Top 10 Public Etiquette Annoyances

I’m quite a patient person when it comes to most aspects of life, but there are certain things that really annoy me about people and the things that they do, usually strangers and in public.

In many instances when the below occur, I would tend to sigh inwardly and ignore them – other times if in the right mood I will say something to the person, or make a comment as they walk away.

If you are one of the people who do the below, I urge you…please stop it now!

Stop<br />
However I’m hopeful that some, if not all, of the items in the list below will be close to your heart and near the top of your list of annoyances as well. For that I applaud you, as that means there is at least one more person out there who feels the same as I do, and do not fall into the category of being one more annoying stranger.

Doggy Bag

10. Dogs and Bags on public transport

The Issue:
Let me be clear from the outset. I have nothing against dogs or bags on public transport. I take bags on the bus or tube all the time – not so much a dog as I don’t have one, but if I did I may also take it on transport too.

My annoyance is with the ignorance of the dog or bag owner, specifically when they take a seat and load the seat next to them with their dog/bags. Some people aren’t too bad and remove the items from the seat if someone else needs to sit. Yet time after time I see the person staring blankly ahead, ignoring all around, and using up the extra seat for their shopping or beloved pooch. If I’ve paid for my journey I expect to have a seat if there is one available. I do not expect to have to stand for someone elses belongings, or someone elses pet; the bad point about the latter is that many people don’t really want to sit in the seat even if the dog does move – what with it being muddy and/or covered in dog hairs.

How to handle:
If there are bags on the seat I would tend to just throw the words ‘excuse me’ towards the owner, and that will usually see them – grudgingly and slowly – move their bags on to their knees or the floor allowing me to sit down.

The dog is a slightly different matter. If I’m in a suit I don’t really wish to sit in the same seat the dog has taken due to the hair factor, so I will tend to stand or find another seat. I will usually sit or stand where I can see the dog and owner and make my displeasure known via staring.

If in casuals, however, I will happily sit down and so my action depends on my mood. If in a tolerant mood I will again just throw ‘excuse me’ at the owner. If in a bad mood I will turn to them and ask ‘Does this dog have a ticket for that seat?’. Sometimes this will of course depend on the size of the owner, and of the dog.

Influence over children

9. Setting bad examples around children

The Issue:
How other people bring up their children is their business and not mine. I am not one to judge the parenting of others, and never shall. I also know I am no influence in how others bring up their children, but there are times when we’re all around children in public, and we should act responsibly in light of that.

As such, there are two things I will not do when in public and around children – but I see others doing them and it annoys me.

Firstly, I will not swear if I see children around. If I’m in a restaurant with friends we will happily swear in a casual conversation, though obviously not to a high degree and to offend others around. However, if there are children in the restaurant my swearing is switched off just as much as if I was at work. I’m conscious enough that there are children around and they may be able to hear me, so I will adjust accordingly.

Unfortunately others don’t do the same and will swear with happy disregard. Children are a little like parrots, and will latch on to things such as swearing, especially if they know it’s wrong, and start repeating it – which is not something I want to encourage.

Secondly, I will always adhere to the green cross code if there are children around. I’m old enough now to know how to cross a road safely and, touch wood, I’ve never had a road accident. I look both ways, listen, and cross when I feel it is safe.

If I wish to cross a road and there are children around though, I will go to the relevant crossing and wait for the lights to change before I cross. So many times I see parents with children stood at a crossing, attempting to teach them the essentials of road safety, waiting at the crossing for the lights to change, the cars to stop and then to cross over, when some stranger just barges past them and trots across the road when there’s a short gap in the traffic.

It annoys me that they do this in front of children in their formative years who are being taught how to cross the road.

This also annoys me when people do it with dogs and their owners. It’s natural for a dog to move when they see someone else move. If an owner is teaching the dog to sit at the side of the road before crossing – don’t rush out in front of them and any oncoming cars, regardless of how far away the car is. The dog will see your legs move and run out behind you – ruining whatever instruction the owners are attempting to teach.

Surely waiting one minute to cross a road will not ruin your daily schedule?

