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Top 50 things British people complain about

Bad customer service, noisy neighbours and prolonged Brexit negotiations among most likely things to annoy people, survey claims 

Emma Elsworthy
Friday 28 December 2018 13:54 GMT
The average British person complains three times a day, according to survey
The average British person complains three times a day, according to survey (Getty iStock/ fizkes)

Prolonged Brexit negotiations and pedestrians who stare at their phones while they are walking have topped the list of the things British people are most likely to complain about, a survey claims.

Researchers who polled 2,000 adults found that the top 50 list also includes Wi-Fi not connecting, supermarket self-service tills and feeling "overworked'.

The research also revealed that British people complain three times a day on average.

One in six said they are most likely to complain in the morning, with traffic during their commute cited as their main worry.

And one third said they complain less at the weekend.

Geoffrey Dennis of the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad, which commissioned the research, said: “Most people in the UK acknowledge that they complain about trivial matters on a regular basis.

“When we’re used to modern conveniences like Wi-Fi, home deliveries and air conditioning, it can be easy to forget that others have to deal with far greater problems every day.

“For people in Britain, everyday problems can seem like the end of the world – and most of us are guilty of complaining about things like bad weather, traffic or people pushing to the front of queues.''

The study also found that many British people prefer to complain in private, with 45 per cent waiting until they’re home before they voice their concerns.

One in five of the survey's respondents said that there is a stereotype of "moaning British people".

But one fifth said they tend to block out others who moan about their "first world problems".

Around four in 10 respondents said they complain more now than they did as children, and half said they feel better after "getting things off their chest".

More than half agreed that there are far more "moaners" today than there used to be.

But some respondents said that complaining works, with four in ten having received money off their restaurant bill after making a complaint.

One in four people agreed that if they complain enough about the price of things, then something will eventually be done about it.

However, almost half of the survey's respondents said they could go a whole day without complaining.

Mr Dennis added: “These kinds of inconveniences are so minor compared to the problems faced by many people and animals in the world’s poorest communities.

“Working animals in developing countries never complain, but they have every right to.

"These horses, donkeys and camels endure incredibly hard lives, carrying backbreaking loads in punishing conditions, without the food, water, rest and vital vet care they need.”

“In developing countries, many working animals have to walk huge distances, pulling heavy loads across difficult terrain, working in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius.

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“These animals often have no veterinary treatment available to them when they are sick or injured.

''That’s why SPANA’s work is so important – preventing suffering and ensuring these hardworking animals receive the care they so urgently need.”

Top 50 things British people complain about:

1. Bad customer service

2. Getting cold called / calls from unknown numbers

3. People pushing into queues

4. Being too cold

5. Waiting in for a delivery that doesn't turn up

6. Sitting in traffic

7. Wi-Fi not connecting

8. Litter and fly-tipping

9. The British weather

10. Being too hot

11. Noisy neighbours

12. Lateness

13. Public transport being late

14. Lack of car parking spaces

15. The behaviour of teenagers and children

16. People who walk along staring at their phones

17. Spam emails - including GDPR opt-ins

18. Receiving a "we missed you" card from a parcel courier

19. Door-to-door salespeople

20. Supermarket self-service tills

21. Brexit negotiations

22. Having no phone signal

23. New shoes that give you blisters

24. Never being able to get a doctor's appointment

25. Being hungry

26. People who don't hold doors open

27. Noisy eaters

28. People cancelling plans last minute

29. Someone parking outside your house in your 'space' / blocking your driveway

30. Having a runny nose

31. The lack of funding for the NHS

32. Hidden charges, such as airline baggage fees

33. Running out of phone battery

34. When a shop doesn't have your size in something you want

35. Discovering you are sitting behind a tall person at a concert

36. Forgetting plastic bags for shopping

37. Returning to work after holiday

38. Being overworked

39. Having to stand on public transport

40. The clocks changing / going to work in the dark in winter

41. Expensive holiday prices during school holidays

42. Getting caught in the rain without an umbrella

43. Bad hair days

44. The price of clothes

45. House prices

46. Arriving at the dentist on time to find out they are running late

47. Leaving home without your phone


49. Someone spilling something on your carpet

50. Getting a bad haircut


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