Being Grumpy

I’m a positive person. I pride myself on that. But there are times – there are times – when frustration sets in, and I need to vent. I’ve shared pet peeves with you in the past, but I’m revisiting them now. Do you agree with any? Do you have your own?

Woman texting while driving

First and worst, drivers texting. When someone darts out in front of you from a side street, then crawls along for a block before suddenly speeding up? Or when a driver slows on the highway, even weaves a little between lanes? You know that driver is using his phone for something that takes his eyes from the road. And urgency is fine. But put on a blinker and pull over, then text all you want. Or wait before barging out into traffic and holding up everyone while you do your thing.

Second, expiration dates. I understand dates on perishable items. They ensure that what I buy is fresh, and yes, once past the “Best by” date, milk begins to smell sour. But toothpaste? Vaseline? Underarm deodorant? Olive oil? Tea bags? Mustard? The temperature in my house is moderate year-round, and I store things in cupboards or the fridge. Does uncooked rice go bad? Pasta? Vacuum sealed pickles? Yet these have expiration dates, too.  Since my kids are watchdogs for what their kids eat, I regularly purge my shelves, tossing out what I consider to be perfectly good items. Does boxed mac ‘n cheese really go bad? I would give things like this to the local food pantry if it weren’t for that past date on the bottom. Are these dates for real?

Third, service “windows”. Lately, I’ve had dishwasher problems. The repair service gives me a half-day window, during which I’m expected to hang around. Oh, yes, they say they’ll call 30 minutes ahead of time. But what if you are a 45-minute drive from home? Or what if (as has happened multiple times) the service person calls when he is 10 or 15 minutes away. I understand the need for some kind of window, and don’t mind a two-hour one. But isn’t anything more than that a failure of “service”?

Breaking news. On tv. (Sigh.) Isn’t “news,” by definition, breaking? I also hate it when, repeatedly, a reporter uses the words “exclusive” or “reported first by us.” Or when reporters use bad grammar, which then perpetuates the badness.

Junk mail annoys me. Oh, I’ve gotten good at tossing it in the recycle bin on my way into the house.  Still, does my postman really need to break his back handling piles of unwanted — and unrequested — magazines?

Automated phone menus annoy me. Still.

Unsubscribe buttons that don’t work annoy me. Always.

Men who don’t return phone calls.  I’ve needed any number of plumbers, electricians, window people here before winter, and every woman for whom I’ve left a message has returned my call in a day.  None of the men did.  Why??????

I hate videos that automatically start, when all you want to do is to read an article.  And then when you can’t find which of the boxes on the screen is the one making the noise? Grrrr.

Am I right? Wrong? Just being a grump? What are your latest pet peeves?

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  1. Joan Piatt on September 30, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Oh, I so agree with you…and have one more gripe that bugs the you know what out of me….people who walk behind my car as I am backing up in a parking lot! I look both ways, check my mirrors, and then look both ways again. I slowly back up, and there is some joker walking right behind me…or driving right behind me. DRIVES ME CRAZY!!

    • Elaine Churchley on September 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

      I agree. Try driving a big rig, 53 foot trailer, and you have to take both lanes turning right and the 4-Wheeler’s are mad at you because they have to back up?? That is my pet peeve. Texting and driving are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. I’ve seen too many accidents that could of been avoided, it’s not always the truck driver’s fault..

    • Teresa Rice on December 8, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      YES to the jerks that walk behind us in the parking lots!! I wanted a back-up camera for my car SO badly this Christmas (the only yr one wasn’t made for my SUV), so I may get a new car, just to get one..:-) The people are everywhere!!

    • Teresa Rice on December 8, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      I SOOO want to agree about the junk mail (bulk business mail), but that helps pay my pension..:-)
      1/2 day windows are a royal pain in the butt!! I think once in my adult life has the repair man been at the beginning of that 1/2 day!
      You don’t even want to get me started about texting and driving!! I’m not coordinated to even TALK on my phone while driving (seriously), so my phone stays in my purse, period. Ya’ll don’t risk MY life while YOU text!!

  2. Jennifer James on September 30, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Barbara, I am with you on this issue. It seems we are annoyed by much the same things. Those videos that start automatically – so annoying! I recently found out that you can change your FB settings to stop that from happening on that site – not sure about other sites.

  3. Lynda on September 30, 2015 at 10:44 am

    News people saying “Of course”. Assuming knowledge of the audience is silly, and if we know it you shouldn’t have to tell us.

    Websites with pop-ups asking you to rate them the moment the wesite opens. Give me a chance to take a look!

    Robocalls. If i important I expect a person on the line. Don’t robocall me telling me it is important that I call back, especially using bad english in an automated voice.

  4. Connie Badstuebner on September 30, 2015 at 11:18 am

    First & foremost I love your books….and agree with all your peeves. I live in an area that has a lot of 2 lane highways that are windy & hilly and every few miles you will get a passing lane & some idiot has to get by you no matter how short the passing lane is……everyone wants the highway to themselves. I drive from Nova Scotia Canada to Long Island NY twice a year & all the crazy drivers I encounter almost makes you want to stop driving…..

  5. Janet Gorman on September 30, 2015 at 11:52 am

    A great resource to rid yourself of unwanted mail is It is a non-profit organization that lets you eliminate catalogs and junk mail. You have to set up a username and password then alphabetically identify which catalogs you no longer want to receive. Catalog Choice then contacts the companies and lets them know to remove your name from their mailing list. It works!

