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 phone is my servant I am not it’s slave as many people are I do not answer any calls at all which do not come from numbers that are not on my calls list. they come up as names. I add or delete this list as needed anyone who wishes to ring me must provide the number they will call from if they do not I tell them the call will not be answered so spam and marketing calls are all ignored

Nuisance calls – has to be number 1.

Traffic calming – Speed bumps, buildouts, speed limits that go up and down like a yoyo with cameras to catch the unwary. A nightmare if you are in an area you don’t know and even worse if it is dark and/or raining.

Finding reliable tradespeople to do a good job. There are more cowboys than skilled professionals these days. These skills need to start in school to give the less academic a start in life and raise standards.

Being forced to replace perfectly good things when they don’t work any more due to software updates, lack of parts, etc.

Here here Alfa , , ,Particularly trades people. . We need proper certified trades dare I say like Canada etc
Here people have been brickies. . plasterers, ,plumber’s, ,electricians all within a few years
I could not have learned my trades/professions in 6 months and was an odd bod who was bonkers about everything electrical/mechanical. .
I have given up looking for anyone to do much except for concrete/cement work which is too heavy for me
Plumbing. . electrical, , solar , ,wind, , cars ,, generators, , joinery, , decorating are all my jobs now and have been for over 20 years
Even those who I thought were my mates stabbed me in the back. . . Never ask a mate to do anything

I think trades should be taught in schools to give kids who are not academic a start in life so when they leave school they have skills and a future to build on.

I completely agree with this comment- alfa- and the idea that these skills need to start in school is so true. I think it applies equally with domestic science and cookery, for boys and girls. So many young families seem to live on take-aways; that might be the answer to the obesity problems we seem to have these days .

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I get a few nuisance calls now and then, and i tend to report some of the companies to the TPS if possible. I try and write down all the numbers of unsolicited callers so i can keep a record of them, and check back through the list to see if they have tried calling me in the past. I do find that a lot of these calls are from ‘foreign sounding’ people, and i try and ask them their number or just tell them they are making an unsolicited call. I am pleased that to date, i have not let any of them ‘put one on me’ and get scammed.

Other irritants
– people/organisations who tell us why things can’t be done, instead of how they could be.
– parking charges in essential places – like hospitals
– tax reliefs. Just tax everyone and everything in the same way and keep it simple
– stupidly high parking penalty charges.
– war. Time we grew up and stopped thinking dropping explosives on people was a solution. (Do you go round and punch your neighbour when he makes too much noise?)
– HS2
– Smart meters

“We’re well aware of the irritation that nuisance calls causes, with over 365,000 people backing our campaign to call time on them.”

I do believe some Which? staffer said some people welcomed them. Which whilst this was possibly true of 0.0001% of the population in my estimation the statement was never supported or quantified by Which?.

Which brings me to what is really annoying which is the misuse of statistics. This morning on BBC radio it was giving percentage increases and drops in M&S divisional sales. Per cents mean sod all without actual figures.

If I get a single up-tick it will be an astonishing 100% growth … but not really as 1 tick to 2 ticks is 100% growth. And in the overall scheme of things it only makes sense because I am providing the underlying numbers to support the percentages.

Another piece of news previously was “nine M.P.’s of the Icelandic P.M.’s party had asked for him to resign”.
Is this significant if they have 500 M.P.’s or if they have 20? The BBC did not feel the need to advise on that.

I agree very much on speed bumps which DO damage vehicles. I wonder why graffiti is missing as an annoyance.

Incidentally for companies like Tandem Bank commissioning fairly gormless surveys that will be repeated across the media is an example of how to get your name known even before you launch as a Bank. Already covered by Corbyradio and the Perth Chronicler for customer reactions ….

100% growth from me DT.
% is a valuable measure as it puts a change in perspective. What I find irritating is the use of an actual figure without the context. But what matters is not turnover, but profit – so how much did profits change? If turnover goes down but profits increase that is good (isn’t it). It is being given partial information that I find irritating.

Stuart says:
7 April 2016

Those drivers who think the footpath is for parking on. It is for pedestrians ONLY.

Caitlin says:
7 April 2016

OK, here goes in no particular order . . .

Discovering a wonderful new food or product and then the store promptly discontinues it!

BT’s customer “service”

Loud, anti-social / drunken behaviour in parks as soon as the sun comes out

Playing radios in the park

Excessively high or badly placed speed bumps that damage cars or at the very least make the journey very uncomfortable. Ever been over one in a Smart car? Ouch!!

Potholes that cause expensive damage to cars and are SO dangerous to cyclists

Bad / dangerous driving e.g. tailgating, speeding or dawdling, not allowing enough space for cyclists, not signalling, not giving way etc.
Poor cycling behaviour that gives the majority of us a bad name!
NB: I am a driver AND a cyclist – I believe my cycling makes me a better driver and vice versa – it’s about having respect and consideration for everyone on the road whether they are using two wheels or four.

