Can you identify with these annoyances?


Do relentless nuisance calls, litter louts or being kept on hold get you seeing red? All of these feature in a list of the top irritations of modern life. Can you identify with any of them?

A poll, conducted by Tandem Bank, asked 2,000 adults which parts of 21st century life caused the most stress.

Irritations included dogs mess in public places (57%), litter louts (39%) and noise pollution (37%). I can certainly sympathise with irritations caused by dogs mess, litter louts and noise pollution.

I can certainly sympathise with these. Living in a flat I try and make the most of my local park on a sunny day, but too often I find that a leisurely stroll usually turns to a dog mess dodging challenge, and a sunny day seems to turn the park into a dumping ground full of lager louts 🙁

Modern day annoyances

But it would appear that its telephone-related incidents that really get our goat. Being kept on hold is an irritation for 67%, and being passed around a call centre winds up 38% of those polled.

Unsurprisingly 77% agreed that nuisance calls are the most irritating feature of modern life. We’re well aware of the irritation that nuisance calls causes, with over 365,000 people backing our campaign to call time on them.

Linda McD previously told us on our boiler scams convo:

I had one boiler call yesterday and two calls from them today, and so did my sister. Yesterday I had a call from a man purporting to represent a group of independent financial advisers and also a call “from Windows”. I just hang up and don’t engage in conversation, but I’m sick to death of them. 1471 rarely produces a correct number, so it’s hard to report them through the proper channels.

Maybe you can identify with the 49% who find themselves irritated by unexpected fees and charges, like the 120,000 who have backed our Sneaky Fees and Charges campaign.

Garry White was annoyed by unfair car insurance charges:

I purchased a replacement vehicle in March last year. I started my insurance from the date of the purchase. I told the insurers I would be changing the number plate as soon as I had heard from DVLA. They told me I would have to pay an Admin fee of £25 as a change to the policy. I tried to argue that I was telling them now so they could take account of it but they insisted I would have to pay. It tried to reason that as soon as I heard from DVLA I would contact them. But no chance. All they had to do was press a few buttons on the keyboard and email me the change. Say 30 seconds work? This makes me so angry with car (and doubtless other types of) insurance.

And of those polled, 42% found misleading offers and unclear prices annoying. Saying we find these annoying too may be an understatement; we did after all lodge a super-complaint with the Competition and Markets Authority to report on our findings of dodgy pricing tactics.

As lorna baker explained on our misleading supermarket prices convo:

Quite often it is cheaper to buy the smaller pack but the supermarket is highlighting the bigger one. One stands there staring at it trying to believe what one’s brain is telling you

Over to you

So how about you then? Do any of these annoyances get your goat too? Are there any other irritations of modern life that get to you? Or maybe you’re a bit more relaxed than most of us – do you think we’re too easily wound up?

Which do you find most annoying? (pick three)

Nuisance calls (26%, 831 Votes)

Companies offering the best deals to new customers and not existing ones (15%, 491 Votes)

Being kept on hold (11%, 345 Votes)

Dogs mess in public places (11%, 336 Votes)

Litter louts (10%, 326 Votes)

Misleading prices and offers (6%, 179 Votes)

Unexpected fees and charges (6%, 176 Votes)

Being passed around different teams in call centres (5%, 175 Votes)

Noise pollution (5%, 150 Votes)

Having no internet connection (4%, 143 Votes)

Other - let us know in the comments (1%, 43 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,102

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My greatest annoyance is the seemingly endless number of people who complain of telephone cold callers, some even saying it makes them feel suicidal. I used to get three cold callers per day on average, so I bought a Truecall machine. That must have been over ten years ago or thereabouts. I haven’t had so much as a single cold caller since. Why on earth don’t those complainers do likewise? No, I have no connection with the company other that thanking them on bended knee.

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Some Local Authorities, I believe, provide call blockers foc to vulnerable people. I don’t know how widespread that is. For those able to afford them they seem the pragmatic answer. Getting rid of all unwanted calls, particularly from abroad, doers not seem likely?

Duncan I agree, , ,It is all too easy to climb on a high horse and tell everyone how its done
A few years ago I was on a good wage by a working man’s standard . . .I had worked my way along very nicely
Today and for the past 5 years this month things have changed
I wouldnt know what it is like to have to think about buying a call blocker at £60 if I thought I needed one
I do think about near every penny now but I am not that tied
What I do see is that people assume loads of things they shouldn’t. . . .
So like Duncan when I see someone who openly cannot afford something I understand and I admire them for being honest.
Not everyone can afford £60 for a call blocker
Some can barely afford the cost of the phone and could well do without the harassment of cold calls

Barry says:
14 April 2016

You don’t even need to buy a special machine or phone if you have caller display and an answer-phone. Just leave the latter on and don’t pick up if you don’t recognise the caller. Nuisance callers seldom bother to leave a message, while a genuine caller – even if using a “private” number or one you don’t recognise – usually will, in which case you can pick up if you’re there, or call back later.