How to handle:
Unfortunately there’s not much to be done in these situations. Someone crossing the road will not be worth chasing after to try and explain your reasoning for stopping them, and someone swearing will more than likely not care that children are within earshot. In the latter case, and if I am with a friend, I will raise my voice as if in conversation with them and state ‘I hate it when people swear around children’ in the hope the offender hears me and takes it into future consideration.

wash hands

8. Not Washing Hands

The Issue:
I think the majority of men that go to the bathroom don’t wash their hands. I see this all the time when out in bars and restaurants, and it’s quite disgusting – especially if you see that person then taking a mint from the reception desk in a restaurant, or going back to meet their girlfriend in the bar and stroking her on the cheek. It takes less than two minutes to drop a bit of soap on your hands, run them under the tap and dry them…and best of all – it’s free!

I know some people do it in bars where there are toilet attendents as a way to try and escape their attention and prevent from having to give them a bit of loose change; it’s times like this I applaud the attendants who, unlike the toilet users, don’t drink their way through the night and, therefore, remember who has been to the toilet. I often hear them comment ‘ah yes, you don’t wash your hands’ to men on their second visit to the rest room which at least has the effect of making other men in there instantly wash their hands.

This annoys me most in the poker clubs I go to, I feel for obvious reasons. The same ten people sit at a table and handle the same cards and pass chips back and forth for hours and hours. It’s therefore common sense, and courteous to others, to try and keep the communal cards and chips as clean and bacteria free as is possible – which can be helped by washing your hands when you go to the toilet.

I know some people, especially professional poker players, who carry around a gel antibacterial soap so that they can clean their hands every few rounds – especially if they are going to be eating at the table. This is essential for professionals who would lose a day or two per year of being sick if they caught a cold due to the amount of bugs on their work tools.

How to handle:
The above mentioned bathroom attendant handles it well enough. If in a poker place I will wait until the person is at my table and comes back from the toilet before stating ‘I hope you washed your hands this time, because I expect most of those chips soon’ which often has the benefit of public ridicule to make them, and others at the table, wash their hands.

In restaurants I simply don’t eat any sweets from the reception desk unless they are individually wrapped.

Clean up after your dog!

7. Not Picking Up Dog Poop

The Issue:
As a dog owner you have certain responsibilities. These include feeding your dog, grooming your dog, walking your dog and, yes, the often unpleasant task of cleaning up after your dog (oh, and buying a bus/train ticket if you wish for your beloved mutt to take priority over other paying passengers on public transport).

Some dog owners feel that they should be allowed to let their dog relieve themselves anywhere they like and that someone else will clean it up for them. However most of the time it just ends up being spread around as people step in it – and as you probably know from your own experience, the ‘silent step’ isn’t the most pleasant thing to happen to you, and is pretty much on a par of having a bird poop on your shoulder.

I find it quite disgusting that many dog owners don’t care about something that is quite a big social responsibility on their part. It’s certainly not fair on those wonderful and responsible dog owners that do take the time to clean up after their mucky pups. It annoys me that I have to watch where I walk carefully and side step any potential messes – especially when on holiday and all I really want to do is survey the scenery and not just look down at the pavement (especially Paris – it’s a big issue there!).

I find it most frustrating when it happens in public parks though. These are places that people go to enjoy themselves, and to take their children to play. It’s not nice for the kids to be running around on the grass playing football and then suddenly trip and find themselves landing in a pile of dog poop.

How to handle:
Unless you catch the dog in the act and can approach the owner there and then, there is little you can do. Just be extra careful when out and about, keep your eye on the streets as you walk and, if in Paris, perhaps tie a couple of plastic bags to your feet.

Disabled Parking Only

6. Parking Illegally

The Issue:
I don’t even drive and this one still bugs me, I think because when someone parks illegally they know that they are doing so and don’t seem to care, as if the rules that apply to the rest of society don’t apply to them. To me parking illegally falls into three categories, which are as follows:

Category One: Double Yellow Lines

A driver who parks on the double yellow lines usually does so in order to quickly rush into a shop and back out, and justifies this by stating they are only going to be 2 minutes. I don’t care if you take 2 minutes or 2 hours – you’ve still parked illegally and if you get caught doing so I hope you get fined for it. There’s a reason some places have double yellow lines, and it’s usually to do with safety. When you ignore this, you endanger the lives of others.