  6. Alene Dowd on September 30, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    About cell phones – why don’t people stay in their driveway or parking spot and make their call or text?? Is their time really that important that they have to risk their lives and the lives of others? So many times we’ve seen people leave their home only to get right on their cellphone.

  7. Carol J. Garvin on September 30, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    In BC, it’s illegal to drive with any hand-held device, so you’d think it wouldn’t be a problem. Not so. People still do it, so it’s doubly annoying. In this year of a federal election in Canada, one of my biggest pet peeves is the platform *promises* that everyone knows won’t be kept. I wish candidates were held accountable for their promises, so that they didn’t say things just because they knew the public wanted to hear them.

  8. Susan Edmondson on September 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Not turning on headlights on gray days or at dusk. Not using turn signals. Apologies that include the ohrase..IF I hurt (or offended ) anyone. That is not an apology.

  9. Cecelia on September 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I agree with your pet peeves. Voice Mail when you are trying to call a company or business is my biggest pet peeve. I know that I need a human being, and that is almost impossible. It took over ten minutes with one company. That was all their nonsense information which the human being asked for again, advertisements, giving me multiple choices none of which applied to me. Voice Mail is impossible and they have no way you can get to an “associate.” The other day I called a business and a real person answered immediately. They will get lots more of my business.

    • Lynne on October 1, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      I fully undrstand how everyone hates automated answering of the phone. I work for a company that gets a lot of phone calls and we answer all of them with a real person whenever possible. I love some of the interaction that I have with some of our customers. I get to know them and I think it is one of the reasons our company has a good reputation for customer service. I always try to be especially nice to wrong numbers. Sometimes those are the most interesting calls.

  10. Susanna on September 30, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Barbara, your pet peeves are mine, too…as well as many more. Here are a few: TV news reporters who are unprofessional. There is a young woman on one of the local stations here in CT who begins her report with “yeah”. We have just about given up on the news except for BBC. Another pet peeve is people who don’t use the correct there, their or they’re. Most “dry” foods such as rice & pasta have a very long shelf life and probably last longer than many marriages these days. I just love your books and still have great memories of meeting you in Mereditj many years ago.

  11. Nicole Spivey on September 30, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    I also hate when people pull out in front of me and then drive so slow that I have to ride with my foot on the brake.

    There are a variety of noises that drive me crazy. The worst is when I have to hear someone chewing on ice. I feel like crying and I want to be put out of my misery.

    Anyone that knows me knows that I love dogs. I think dogs are better than most people and my dogs are treated very well. When someone tries to tell me that it is just a dog I get very angry.

    When the satellite goes out during a baseball game.

  12. Elaine on September 30, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Oh you have all my pet peeves. I also hate internet suppliers that say they are the fastest and the best but I still get the worse service around. Plus they have service people that are rude. I hate it when I am watching a TV program and they will interrupted my TV program because the “NEW” is so “IMPORTANT”. But, if it is a Saturday or a Sunday when Football, Baseball or Basketball is on they will wait until the late night to put it on TV. Oh I have a million of them but I try to live with less stress. It is better for my blood pressure. So I find a quiet corner and read.

  13. June Bourgo on September 30, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    All of the above and when reporters report an incident and always need to label people. Like: “An UNEMPLOYED man was found murdered today”, or “The body of so and so was found in their RENTAL home today.” etc, etc. Isn’t it tragic enough that someone was murdered? Do we need to know they were unemployed or rented their house as opposed to owned it? Irks me anyway.

  14. Sharyn Polesel on October 1, 2015 at 8:11 am

    All of the above are on my list too. One that always pushes my button is people who spell my name wrong when it is correctly spelled right in front of them. It is very disrespectful.

  15. Jean Shahan on October 1, 2015 at 9:54 am

    having to press 1 for English, then gettig someone who speaks some language I can’t understand. Driving with no headlights in the fog/rain. Cars that don’t come with turn signals. Drive thru windows for “faster” service, yeah right. I always get behind someone who’s buying for the entire office. I work retail, so I get annoyed when customers are on their cell phone as I’m trying to ring them up. Commercials!!!!!! Especially those that repeat themselves. People who treat public restrooms as if they’ve never used one before. If you’re gonna squat, have the courtesy to cleap up after yourself. Flush! Oh I could go on and on.

  16. Sara-Patricia Mason Ekman on October 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I totally agree with all your pet peeves, every single one!

    And incidentally, I am so glad I discovered your writings. I have only read a few, but I’ve made a list and look forward to reading all of them. I hope I never catch up with you. Please keep writing, and know you are so, so enjoyed. Your insight into the human nature is fantastic.

  17. Donna on December 23, 2015 at 12:47 am

    People in public, (like the grocery store or an eating place) who are on a cell phone telling all the details in a loud voice. Some things need to be discussed in private not in public. Cell phones to me are very much abused. We lived for years without having to tell ever minor detail of our life right this minute. I don’t eat out often but when I do I resent my dinner being interrupted by someone else’s “drama”. Also telemarketers calling me even though I’m on the do not call list. I don’t pay for phone service to be at some companies beck and call. Folks who take up two parking spaces in a crowded parking lot. I’ll stop there! Thanks for letting us vent!

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