i use tps that blockes most markerting calls .its free to

We are registered with TPS but still get up to 7 nuisance calls a day, starting at 8 a.m. I have a phone with call blocker but as I only have one handset for it, it still rings on the extension (which I ignore). The blocked call list is now full so when the phone rings I have to check the caller ID to see if I recognise the number. If it says “unavailable” I don’t answer. My husband sometimes answers as I think he enjoys sparring with the callers, but it’s a waste of time and possibly encourages them to keep calling. It’s not a major issue now as we simply ignore the phone unless we know who’s calling, but there is always the worry that we will miss a call we want to take and the frequent ringing is also annoying. Most of the ones we get are from foreign call centres with callers whose pronunciation of our name is so far off I tell them, on the rare occasion I pick up, that they have the wrong number. I really wish there was a way to stop these pests.

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Not having any call-blocking apparatus or TPS registration we get virtually no unwanted calls so I do not know how effective the TPS is. Is there any way by which the telephone subscriber can tell how many calls have been prevented by registration with the TPS? I suspect not. People on the TPS register might get seven calls a day but without TPS registration they might have received seventeen. There’s just no way of knowing yet people constantly say TPS is useless.

We were at a friend’s house recently and the landline telephone rang. Our hostess answered it and the [nuisance] caller asked to speak to Mrs Ward. It’s curious that no nuisance calls come to our home phone but they catch us when we visit friends. How can that be? I can only assume we are under continuous surveillance!

That’s scary stuff John. I receive very few nuisance calls but can normally deal with them when I do. Had the odd one or two silent calls lately with numbers withheld. I have a system whereby I say”hello” once only and if no one answers I replace the receiver straight away. If they continue I alert regular callers such as family and friends to speak first so that I know whose calling. If then no one answers I place the receiver on the table next to the ‘phone for a few minutes so that the caller is receiving a taste of his/her own medicine.

This always works.

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I am sure it was just an innocent coincidence Duncan. I have just run downstairs to take a call asking for “Mr Barker”. It happens. I do not share your view that the government has any interest whatsoever in me or Mrs Ward just because I post on what you describe as a “high-profile UK website”, and certainly not “for various reasons”. I also find the notion that the usual type of nuisance calls that everyone else receives are somehow being deflected away from our landline inconceivable. I accept that it would be technically possible but I have no genuine suspicion that it occurs.

What is this topic doing in ” Motoring”?
I thought I’d have a look through motoring at the latest posts as things are for me anyhow a little boring just now and what do I find?.. Oodles of posts about things we hate/dont like that have little or nothing to do with motoring
I dont like pigeons in wrong holes

I can only assume it’s because some of the annoyances people might wish to comment on occur on the roads. The Conversation is also listed under Food & Drink, Home & Energy, Shopping, and Technology. I am surprised that no annoyances were anticipated in the Travel & Leisure category.

I can understand the logic of having it in other topics but there are now more posts about nuisance calls in motoring than anything to do with motoring
I havnt looked in the topics John has quoted but I can but assume they are similar
Perhaps such a topic with as wide a subject range should have been left in it’s own box as such otherwise near every topic will look the same
Not easy following something when near every post is completely unrelated
Probably all will not agree but that is my sentiments about it

I have a lot of sympathy with you on this DeeKay. Trying to categorise some of the Conversations doesn’t necessarily help. Perhaps they should take a leaf out of Room 101‘s book and have a ‘Wildcard’ category for these portmanteau Conversations.

Thank you John
Anyone else of the same opinion?

I’m happy with the categories as they stand. On a slightly different tack there are times when Convos having similar topics have been running at the same time – “Should VW compensate…..”, “What’s the truth behind car emissions claims” for example. One comment might be applicable to both and it is (very) occasionally tempting to post it twice so that someone reading only one or the other Convo sees the post – particularly useful I think if it concerns fact.

Maybe this comment should be made in the New Convo discussion!

In which category is the New Convo discussion listed Malcolm? – I can never find it and usually wait until someone else posts a comment there.

It’s in Technology, John. To find it, go to the Latest convos on the homepage and click on ‘Most commented’ – it’s the second one:

I rest my case.

Most “annoyances” are transitory, not ones we do dwell on. So can we not cope with them? Are they just not one part of everyday life that we cannot put aside and worry about more important things?

This morning I was annoyed by a readymix type concrete lorry half blocking a main road in the rush hour to deliver its load. Why not wait until a quieter time? Why hold others, and most importantly me, up for 3 minutes on the school run?…….Hang on, 3 minutes? Why does that really matter? The delivery has to be made sometime for work to continue. Forget it! I could be annoyed on principle of course, but why be so negative.

