This broken world: vent about your pet peeves and irritations.

What are your pet peeves and sources of annoyance / irritation? I’m looking for things that crop up time after time that grind you down and give you that ‘This world is just broken’ feeling. Things that you think we really ought to have fixed by now, and that you expect many others also find irritating.

Leave out the really major, tragic, global stuff (war, famine etc.). I’m looking for more local, personal, relatively trivial angles that nonetheless drive you crazy.

Some examples from my own collection:

  • going through long, automated telephone trees that ask me for all sorts of info, and then when / if I finally get to talk to a human being, they ask me for the same info all over again

  • taking a day off work to stay home waiting for couriers, delivery companies or tradesmen who either don’t arrive at all, turn up during the 3 minutes you couldn’t answer the door and go away again, or turn up at the very last minute of their specified 12 hour window of opportunity. Seriously, in this day and age, can’t we have more precise schedules or near real-time tracking of where the guy or the van is?

  • airline tickets and boarding passes. Why so complicated, badly designed and awkwardly shaped? They could just give you something credit-card sized showing your name and the flight number / ID plus maybe destination. That’s all anyone really needs.

  • atrociously poor quality of debates and discussions. You’re trying to gently, politely explain that astrology has no basis in science at all. Someone else just smugly asserts, “Science? Pah! I read somewhere that according to science, bees can’t fly! So much for science!”. You’re faced with such a dense thicket of ignorance that it’s hard to know where to start.

  • silly rituals and ceremonies that may very well be full of ‘heritage’ and ‘symbolism’ but honestly, just look silly and could be brought up to date. Have you seen how they close the border between India and Pakistan? Couldn’t they just close a gate or something?

Over to you!

Just once in my life, I want to be the first scheduled appointment on a serviceman’s or delivery roster. Just once. These “windows” are ridiculously long and yes, they always run late and never early…


The world would be an exponentially prettier place if everyone would simply dispose of their trash properly and not be selfish, disgusting, filthy assholes.

  • People who stand at the front of the line at McDonald’s and stare at the menu for 5 minutes.

  • People at the grocery store who are actively being checked out, but aren’t yet finished shopping.

  • People who waited for the bus for 20 minutes, but don’t root through their purse/pockets for their fare until they’re actually standing at the machine on the bus.

I guess those can all be boiled down to “people who go through life unprepared for simple, everyday tasks at the expense of everyone else around them.”

The vast majority of people around here return shopping carts, so it bugs me when I see one that’s not returned. I wonder what kind of completely thoughtless, selfish, asshole decided it was perfectly fine to just leave the cart in the middle of the parking lot instead of taking one fucking minute to return it to the store or the cart holding area.

I will return that cart and shake my head at the assholishness of the dickweed who left it there in the first place. What the fuck were you thinking?

In general, inefficient bureaucracy, when you have to give department A all the information you’ve already given department B, even though A and B are really just subsidiaries of the same larger information—I remember back in my student days, I had to request a certificate of studentship from the university, which I then had to mail to the university in order to be able to apply for taking exams. It’s like if everytime you meet someone you already know, you’d have to ask them if they know you, then give them that information back, in order for them to actually know that they know you.

Or more recently, trying to get reimbursement for travelling to a conference, I filled out the required forms, gave them to our secretary, who mailed them to the appropriate department, where apparently somebody opened them, found that I hadn’t entered my IBAN and BIC (we recently changed banking systems here, so where once you would only enter your account number and bank’s identification number, there’s now two longer and impossible to remember numbers that you have to enter), mailed the form back to the secretary, who then approached me in order to fill in the correct information. Now, the fun thing is, that if you know somebody’s account and bank number, which I had entered, you can just look up the required information online, so anybody on that chain could have taken ten seconds to just do so, rather than sending all the forms around. Also, the standard forms we have access to don’t even have space to enter the correct IBAN and BIC; they still only request your account and bank numbers. But well, I guess the change only occurred half a year ago, and was only announced a few years before that, which I guess is really not enough time for two lines of a form to be changed…

  1. Modern pop ‘music’. No it’s not that I want people off my lawn. I want people who can play instruments and sing without being autotuned. It’d also be cool if the songs weren’t so predictable I can sing the song without having ever heard it after 6 seconds.

This is a good one that could probably fill the entire thread.

True story. I run my own company and I live in the UK. All the official company papers have to be filed with a rapacious bureaucratic monolith called Companies House. A few years ago, I changed my address so I wrote to tell them. They wrote back to me, AT MY CORRECT NEW ADDRESS, enclosing a form they said I had to complete denoting my change of address.

I phoned them and had a chat. I pointed out that they obviously HAD my new address, because they had just written to me. So why did I have to fill in this utterly redundant form? They said I couldn’t just write and tell them my new address, I had to submit the information on the correct form. I pointed out that this was a clear case of form-filling for the sake of filling in forms. The actual information transfer had already been successfully achieved.

Of course I got nowhere, and I had to complete the ‘official form’. In fact, it would have been ILLEGAL not to do so! I can hear George Orwell cackling silently to himself in the distance…

Probably a tiny and insignificant but one that continually grinds my gears: shitty packaging.