Category Two: Parking without paying for a ticket
Some drivers park correctly, but don’t bother buying a parking ticket which means they are in a pay zone and expect to stay there for free. I don’t see why some people feel they shouldn’t have to pay when everyone else does, and this annoys me as much as someone who decides to skip buying a ticket for the bus or train – you’re stealing and as a result, the price you and others have to pay in the future will go up due to the loss of revenue from your mindless theft.

Category Three: Parking in a restricted zone
This is why parking illegally is in my list. I hate it when someone goes to a store and parks in the disabled spot when they are perfectly healthy, and they do so out of laziness because they can’t be bothered walking a few extra steps.
Your stupidity is not a registered form of disability, and neither is your laziness unless you’re fat enough to be classed as disabled. These zones are reserved for people less able than you to use, and you really shouldn’t jump in there just because it’s a foot closer than the other space…you idiot.

How to handle:
Take pleasure when you see a traffic warden catch someone in one of the above three categories. For those parking in the disabled parking you could ask to see their disability sticker, or make exaggerated efforts to see it in the car itself. I need to be in a brave mood to confront in these circumstances but have before stood beside the car until the person returns and, when they ask why you are looking in their window, state that they are parked in the disabled spot an you were looking for their sticker. It’s rare that this would intimidate anyone into not parking there again, but you never know.

If you care enough you could buy a traffic wardens outfit and walk up and down your local streets glaring at people who contemplate parking illegally. Carry a bottle of wine in a bag in case a real traffic warden comes along, and you can tell them you’re on your way to a fancy dress party.

Public Display of Affection (PDA)

5. Public Displays of Affection (PDA)

The Issue:
I don’t mind seeing people kiss in public. When you meet someone or say goodbye you of course can embrace and kiss a loved one, a little more so when you’re at a location such as an airport saying farewell to you beloved girlfriend.

However, there are certain public displays of affection that I really can’t stand, and these tend to be the new couples who are still in the exciting part of their relationship. Two instances come to mind when I think of this, the first being a couple in their late teens who were sat on a tube train doing nothing but making out with each other – surely something they could have waited to get home before doing. It’s bad enough that you have to see this when you’re on your way home to heat up a microwave meal for one, but averting your eyes does nothing when you can still hear them kissing sloppily.

The second situation was when I was in a wine bar last year, and I turned to see a mature couple, quite drunk, and from where I was I had a direct view of them both above and below the table. This was unfortunate for me as he had his hand so far up her skirt I thought he was trying out a new ventriloquist routine. Please, you’re in your fifties and though it’s great that you are still full of the spice of life, don’t do it in the middle of a wine bar for all to see.

How to handle:
Wait until you catch their eye and give the classic one line response of ‘Get a room!’. Otherwise just relocate to another seat, and as you go, think how wonderful it is that two people are in love. Ahem.

Bliiss & Bile agrees with me on this one.

litter dropping

4. Dropping Litter

The Issue:
It’s the age old problem of people being lazy. It annoys me when people leave empty bottles on public transport as they get off, and it annoys me even more when I’m walking down the street and see someone cast aside a piece of paper – usually from some junk food they are eating – even though they are walking towards, or have just walked past, a trash can.

The only reason someone can have for doing this is that they are completely ignorant. They must have no concept that throwing things on to the floor is bad for the environment and quite rude for the society we live in. How difficult would it be to keep the item in your hand until you pass a bin, which is pretty much on every street corner nowadays? Are you so lazy that you can’t be bothered to carry an empty crisp packet around?

How to handle:
Pick up the litter and run after the person who dropped it, tap them on the shoulder stating ‘Excuse me, you dropped this’ and hand it back to them. They will often respond with ‘yes, it’s rubbish’ to which you can tell them all about the wonderful things that are trash cans…featured on a street corner near you.

Richard M has similar views.