My personal deficiencies though, and lack of correction, do annoy me, and quite rightly. Catching the Caps Lock key accidentally and not noticing until I’ve typed a lot of text. Oh, and in my workshop years ago I put up a single rod on which I hang all my G cramps. They are not stable – catch one accidentally and it falls off into the gap between the bench and the shelves. Regularly, for years. Why don’t I change it? That is annoying.

After posting the above comment I got a message – “Unexpected token D”. It was annoying not knowing what that was! Any clues?

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duncan, many thanks. I’m now no longer irritated by it. 🙂

It’s all about JSON: JavaScript Object Notation. If either too many simultaneous requests are made of the server or if any aspect of the JavaScript line is misspecified then it returns that error. In your case, Malcolm, it’s probably the former.

Interesting Malcolm, you shouldn’t see that. I’ll investigate.

Other annoyance
Foul language in public places. This is commonplace and seems to be ubiquitous amongst younger people.

I hate having my phone call answered by a machine and being given a series of “selections” and THEN being kept on hold. It’s costing us a small fortune while companies make money out of this venture. Responses such as “all of our operators are busy” mean she’s probably gone to the loo. Whatever happened to employing somebody with a brain to answer the phone and connecting you to the right department?

Sandra says:
19 April 2016

The barking and howling of dogs all day starting before 8am. It is units just across a brook from us and they sprung up with no planning permission, hopefully this will now be rectified but what makes people think they can start up a business such as this just where they want to and cause annoyance to local residents

I am now getting calls about a new roof. When will all of these nuisance calls stop. It’s about time the Government stepped in and put a stop to all of them. If they want to tell people about what products are available to them they should do it on media that way if you are interested you can contact the number displayed in the screen

I find it very annoying that workmen insist on everyone within earshot having to enjoy their radio music/commentary being blasted out

Trying to make a Doctors appointment when they operate only ‘same day only’ booking. Lines are jammed from 8:30 am and by the time you get through there are no appointments left! And if you do get an appointment the Doctor is more likely to look at the computer screen than you and nowadays sends you to either the Nurse or Phlebotomist [another long wait for an appointment]. I am a retired GP and we would deal with EVERYTHING usually at that first consultation. No wonder there is a huge increase in appointments – it’s the Doctors who are causing it and with their massively reduced time on duty they THINK they are being overwhelmed with work. These Partime Doctors have contributed to the destruction of what used to be and could be an NHS to be proud of.

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From the list above, my top three are dog mess, litter louts and noise pollution. However, I also get annoyed by:
1. Cars driving at speed down a residential road, often with the windows open & loud music playing or with the horn being repeatedly pressed.
2. People exiting shops and cafes without closing the door behind them, particularly on a cold, rainy or snowy day.
3. People not returning newspapers to racks in shops and cafes.
4. People who let their children run around in crowded shops, particularly cafes and restaurants when people may be carrying hot drinks. I’m sure some parents have given up on their child listening to them and doing what they’re asked to do. Instead, I suspect that they let them run wild on the basis that, if they then fall over and hurt themselves, this will be the only way that they will learn not to do something.
5. People who let their children shout and scream at the top of their voices, and then look daggers at you if you look less than impressed or try to calm or quieten their child.
6. Magazines, books and food items not being in their correct place on shelves. I have sometimes found my attention drawn to a product, only to realise that it is not part of the promotion or offer but has simply been put in the wrong place on the shelf.
7. People who make marks in books, whether in pen or pencil; or who turn the corners of pages; or who lick their fingers before turning a page. (I even find this annoying when it is their own book that they are treating in this way).
8. People who bend books at the spine – I often feel that they would not want someone to do this to them! (I’m perhaps a little precious about such things but I feel that it almost seems sacrilegious to do this).
9. Mothers with pushchairs or prams who don’t fold them up when getting on a bus, but instead leave them in the gangway, for someone to fall over – particularly, if the driver slams on the brakes – when negotiating their way to the exit.
10. Smokers who light up in no smoking areas, as though it’s their God-given right.
11. Smokers who clearly have not given any thought to whether or not the smoke from their cigarette is drifting across other people’s faces, getting into their eyes or up their noses. It is, of course, their right to choose to smoke. It also my right not to have to secondary smoke and so risk dying from lung cancer or chronic bronchitis subsequently! While I could simply move to another chair, it seems to me that, if I was there first, it is the smoker who should do the moving or else move their cigarette so that the smoke does not drift into others’ faces.
12. Dogs that sniff you all over, want to lick your hands or else climb up you.
13. Dogs that seem to bark at the slightest sound and continue to bark, perhaps all night, and only seem to stop when they have exhausted themselves.
14. People who talk about something as though they are an expert and know what they are talking about, but then it turns out that this is all smoke-and-mirrors, with no substance behind it.
15. How prone people are (me included) to being impressed by superficial things, such as someone’s appearance and elegant clothes, rather than by the content of what they are saying or by their performance at a given activity and their record of achievement.