Unruly children whose parents don’t or can’t control them, particularly in restaurants, or in the Royal Parks. Whether they are throwing sticks at the ducks, teasing the deer or just chasing the pigeons, it’s thoughtless and cruel. I witnessed one child with a remote control boat chasing after ducks on the lake whilst the parent looked on and laughed. However what really makes my blood boil is dog owners who allow their pets to chase after the deer who live in the Parks. The presence of wild deer = dogs on leads. If the dog wants to run around, then it should be taken somewhere where it can’t harass the wildlife. Sadly there are more idiots than park police/rangers.

Tony wilson says:
7 April 2016

Unfettered kids kicking footballs on to my property, EVERY DAY but its the inconsiderate parents who are really to blame. People parking wherever they want to irrespective of road signs or wheher its appropriate or not

Dogs barking !

Ring customer care or government and being faced with huge phone bills eg I rang HMRC because they had made a mistake with my tax and the call cost just under £14

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Peter C. says:
7 April 2016

Detest having to listen to an extensive recorded message and/or repeatedly havind to select from options on the phone when all I want is to speak to a human being.
Offshore call centres.
Unruly children with or without bad parents.
People who let their dogs foul anywhere (I have six dogs and ALWAYS pick up)

Real irritants? Very few, in fact, and almost solely limited to individuals. I detest it when people make statements which can’t be substantiated or talk ‘through their hats’, a common technique with politicians.

We don’t get annoying ‘phone calls (we’ve always been ex-directory), we don’t get barking dogs, unruly children, crime or litter louts but there are always individuals on TV, in the media or sometimes in the shops who pontificate on everything. In fact, all the things on W?’s list of potential irritants concern individuals and their behaviour. Me – I blame the parents…

For some people it must be intolerable when the butler drops a silver tray upon the marble floor, or when Waitrose swaps aubergines for langoustines and charges just the same. Life’s just not fair is it? Luckily we don’t seem to suffer from any of the annoyances listed on the menu in the Intro, so where have we gone wrong? Only numbers three and seven were worthy of a vote, and I checked the ‘other’ box to mention silly polls, pointless surveys, and customer feedback questionnaires. Blessings counted daily.

John, , , Everyone here arrives on the same sheet of the hymn book at some point and I’m kinda with you on this one
No there’s not a load on the list that annoys us

Perhaps in the past we had too many cold/with held calls but with a little careful watching of the info we give out we’ve managed to reduce it to mainly Laithwaites and wifey buys from them occasionally and they are not with held I might add so we can see the number

I dont like those who tailgate especially those in cars with those damned LED daylight lamps and I’m no slouch
The same people or same/similar overtake us in the 30s and 40s and we are already most likely slightly over the signed speed limit
Again the same marques park in the pick up zones near the supermarket door for hours
Privileged I’d say and I have a few stories about such but I’ll not bore you with them

I once worked with and am still friendly with a fan of those brands and he asked once why no one would let him out into the traffic. . . .I told him the brands he drove had rather a lot of yobs who tail gate and behave like they own the place and I would not let them out so why would he expect any better treatment
Some 15 years later he’d be the first to agree with this. . .He’s much more mature now..

People having or “borrowing” Blue Badges, , parking in the disabled spots and then running like sprinters to avoid the rain into the shop. . . Those people are not disabled, ,they are pr***s

It seems most of my pet dislikes revolve around cars
I take the attitude that if someone is going slowly, , overtake them
If they drive out at short notice dont blare the horn just avoid them as best you can
I’d say I “drive around” as many problems as I can as quietly as I can. Road rage is very easy to start and is not so easy to stop and I dont believe it is good for one’s health either so I try to avoid it. . .

One last thing. . . I dont like road rage

Why do have to pay for European cover on my motor insurance as have never needed it and will never will?? EU rules again??

I dont think the Euro inclusion really costs much more and is a serious improvement over the past when we got charged a fortune for European cover for a few weeks
I’d imagine the theory of only having one rear end and and only being able to ride one horse at the time comes into play
You cannot drive in the UK and Europe at the same time so the risk factor wont really change much or that was the argument in the past anyhow

Miketait says:
8 April 2016

Firms like BT where you CANT talk to a human at all and the word recognition system does not work
IT cannot cope with real people but then large monopolies likeBT don’t give a s**t !!

The dumbing down of BBC news.The continual obsession with (a) Drugs in Athletics (b) FIFA corruption and (c) Oscar Pestorius ( not currently a problem but wait until the next appeal ).Seriously , I want to be able to access relevant interesting and unbiased news and it’s becoming harder these days.

