how many people are in line behind them. Yet, when I offer them a postage-paid comment card, they don't want to bother to fill it out."

She has a good point. Often, in front of us, are customer comment cards, which invite our thoughts on the service we're receiving. Many companies do really care what we think and are looking for ways in which to improve.

You can also write to a company on your own -- just be specific with your complaint and/or suggestion. Products generally have a manufacturer's address on them. Liz pointed out that, "Every receipt we hand a customer includes the name, location, website and telephone number of the store, the time and date of purchase, and the names of the cashier and store manager. Just about every bit of information needed in order to write a letter, send an e-mail, call for information or lodge any type of complaint about any product or transaction is right there on that piece of paper. Yet customers routinely throw this information away."

Another venue for complaining is right here in Fooldom, on our discussion boards (painless free trial available). If you don't like Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) new menu, for example, do let the company know, but you might also want to share your thoughts with others who are interested in the company. If you had a bad experience with Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), its investors in Fooldom are likely interested. Check out our Consumer Rap: Best Experiences and Consumer Rap: Worst Nightmares boards, too!

Finally, consider sending feedback to companies when they get things right. You have little to lose, and your comments might help keep a terrific product or service around.

We invite you to complain or congratulate us on our Improve the Fool discussion board.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.