The Hate List – Volume 17

(Originally published on 1st August, 2012)

  1. Trying to spread chilled butter on cold toast.
  2. The inexplicable fluff you get in an old jar of instant coffee granules.
  3. Pillows which are too thick, so that while one isn’t thick enough on its own, two are way too thick.
  4. Escalators which have a handrail moving at a slightly different speed to the steps, so that if you try to lean against it, you end the ride slanted crazily across two or three steps.
  5. When, laden with boxes, you have to open a door with a security keypad, and with a struggle you eventually manage to hold everything precariously with one arm and free the other to type in the entry code, and as you apply the pressure to type the first digit, the door clicks shut from where it had been resting on the latch.
  6. DVDs with unskippable trailers and anti-piracy propaganda. Film distributors, here’s a top tip: if you want people to consume the legitimate media, don’t make it an infinitely more annoying ordeal to watch than the illegitimate stuff.
  7. People who don’t understand that when you have two people ranked in joint position, the next number in that ranking is skipped. Example: “1st place, John. Joint 2nd place, Suzie and Dave. 3rd place, Paul.” No, Paul is in fourth place. There were three people who were better than him. He is the fourth best competitor.
  8. Use of the word “catalyst” instead of “cause” or “trigger”.
  9. Use of the word “post” as a synonym for “after”. Look, I don’t mind it being used as a prefix (though it’s probably overused as one already). You can have your post-launch parties: I don’t care. But don’t tell me you’re going to do something “post the launch party.” From now on, whenever you hear someone misuse “post” you should hit them with a post. Or nail them to one. Or enact some other piece of brutality involving a post. Whatever works for you, as long as they stop doing it, after post punishment.
  10. Use of the word “pre” as a synonym for “before”. I propose a similar punishment scheme for pre-abusers as for post-abusers, but since there isn’t a solid object called a “pre”, just hit them with the posts as well.
  11. The fact that every time I phone Eon I’m told they’re “experiencing an unusually high volume of calls”. I’m not sure which annoys me more: that it happens every time, because they’ve underresourced the call centres, and so it’s a blatant and deliberate lie; or that telephone calls ARE NOT MEASURED BY VOLUME.
  12. Other things being talked about as “volumes” which aren’t measured by volume, like business owners describing how the volume of customers has dropped. The only organisations which should be discussing volumes of people are genocidal bureaucracies which have to logistically plan for the number of truckloads of bodies to be transported to the incinerators. Anyone else who uses “volume” in this way deserves to be on those trucks.
  13. The series of infantile fashion trends of recent years, all rehabilitations of clothes that we last wore as school children: first polo shirts, then plimsolls, then cardigans, and now shirts buttoned up to the collar with no tie, and excessively tight boys’ shorts.
  14. When a “pie” is cooked by baking a stew in a ceramic dish, and serving it with a separate piece of puff pastry.
  15. When meat is served with “stuffing” which has never been stuffed inside that meat, but cooked separately in a dish. The whole point of stuffing is that it keeps the meat moist, while absorbing its flavour during cooking. Eating dry, separately-cooked stuffing is like eating a hamster’s nest or the contents of a shredder bin.
  16. Garden centres which sell plant pots in sets of three, and their corresponding saucers in sets of five.
  17. Mousemats with visual designs on them. Ten years ago they were a perfectly harmless marketing vehicle. Now we live in an age of optical mice, which are confused by sudden changes in colour and pattern. You know how your mouse doesn’t work properly because the cursor keeps jumping about the screen? It’s not the mouse, it’s the freebie corporate mouse mat you grabbed at a careers fair. Burn it.
  18. Attending a training course on which a sixty-year-old man tries to demonstrate how to use a website, but keeps missing the links, clicking confusedly on unlinked text, and when he does finally hone in on a link, clicks it six or seven times in quick succession before it has a chance to load.
  19. People who ask questions at the end of a talk, which aren’t relevant to the talk given, and which are intended purely to show off how clever the asker thinks he is.