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Some days there are a lot of interesting things happening, some days there are not, the various news broadcasters have 30 minutes or so to fill with “news” every day, this is the result.
Most countries news / propaganda outlets have some axes to grind, but having spent time listening to various alternatives (VOA, Fox, CNN, RT etc.), I have decided that the BBC does a better job than most in providing a more balanced output.

Once a story breaks and the BBC [or ITN or Sky News] has a reporter on the scene they follow that story down every crack and crevice until something else comes along to supplant it. I don’t mind these running stories although I think some of them do get dragged out a bit too far. The broadcasters also have a tendency to make sure their foreign correspondents and special correspondents get their spot in the limelight from time to time irrespective of whether there is a ‘news’ story to support it. I have two friends who are self-confessed ‘news junkies’ and are constantly looking at news bulletins from a variety of sources throughout the day. I used to like reading a daily newspaper because they covered yesterday’s news which they packaged, edited and put in context with analysis. The papers can’t compete for ‘breaking’ news anymore, even on-line, so they have become much dumber than the broadcasters and print any old features and opinions that they can procure from the same tired old hacks, pundits and bladders of wind day after day. A bit like Which? Conversation really, I suppose.

I am pleased that the Panama Papers scandal is still running and nothing has yet knocked it off the top spot on the News, but it seems odd that no correspondent has yet identified any other Panamanian law firms up their necks in secretly off-shoring client investments. I can’t believe that Mossak Fonseca has a monopoly on this trade. The news media take what’s on the plate but sometimes need to look under the plate.

I used to be more irritated by the practice on the BBC for almost every programme, however domestic, to eventually send their people off to America for a jolly in the guise of bringing us the latest from the States. This doesn’t happen so much nowadays, first because we are all much more clued up about what’s going on across the Atlantic and are not that interested, second because the USA is no longer the origin of all miracles, and third because it just can’t afford to do it in the manner to which their presenters have become accustomed. There is a fourth reason – Top Gear has poisoned the well.

News is very biased these days.

Take the mass immigration into Europe. If the news had highlighted that 99% of the first waves of immigrants were young men instead of trying to pick out the one women or child in the throng and concentrating on the humanitarian side, would it have made a difference?

Now they are waking up to the fact terrorists were among them?

I agree with you Alfa. I get a bit fed up with the over-sentimental tone of some reporting from certain regions of the world. I know it wins awards, but we can have compassion with balance, surely.

The same applies to some of these Convos and intros, doesn’t it. We need to help the vulnerable and needy, but they are often mis-used as to why “something should be changed”. What we should be concentrating our efforts on surely, is ensuring, more resources and help are put into helping these groups, and let the fit and able take responsibility for themselves (as many already do).

I don’t like gratuitous headline grabbing sensationalist stories.

M Bazz says:
9 April 2016

Potholes in the road. Efforts to repair them are random and temporary, with the result that they are getting worse!

There was a time when the word ‘pothole’ referred exclusively to a subterranean geological formation. Holes in the road were just that – holes. But as they proliferated and expanded under the weight and pressure of increasing traffic, the word ‘pothole’ was introduced to demonstrate their severity and hopefully shame the authorities into repairing them. They have shown themselves incapable of doing this and the cavities in our roads are now so frequent and deep they are making driving on some roads seriously hazardous – yet no warning signs are positioned to alert us, so much swerving occurs as we spot them or drivers occupy the outside lanes. It’s time to escalate the geological language a bit more now and use the word ‘crater’. The government has now thrown even more of our money at the local highway authorities for the fixing of potholes but it’s a pittance compared with the scale of the problem. Many road sections need complete reconstruction not just patching and surface-dressing.

Crater? I like that.

Holes that turned into potholes that are now craters just about sums them up.

If only councils would adopt standards to make sure that repairs lasted. When are they going to learn chucking a bit of tarmac in a hole and pressing it down a bit just does not work and if they were repaired properly would actually save them money in the long run. A hole mended properly once or a part-job done several times a year, sometimes for years?

According to a report in the DT Motoring “Councils need 230 times more than the £50 million pledged by the Government this week to fix potholes” the Local Government Association says. I make that £11.5 billion. This is not just patching up, but “bringing our roads up to scratch”. About 20% of the cost of HS2. I’d go for that. It would benefit far more people.

Thanks Malcolm. I thought the figure would be geological but it’s astronomical! At one billion a year [councils would choke on more than that] and tackling the priorities first we could soon make an impressive dent in the problem. Keep HS2 – it’ll take traffic off the roads and, unlike road repairs, it will use a lot of steel.

I wonder how much money was spent last year mending potholes and how much was spent on road calming and claims for vehicle damage from potholes?

Now that might be interesting.

People who push their way on to trains/buses whilst others are getting off.