San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Complainers Air Gripes on Local TV

Complainers are among the devilments of life. We all know people who return from a two-week dream vacation and tell us about all the things that went wrong. Or those we dread asking the normally innocuous question, “How are you?” for fear of a litany of laments.

But Channel 11’s nighttime program “Informe 11” has a segment that seeks out complainers and has proven to be very popular. When perky and pretty reporter Gabriela Chaves hits Costa Rica’s streets and parks with a microphone and a yellow sign reading “Quéjese” (Complain), there’s no lack of complainers ready to step up and air their gripes to the nation.

As expected, most complaints are about bad roads, high prices, long lines, the Traffic Law, the government and the national soccer team. Some are funny. Some are serious. And a few personal stories are heart-wrenchers. But contrary to natural law, everyone wants to hear these complaints. According to surveys and letters to the program, “Quéjese” has a huge following. You can now even send your complaints to Chaves through the program’s Web page.

Here are some of the complaints from the program and the Web. “Yo me quejo porque … ” (My complaint is … ):

Everything is so expensive.

I’m from Colombia and everybody thinks I’m a drug dealer.

All men are liars. They say nice things to you and then leave you in the lurch.

My husband forgot my birthday.

Nobody loves me.

My wife likes to sleep with the cats and they leave hair all over.

There are too many concerts with international artists and none with Costa Ricans.

I can’t buy rubbing alcohol in gel, and the liquid runs all over.

They promised us all jobs and benefits with the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA). Where are they?

They wouldn’t let us watch the World Cup at my high school.

My boyfriend doesn’t want to get married after seven years of courtship.

My mother gives me fruit to eat because I’m fat.

(The daily) La Teja has photos of naked women and it’s supposed to be a newspaper.

(Here’s one we bus riders can easily identify with:) Those people on buses with huge backpacks and when they turn around they bump into everybody.

Not everybody complains. A visitor from the United States said Costa Rica is beautiful and we should be grateful. But a Mexican said he wished they had “Quéjese” in his country. Others take the mike to exhort us to turn to God instead of complaining, and one man said we should support the national soccer team even if they lose all the time.

“Quéjese” airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on Channel 11’s “Informe 11.” See the program’s Web page at

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