Let me past

3. Blocking the path of others

The Issue:
This one gets on my nerves as many people just don’t have a clue what is happening around them, or don’t seem to care. I don’t know how many people in London lack peripheral vision, but I think it’s quite high because you can have a couple walking in front of you on a narrow path, talking to each other as they go and therefore facing each other as they walk, yet they can’t see – or choose not to see – when someone is right behind them waiting for them to make a little room so that they can get past. These are the kind of people, it seems, who would be oblivious to someone stalking them as they tend to just not notice anything going on behind them. I feel the world would be a better place if people did start paying a little more attention – especially if it enabled them to just get out of my way.

Other times when their ignorance annoys me is when they walk out of shop doors and just stand in the middle of the street as if it wasn’t going to be busy and they can’t possibly be in anyone’s way. Also, and especially so, when you are walking down the street and actually make eye contact with someone standing a little way ahead of you on the pavement, and suddenly they step out in front of you! Hello? You’ve just seen me walking towards you, you made eye contact with me, you know exactly where I am walking, but you seem to just walk out in front of me anyway. Why would you do that?

How to handle:
I’ll often scuff my shoe on the floor so it makes a noise and the person has to turn around, this is usually enough to make them move out of the way…and often makes them jump unexpectedly if they really didn’t realise you were behind them.

For those who step in your path when they saw you coming, feel free to bump straight into them – it’s obvious they want you to.

missustd has some thoughts on this too

Thank You

2. Not Saying Thank You

The Issue:
Whenever I go on holiday the first people I generally meet are taxi drivers, as when you’re in a foreign land they are the best way to get from the airport to the hotel quickly and easily. I’ll be the first to admit that I am ignorant when it comes to other languages. I’ve recently been to France, Belgium and the Czech Republic without being able to speak the individual languages. Luckily a lot of people at these destinations have taken the time to learn English, especially the taxi drivers. So my first question is often to ask them how I can say Hello, Goodbye, Please and Thank You in their native tongue. I feel it helps to fit in a little more when I can at least attempt to say the pleasantries.

Why, then, is it so difficult for people who live in the same town as me to say ‘thank you’ when the situation warrants it…or even just ‘thanks’? You hold a shop door open for someone and they just glide on by as if you were just a doorstop. You stop in the street and press yourself up against a wall when there isn’t really enough room for two people, and they don’t even cast you a glance, as if you were actually a drainpipe or some other feature of the wall itself.

How difficult is it to express these two words, or perhaps just an acknowledging smile, when someone goes out of their way for you? This is especially so if you are in a bad mood, as I’m sure some scientists somewhere have actually researched politeness and no doubt come up with a theory that smiling more and saying thank you to a stranger will brighten up both of your days. I know my mood is lighter whenever someone thanks me for a little gesture I make, or when I connect a little bit to a complete stranger and thank them for actually just noticing I exist and that we have interacted.

Try it yourself.

How to handle:
The response to this is a simple one. Simply proclaim ‘You’re welcome!’ loudly in their direction as if they had said thank you, only do it in a slightly snarly, sarcastic tone.

This also bothers ddean

Cinema Etiquette

1. Cinema Etiquette

The Issue:
My number one annoyance is when it comes to going to the cinema, and how people nowadays do not seem to care that they are at a public screening and they should take into account the fact that other people are attempting to enjoy a film…and this one seems to be getting worse and worse.

I recently had a conversation with a friend; she likes to go to a full cinema and watch a film with many other people who are all enjoying the same experience; I prefer to go and see a movie on the big screen when the cinema is nearly empty and I can enjoy it with a low number of people which thereby reduces the chance of having ignorant people there too.

The amount of people that talk during a film at the cinema astounds me. I don’t see why people can’t seem to sit down for 2 hours nowadays without having to talk to their friend. You’ll have time to talk to them after the film is over – you can surely wait for the performance to finish? If your friend is leaving on a plane to Australia straight after the film and the next 2 hours is your last chance to talk in person – what on earth are you doing at the cinema?

The second annoyance is, of course, mobile/cell phones. There are advertisements at the start of the movie asking you to switch these devices off. Are you so oblivious to advertising that you don’t think it applies to you? Obviously you’re more important than anyone else in the cinema, as your phone has gone off. What’s more is that you’ve decided you have to take the call!! (Insert silent scream here.)