  20. Representations of snowflakes which give them eight points. It’s amazing how common this is, especially when every five year old child knows a snowflake has six points and can draw you an instantly recognisable picture of one.
  21. The very concept of “business values” – the sheer brazen deceit of any large company which pretends it has any values other than “make money at everyone else’s expense”.
  22. HSBC’s “world’s local bank” conceit. That British people expect you to empty the plate and Japanese people expect you to leave some food may be true but it’s irrelevant to consumer banking. A more important cultural quirk which HSBC have overlooked is that British people also traditionally expect a bank to provide a high level of customer service, by employing human beings within each branch to talk to you and provide assistance with your banking needs.
  23. Texaco’s misunderstanding of the word “premium”. In case you weren’t aware, Texaco’s “Premium” brand is their standard 95-octane petrol. They have another higher-octane brand called something else. Which is their premium brand. Premium is their non-premium brand. Well done Texaco marketers, you’ve just flattened yet another perfectly good English word into a meaningless mush with your corporate shitbollocks.
  24. The PR stunt about Scrabble allowing proper nouns. Competition rules haven’t changed, Scrabble dictionaries haven’t changed, the game of Scrabble you play at home doesn’t have to change. The only thing which happened was that Mattel released a special edition version of the game, in which the rules allowed you to play proper nouns. They managed to pull off two annoying PR tricks at once: a) getting people to buy a game which is essentially the same as one which they already have, and b) getting the media to give them loads of free advertising for it.
  25. Probiotic yoghurts. The need to top yourself up with bacteria is one of the most brainless ideas ever sold to us by marketers. There may well be ‘good’ bacteria living in our gut, helping our digestion. But here’s something bacteria are really good at: multiplying themselves. It’s their most famous talent. They can top themselves up perfectly well on their own, without more being added in via the medium of yoghurt. Also, your gut presumably has some kind of regulatory mechanism, or even the ‘good’ bacteria would be running rampant. There are only two conceivable consequences of interfering with that mechanism by introducing extra bacteria, ‘good’ or otherwise: either nothing happens, or something bad does. Luckily for idiots, studies suggest it’s the former.
  26. East Coast trains – having to trek past about two miles’ worth of empty first class carriages to reach the cramped standard carriages, in which one out of a hundred seats isn’t reserved and people are sitting on their luggage in the corridors and doorways.
  27. Politicians’ weasel phrases, number 1: When defending themselves against a charge of, for example, being corrupt, they’ll make a lesser admission like, “I am guilty of an error of judgment,” hoping you don’t notice that the “error” was judging it a good idea to be corrupt. And then following up that judgment by being corrupt.
  28. Politicians’ weasel phrases, number 2: When accused of wrong-doing, they’ll admit, “I allowed a perception of wrong-doing to develop.” Yes, by indulging in wrong-doing.
  29. Politicians’ weasel phrases, number 3: A favourite of Cameron and Clegg when trying to propose unpopular, regressive policies while maintaing a liberal, progressive facade (like the snoopers’ charter to monitor all internet communications), is to say, “I think it’s right we should have a debate about x.” We ARE having a debate about it, right now. So stop saying that your opinion regarding x is to have a debate about it: you’ve already achieved that, and it’s not even an opinion. Tell us what you actually want regarding x.
  30. Rebranding consultants. Given that every time a major company or organisation rebrands anything, it results in public outcry and an unmitigated PR disaster, the only decent advice rebranding consultants should ever give is “don’t rebrand”. And then “stab me through the chest repeatedly with this rusty knife”.

2 thoughts on “The Hate List – Volume 17

  1. Re 17.9.
    Tom, this not only made me laugh while reading, and agree strongly with your point, but then, utterly unexpected, made me cry with laughter at its final clause. Just didn’t see it coming. A stroke of comic excellence. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *