I like to see myself as an easy-going fella who can smile at adversity and not take life too seriously. Yet, over the last few weeks, a number of situations succeeded in triggering annoyance, even rage. Here are five of my most snarl-inducing experiences.
- Telephone helplines where the person reads from a script
Information technology is awesome, enabling us to access the answer to any question at the touch of a button. In contrast, when it goes awry, it can cause such teeth-grinding frustration. Recently, my Internet connection ceased to function so I rang the provider to speak to an expert technician. The subsequent telephone conversation went something like this:
ME: Hi there. I can’t get an Internet connection. I’ve checked that the cables are all plugged in correctly and I’ve tried switching my router on and off, but I still can’t get online. So could I talk to a technician please?
HELPER: OK – what I’d like you to do first is to switch your router off, leave it for 10 seconds, and then switch it back …
ME: I’ve already done that – can you just put me through to one of your techy people
*Shuffling of papers*
HELPER: Would you now check the cable leading from your computer to the router and ensure that it …
Give me strength! If I was more compassionate I’d recognise what a shit, poorly-paid job it is working in a call centre but, at this particular moment, I want to put my fist through the telephone line and punch him in the face.
2. People who believe they are transparent
There’s a football match I’m eager to watch so I’ve arrived at the pub early in order to obtain a seat with a full view of the television. I’m enjoying my third pint of cask ale when the game starts, and then … some bloke stands directly in my eye line, totally obscuring my view. I wait a while, expecting him to soon realise the error of his ways, but no, he remains oblivious.
After a few seconds of staring at the fella’s back, I shout, ‘Excuse me; could you move to the side so I can see the TV.’
He turns and looks at me with disdain – like he’s just seen me shit on his dining table – and, grudgingly, moves a few millimetres. If I wasn’t such a wimp – and he wasn’t four-foot wide with neck scarring and tattoos – I’d have stood up and confronted him.
Instead, I seethe in silence, muttering into the froth of my beer.
3. Pedestrians who don’t give way
I’m walking along the pavement/sidewalk with Mrs Jones when I notice three people, side-by-side, walking towards me. While my lady and I make some effort to make space for them, by turning to the side or adopting a one-in-front-of-the-other formation, they march on, three abreast, brushing us away from their flight path. Did they not notice us? Did they see us but thought, ‘Fuck you – we’re much more important?’
I vow that when I next meet such blinkered on comers I will stand my ground and shoulder them into the oncoming traffic (that is as long as they are not four-foot wide with neck scars and tattoos).
4. When restaurants run out of your favoured menu choice
Following a detailed inspection of the restaurant’s menu, enticingly displayed in the front window, we enter and are shown to our seats. While the internal hunger monster forces saliva out of the corner of our mouths, we eagerly order our favoured dishes, only for the waiter to say,
‘Sorry sir, but we’ve run out of the goat’s cheese starter and the salmon main.’
Perhaps because he’s noticed my disappointment, he adds, ‘We’ve been really busy today.’
OK, so it’s the previous customers at fault for woofing down my cheese and salmon; the no-shows in the menu have nothing at all to do with the incompetence of the restaurant manager and in-house chef. After all, how could they know that demand might increase a bit on a bank holiday?
5. The blanket coverage of the royal wedding
I have zero interest in the royal family. All that pomp, tradition and elitism leave me cold. So when Prince Harry recently hooked up with some wench called Megan Markle this royal wedding held the same allure for me as hearing about the marriage of a couple of strangers – that is, no interest at all.
Nonetheless, in the days leading up to the ceremony I was forced to endure blanket coverage by the media. Newspapers devoted page after page to the ‘happy event’. The TV news channels dedicated hour after hour to such riveting stuff as who would walk Meg down the aisle, what her wedding dress would look like, and whether Harry would opt for a pre-ceremony bowel movement or wait until after the service – OK, I made that last one up; but now I think about it, his colonic activity would have been more interesting than all the other guff.
On the wedding day itself, Mrs Jones and I decided to escape the frenzy and hysteria by taking a very long walk in the hills that overlook our town. The solitude of the countryside was bliss. But when we opted for a pit stop in a rural village tavern, over the top of the bar was a small TV showing – you’ve guessed it – the royal wedding. Behind us, a group of middle-aged ladies excitedly discussed the wonders of the current queen, princes and princesses. Give me strength!
The sooner the UK morphs into a republic the better.
Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mr. Jones, I LOVED the Royal Wedding, Darling!)) And don't you DARE call me middle-aged.
My Brit husband, Mr. L., Despises royalty. WHY? When I told him Harry was getting married in a text...He texted back saying, "Don't give a shit." My friends at work thought this was quite funny.
Anyhow, you are quite hilarious yourself, Mr. Jones!
I know I'm in the minority with my disdain of anything royal. However, the more I hear about your husband the more confident I am that we would get along just fine. Take careDelete
#4 always annoys the heck out of me, too. You get your mind set on one thing to eat and then suddenly it is no longer available. Ugh!ReplyDelete
The experience of disappearing menu items is a source of frustration,Delete
Nope, I wasn't caught up in the hoopla of the wedding, either. Meghan who? Why? What? Her daddy did what? Her step sister is a what? Piers Morgan called her a what? All this info came to me ONLY because it was in the headlines on my home page. Blech. I understand people getting caught up but if one isn't interested, it shouldn't be shoved down ones throat!! As to the other stuff - EXACTLY!! I spent more time telling the help desk I already knew and had done their list. One guy finally said to me, "Well, ma'm, then that's all I can help you with. You'll have to call this other number and tell them" - only to hear the exact same thing at first, "unplug, reboot, cables" - before we got to the real problem - fried hard drive (yikes)! LOVED this post!ReplyDelete
It is good to hear there's someone else on the planet who is not enthused by the royal wedding. And as for the help desks, it's like talking to a robot (a moronic one at that).Delete
Thanks for the support and comments.
I too am 54 and disgruntled.
I also share your horror with our blessed mobile phone 'providers' and have poured scorn on my blog:
Loved your piece - please keep up the good work
Thank you, Martin - I'll pop over to your blog to read about your own frustrations.Delete
Have made it a point to discuss problems with telephone help personnel in one manner: "I recognize you don't know your script by heart or you'd understand that I'm on your page 42 and you're only on page 3. Now, since you're the novice and can't handle my questions, how about providing me with immediate contact of a supervisor. You know, one that might be able to help me since you're not able to do so. By the way, that's the sure way to get a high score on your survey, too. Otherwise, I'm gonna blast you into the unemployment line." It usually works, although a few are hardheaded. I believe those are probably the ones with the tattoos and neck scars that are mad about my conversation and won't move out of your way on the sidewalk.ReplyDelete