In most cases I believe that life's too short and my time is more valuable than any compensation I would get by arguing.
There have been occasions when I've stuck to my guns but it's the exception rather than the norm.
I also don't want to be 'that dickhead' who takes pleasure in bullying call centre workers, shop staff etc.
I am skilled , today I have complained that 4 slices of ham in a local shop cost me the grand sum of £7.06 - offered a refund but was about the principle really , I can cope being overcharged but an oldie might not be able to absorb that - told them to put it in a charity box
My best one was I bought a huge Dutch oven second hand that developed a flaw in the enamel so Le Creuset sent me a completely new one
I rarely complain. Almost never when it’s food. I know first hand how much of a little Hitler retail/service “managers” can be, and know it isn’t worth making some young kid’s life harder by complaining.
Unless it’s really bad I’ll shrug it off.
I will however without exception, take a Maccies back if they’ve accidentally given me pickles. The burger is ruined even if you take them off.
I'm not very good at it because I don't give up, I challenge every nuance of whatever excuse or reason is being given, I'm like a dog with a bone, I get sarcastic, awkward and so extremely tenacious and difficult that the people I'm dealing with start to hate me so much they seem to want to make my life even more difficult.
I could characterise my approach as an attempt to be so awkward that they do what I need them to do in order to get rid of me, but really it just becomes an emotional experience and a challenge for me to get my way. It stresses the fuck out of me and I end up disliking myself. Having said that, sometimes it's funny.
Edit: I had a rather complicated and boring conveyancing difficulty years ago. It took me three years of complaining, presenting evidence, taking it to an ombudsman etc etc. In the end I got back what I was owed, free service and a compensation for my trouble. I also got a letter from the solicitor involved who apologised, thanked me for my courtesy and for helping him to realise that he needed to retire; so he had sold his business. So sometimes it works
Generally I wouldn't complain unless I was put out or really aggrieved.
There are a couple of exceptions when it comes to food. If you give me a well done steak it's getting sent back, I ask for rare. If I get a cooked breakfast and the yolk is solid or bust it's heading back to the kitchen.
I usually give them the chance to make good. Once they fail and usually do i go straight to the ceo. It's dead easy to get their email. I've won against Barclays Thomas Cook SCS Argos and Vertu/Bristol St motors using this method The ceo s are used to people telling them that they have 95% satisfaction rate and the 5% or so just gets swept aside. They really don't like to hear how shite their company really is at desling with customers.