Not just gallons of styrofoam peanuts in boxes, but strips of tape that stick not only to the packaging but the item itself, so you’re left with a sticky residue that needs to be soaked off with Goo Gone or paint thinner.

Food packaging is often egregiously bad. Frustratingly impenetrable plastic , layers and strips of it, everywhere. Not to mention foil seals with microscopic little tabs you’re supposed to pull, but you need pliers or forceps to get them off. Jars that cannot be opened without whacking them on the edge of the bench. “Easy open” tabs or flaps that are glued shut and end up looking like someone chewed the edges once you manage to open them.

I won’t even mention blister packs. The devil’s work.

Some horrendous packaging makes me long for a tiny little chain saw that I can fire up and use, instead of wobbly knives and dull scissors.

At any given counter-service food joint, why is it that people with kids wait until they get in front of the cashier to start asking the kids what they want? First off, kids NEVER know what they want, so just get it out of the way before you leave the goddamned house. Secondly, I and everyone else in line is hungry too, and you’re jamming up the works.

One thing that bugs me in Portland is that everyone is so fucking precious about what they eat, so they end up in endless conversations with counter people about what might be lurking in the soup. The carrots aren’t organic? Oh, horrors! What about the bean soup; is it vegan? Oh, somebody opened a package of bacon in the same room when the soup was cooking; well, we can’t have that, can we Precious?

Parents having adult conversation with their 3-year-olds. “Now Hunter, you are intruding on my personal space. Remember we discussed how mommy’s personal space is part of her celestial psyche and when you intrude on it, mommy’s karma is disturbed blahblahblahblah.” The kid continues to do exactly what he was doing, of course, undeterred by what he hears as completely meaningless blather.

Parents praising their children with a perky “Good job!” whenever the kid is able do the simplest of tasks. “Nice breathing, Mykynzy; good job!”

I’d never seen that before. That’s equally ridiculous and awesome. The stomping and grimacing is… well, it’s something.

The minor annoyance that makes me want to weep is applying for jobs online. “Upload your resume, and our system will create your profile!” Has that ever worked for anyone? Online job applications always seem to be designed to test your patience and creativity. “Describe your job duties (max 17 characters)” “Pick your professional certifications from this drop down list of alphabet soup in no way related to your career field”. “Enter your GPA (field required even if your undergrad degree was 20 years ago and you’ve long since forgotten/lost the paperwork)”.

One of my favorite stupid examples was when I applied for a job at IBM a few years back. One required field was “How did you hear about IBM?” Not, “How did you hear about this job,” but “how did you hear about IBM.” And it was a drop-down list. Sadly, there was no value for “I grew up in the US in the 20th Century.” I mean, how did I hear about Coca Cola or General Motors? I don’t know.

Cable providers. Every. Last. Fucking. One. Of. Them.

The whole Comcast/TWC merger *really *grinds my gears. The relationship between Comcast and the FCC is so shady. I literally **can’t believe **it’s legal.

Oh dear, I hadn’t looked at this earlier, thinking, yeah, I’ve seen various changing of the guard ceremonies, how much more ridiculous can it get? And well, apparently, the answer is a lot! Hasn’t anybody ever just burst out laughing during all this prancing around? Do these people get changed out a lot, because after a while you’ll just be annihilated in a blinding flash of pure self-consciousness?

OMG! That’s fantastic. The minister of silly walks has NOTHING on these guys.

I fly for work - a lot.

My favorite is the folks going through security. Now, we have had this type of security setup for more than 10 years now so most people should be somewhat familiar with it, ya? I cut some slack to the elderly, and families with little kiddos, but the ones that make me bonkers are the people who are clearly familiar with the process, but just don’t get it.

They stand in line for however long it is, huffing and staring off into space. But when they get to the point of actually having to put things into bins they start digging every little thing out of their pockets - wallet, pen, phone, keys, change, gum, lighter, marbles, little army men, random slips of paper, etc. - and into a bin it goes. Then on the other end they spend just as much time picking up every last penny and slip of paper individually from the bin.

Y’know dude, the whole process would go much faster for everyone if you would spend 15 seconds, while you are standing in line waiting, moving all of the deritus into a jacket pocket (then the jacket is put into a bin), or backpack/computer bag pocket. Smooth this sh*t out!

Good lord! The other day my son and I were at Whataburger. We stood in line for a good 5 minutes because the cashier was having problems with the register.

When it was finally our turn to order, I turned to my son and said “What do you want?”. It wasn’t until then he started to go over the menu taking his time in the process. I had to pull ourselves out of line so other people could make their order! :smack:


This is a very good one. Clearly, our modern world only allows two kinds of packaging: waaaaay too much or not nearly enough.

Clamshell packaging and the like is often defended on the grounds that it’s a necessary response to deter or foil shoplifters. To some extent, I can see the reasoning, but it’s coming to something when even the honest, legitimate purchaser gets the item home and still can’t into it. As is so often the case, the dishonest aren’t really affected, but the honest people end up annoyed and inconvenienced.

Use your turn signal.