Book review: I Wanted Fries With That, How to ask for what you want and get what you need

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“Chief Complaints Officer” Amy Fish has channeled her many years of experience as an ombudsman into authoring her new book, I Wanted Fries With That, How to ask for what you want and get what you need, published by New World Library.

Fish begins her book with the prophetic words, “You need to have the courage to live life. This includes learning to ask for what you need or want.” She notes that at a formative part of her life, these lessons struck a profound chord with her:

  • Speaking up and asking for what you need is harder than you think.
  • If you don’t ask for what you want, you will not get what you need.
  • If you expect someone else to get you what you want, you may end up waiting a very long time.

The book is conveniently split into three parts:

  1. I want my problem solved
  2. I want you to change
  3. I want justice to be served

It is a lively and animated book complete with personal stories and reflections on life that Fish has recounted from her upbringing, family and friends. “People who are calm, who speak clearly, and who – well, you’ll see the rest – are better able to communicate and therefore have a better track record in getting what they want and need,” Fish writes.

With a pronounced sense of humour and stories to fill an entire book, Fish sets out on a journey to teach her readers and to do so with a sense of purpose in order to almost always get positive results. “In  my opinion, many of us don’t ask for what we want because we don’t know how to do it gently and calmly, and still achieve the desired results,” Fish teaches us. “Standing up for yourself doesn’t mean being a rude tyrant. There’s definitely a happy medium between aggressiveness and assertiveness.”

There is a basic premise in “I Wanted Fries with That” that says everyone is operating in good faith and that all we have to do to get something corrected is to point it out. This is a good lesson since when we feel we have been wronged, many of us have neither the patience nor the inclination to take corrective measures in a calm manner. It’s far easier to whine aloud and dump on products and people on social media than it is to strategically seek out the right person who may be in a position to help. Fish guides us to take the time to have a respectful and meaningfully persuasive conversation.

Fish shows us how to give that person the opportunity to be the hero in your story, to help you solve the problem and get you what you want. Her techniques help to build alliances with the person who can solve your problem. This person might be a server at your table, a clerk at a desk or a customer service agent on the phone. All of these people have something we want. “Sometimes all we have to do is let them see that there’s a situation to be corrected and give them the chance to do it on their own.” And not only might you solve your problem, but you can fix it for everyone behind you in line.

Sometimes we won’t get what we want on the first try and that’s when we need to rely on the art of compromise in order to find resolution. If we can’t get what we want, we ask for what we are willing to settle for.

I put Fish’s theory to the test, and after considerable complaining to myself and my wife about a defective zipper on my otherwise very warm, Quebec-made Chloropylle winter coat, I emailed the manufacturer about my problem. I wrote how pleased I am with their products other than my immediate need for a zipper replacement, citing the lifetime warranty and inviting the customer service representative to help solve my problem. While I am disappointed that Chlorophylle won’t stand behind their product and their frivolous lifetime warranty, Fish’s book convinced me not to give up. After the second email I was able to secure the meagre offer of a replacement zipper that I could bring to a local tailor, at my expense. While the free zipper is a partial solution, perhaps, with Fish’s encouragement I’ll take this matter to a higher authority, be it the company president or to the consumer protection office. “If the most direct route doesn’t work,” she says, “try any creative alternative you can think of while remaining calm and polite.”

Although Fish reminds the readers that she is not a lawyer (both her father and sister are), her negotiation skills rival that of many lawyers I know. One could say that many of her techniques of problem solving could be used to solve many personal problems, not just complaints. Perhaps her next book should be a parenting how to!

Amy has written for the Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, and the Globe and Mail. She lives with her family in Montreal. Find out more about her work a http://www.AmyFishWrights.com.

Amy Fish helps us to learn to speak up

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I would think that the “Chief Complaints Officer” for Montreal’s Concordia University would be the go-to person in how to deal with a wide variety of complaints. Indeed, Amy Fish has channeled her many years of experience as an ombudsman in authoring her new book, I Wanted Fries With That, How to ask for what you want and get what you need, published by New World Library.

In I Wanted Fries With That, readers are encouraged to stand up for themselves by learning how to complain effectively. Through funny, real-life stories, pragmatic methods on how to address grievances are highlighted showing that a situation, no matter how intense, can be resolved with civility, honesty, and fairness for everyone involved.

I have just cracked open a new copy of Amy’s book which launches on October 17 at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal. From the get go, it is clear that you, “Need to have courage to live life. This includes learning to ask for what you need or want.”

Amy quickly teaches us that:

  • Speaking up, and asking for what you need, is harder than you think
  • If you don’t ask for what you want, you will not get what you need
  • If you send your friend to ask for what you want, she may not be able to do it, in which case you won’t get what you need
  • We were born with the ability to make our voices heard, and we need to use this gift wisely

Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore and the Jewish Public Library are hosting the book launch of I Wanted Fries with That at 5151 Côte Sainte-Catherine Road, in Snowdon district of Cote des-Neiges-NDG, on Thursday October 17th, 2019 at 7pm. Tickets are free with purchase or pre-purchase of I Wanted Fries With That exclusively at Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore. You can also reserve your ticket directly on this site.

Having known Amy for a number of years, I am looking forward to her hilarious stories that will not only bring a smile and chuckle but will surely teach me, and you, a thing or two about standing up for what I need and want.

As I begin Amy’s book I am already reassured in learning that, “People who are calm, who speak clearly, and who are better able to communicate have a better track record in getting what they want and need.” I Wanted Fries With That will set me on the path of solving problems, getting other people to change and seeing justice served.

Amy has written for the Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, and the Globe and Mail. She lives with her family in Montreal. Find out more about her work a http://www.AmyFishWrights.com.

I’ll be back soon with a full review of I Wanted Fries With That.