Surely this call can wait…no? If you’re expecting news of your wife giving birth, or the fact that you’ve won a million dollar contract with that client then I reiterate what I state above – what on earth are you doing at the cinema?

I was watching a film earlier this year when a guy two seats to the right of me actually pulled out his Playstation Portable and started playing a game mid way through the film. The sound was off, I’ll thank him for that little luxury, but the fact is they do have quite bright screens and moving images so anyone that has him and the PSP in their peripheral vision would be distracted by this. I’m actually lucky that he was only two seats to the right of me as this allowed me to tell him to switch it off and watch the film…which I wouldn’t have been able to do so easily if he had been a few rows in front of me.

I blame the fact televisions at home are getting bigger and cheaper. More people can afford a 42″ television nowadays, and so going to the cinema to see a film on the big screen isn’t as much a treat today as it was 15 years ago. When people had 14″ televisions the fact they could see a film on a huge screen was a novelty, and something people could sit and look at in awe. Now, it’s just a way to see a film before it’s out on DVD. Being able to watch it at home on a 42″ surround sound system is almost as good – so going to the cinema isn’t an experience anymore, and because of this a lot of people tend to treat the cinema as they would their living rooms.

This, I feel, is a real pity.

How to handle:
I will glare at someone where possible, and will happily turn in my seat to do so if they are behind me. If they are within leaning distance I will ask them to be quiet, as was the case with PSP boy above.

If they’re too far away it’s pretty pointless shouting at them from across the cinema, as this would tend to make the noise levels worse. You can only hope someone close to the offender is of the same opinions as yourself and that they will have words with them.

As mentioned above, I prefer cinemas that are not busy, so I will make attempts to see a film close to the end of it’s run at the cinema, and at times when a lot of people will not be there.

personalway and aworan are also bothered by this.

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  1. Pingback: public pooping

  2. Ania

    WTH? Some of thi shiit is true, but i think PDAs are kind of funy, as long as people arent rooting in public. And if i dont want to pick up dog poop, thats my problem. not yours. It cant bother you too much when you walk past some dog shit for about 2 sec? What is the problem.??
    Other than thaat, the rest are fully trur, especially the Thank You one and cinema one.

  3. sirlistalot

    Ania, the problem is that it’s just laying in the street. Sure, I do just walk past it and forget about it – but that’s assuming I avoid it. It’s easy to step into without noticing and that’s where the frustration is. I should be able to walk down the street without having to be on constant lookout for someone elses dog’s crap.

    The bigger frustration is when it happens in a park. These are public places where kids go to play and having a child fall over into it is not nice at all. Thus, you not picking up isn’t just your problem – it’s an issue for everyone.


  4. sara

    I agree with the dog poo. One day I didn’t have anything to pick up my puppies poo and felt bad about it. I normally had bags on me but I was dropped off away from home and was working my home from there lol. I ended up walking all the way back just to take care of it. Someone saw me walk back and pick it up and they were like why are you picking up someone elses dog poo? I said well cuz its my dogs poo and I think it is rude to leave it lay. They were so shocked that they gave my puppy a treat.

    As for PDA, I think there is a time and a place. If you really don’t know the time and place rule then maybe you should research it or get your head out of your bum. Not all people and children are used to that sort of custom. I for one think it is inappropriate, and that is coming from someone who is in the adult industry. America sucks already and people need to learn that this is supposed to be a free country, but you must respect others!! duh!!

  5. sirlistalot

    Sara – I’m so glad there are people like you who do care enough to take that little extra effort and clean up after your own dog. Unfortunately there are people that are rude and would leave it there without guilt; worse is that there are people who are ignorant and leave it simply because it doesn’t occur to them to pick it up. Hopefully people seeing you do this will follow your example.

    I’ve done my fair share of looking at adult related stuff via my line of work in the past (investigating adult websites for infringement) and so am not easily shocked by a lot of things; but I do agree there is a time and a place for being intimate and that’s why PDA made the list.


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