Deborah Durbin

Journalist, Author, Freelance Writer

Things That Piss Me Off!

Oh there are so many things that piss me off on a near daily basis, so I thought I would share them with you. If you are of a sensitive disposition or offended easily, do yourself a favour and look away. I make no apologies if you get upset - that's you're problem, not mine...

So, I’m a 40-something-woman and as a consequence have had my fair share of time to rack up a lot of things that piss me off, so I thought I would make a list, if only to make myself feel better – hey, it’s cheaper than therapy, right?

#1.. People questioning what I eat…

I’ve spent a long time (probably about 18 years or so) eating what was put in front of me and sprinkling vinegar over boiled cabbage, just to disguise the disgusting taste that attacked my taste buds every tea time. I’m now a grown woman and guess what? I can now choose what to put in my gob and what not to…or can I?

Well, apparently not. I’m constantly made to feel like a freak for not drinking tea or coffee, not liking green vegetables, not eating breakfast and, god forbid, drinking copious amounts of cola during the day!

I have friends who literally ask me what I’ve eaten that day and make tut-tutting noises if a granola bar hasn’t passed my lips at least once in a 24 hour period. WTF? I really couldn’t give a toss what other people consume, unless of course they are unwilling to share a box of Milk Tray with me.

What is with this obsession of thinking that because you eat broccoli and emit an aroma of a classroom full of farty seven year olds at the end of the day, that you are so much better than I? I’ve even resorted to telling people that I’ve had a salad for lunch, when I’ve actually consumed a family-size box of chicken nuggets from KFC. And you know what? You’d think I’d won a Nobel prize! They gush at what a hero I am for eating leaves and question whether I had red or green peppers in said salad – knowing full well I hate both!

It’s not like I’m a huge mama with several chins and more rolls of fat than Mama June, pre-op. I’m an average sized woman, but even if I was someone who had to roll out of bed with the aid of the fire brigade, what the fuck has it to do with anyone else?

So to those of you who insist on analysing every morsel that passes my lips; sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you are not immortal and no amount of asparagus tips are going to make you so. Eat what you want, when you want and let the rest of us do the same. That will stop me being pissed off – thank you!

#2…The Recycling Nazis…

I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve succumbed to wasting hours of my life washing out and sorting my tins from my plastic bottles, glass from my general household waste, only to discover that the recycling team at North Somerset Council (yes, I am naming and shaming!) take it upon themselves to decide what is recyclable and what isn’t, even if it categorically states on the label that it is! They even manage to fuck up emptying the large black bins we’re instructed to fill with ‘non-recyclable’ waste. Once a fortnight, for the love of god! It’s not like it’s a daily challenge, and yet they still can’t manage to empty the whole bin, leaving a bag with a soggy bottom Mary Berry would be proud of in the bin to fester for the next 14 days!

And then of course there is the trip to the tip! Today for example, I happily trundled off in my minivan to dispose of some rubbish from renovating my bathroom. Not one to follow the rules often, I duly applied for a van licence and waited patiently for two weeks for it to arrive, so that I can legally take my van on to the site. Drove up there today only to be told by a high-viz official (how come the mere putting on of a high-viz vest turns you into a twat?) that vans were not permitted on a Sunday and to come back the next day. FFS! So how come the transit van in front of me was allowed in then? Did he sneak in pretending to be a Ford Focus?

Why the fuck am I paying North Somerset Council £1870.62 a year if I have to dispose of the rubbish myself?

And that’s another thing ….just because you have nothing better to do than to waste hours sorting your recycling bins, it does not make you a superhero. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.

#3…Other people’s kids…


Truth be told, we all hate other people’s kids, right? But we daren’t say anything because as mothers we all share the same thing; our wombs housed our little darlings for nine months until we all experienced the agonising, but worthwhile pain (?), of emitting a small human into the world, right?

Bollocks! Just because we can all identify with cracked nipples, the body that will never be the same again and sleep deprivation for at least the next 10 years, does not mean I want to join the Stork’s Club, that meets every Wednesday morning at Costa and force my child to play with yours. Just because the only thing we have in common is that they were born two weeks apart and we have a common interest in Bio Oil in a bid to fade those harrowing stretch marks on our bodies.

Yes, we all think our children are little miracles, but the truth is, other people’s children are pains in the arse. We tolerate their friends coming over for ‘play dates’ (didn’t we use to call that just plain old playing?), sleepovers, fully expecting to have to return them to their own home at midnight due to a disagreement over whether Ken should do the decent thing and marry Barbie.

There’s a child in my street, probably about seven, who has taken a dislike to me. Every time I drive past his house he sticks the middle finger up at me. I’m at the stage now where I try to get in there first – hey, if he’s old enough to know how to gestate with the middle finger, he’s old enough to take it and besides, he started it. Little shit!

So no, I’m sorry but just because my kids go to the same school, club, college as yours, I do not like yours and neither do I want to hang out with you at the park, Costa or any other such venue, thank you – and neither do I want to come to your kid’s birthday BBQ where you serve me undercooked burgers and I spend the next three days shitting myself, thanks very much!


#4…Receptionists…Bank Clerks…etc

If there is one collective group guaranteed to piss me off it’s the receptionist. I’m sure if you’re a receptionist and reading this, you’re a very nice person, but if not, you might learn a few things of what pisses the general public off regarding your line of work.

Firstly, is it really necessary to look down your nose at people when they deign to come to your desk to ask for information? And what is it with that glare that you do over your glasses? Something that you learned in how-to-be-a-snotty-receptionist class? 

The receptionists’ at my local doctor’s surgery must be secretly qualified to diagnose whether you are in enough pain to warrant a doctor or nurse – yes, I agree, a mere snotty nose could well be a simple cold that can be treated with Paracetamol, but on the other hand… In my mind, unless someone has been to medical school for at least four years and gained a qualification in the sniffles, let’s let the doctor decide whether it’s important or not, hey?

Then we have the bank teller/clerk, or whatever they call themselves these days. I pay thousands of pounds into my business account every week at my local Santander bank and every week I’m greeted with a telling off for not using the ATM to pay cheques in. Well I would, if they bloody well worked once in a while! Last week the queue for the machines was politely spewing out of the doors and there was not one customer at the desk, despite there being three staff stationed there. Rather than joining the queue, I went up to the desk, only to be told that I should really use the ATM. WTF? Have you seen the queue? I wouldn’t mind if the bank clerk was up to her eyes in pounds coins, but she wasn’t; she was busy picking her nails!

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if there was a school for receptionists/bank staff who were courteous, well-mannered and well, just plain nice, instead of glary pains in the ass?

#5…You Rang...Why?

If you call me, I’m assuming you want to talk to me about something – right? So how come I spend an inordinate amount of time listening to a running commentary of someone a) feeding their baby, (here comes the train, woo-woo…WTF?), or in hot pursuit of their dog, (shouting, ’Fred, get back here, now!), or listening to someone having a conversation with someone other than me?

If you’re going to phone me for a chat, then please, by all means chat – to me. I have better things to do than to listen to the person at the other end of the phone doing something other than talk to me. I've even had someone phone me whilst on the loo - no, I don't wish to hear you taking a shit, thank you.

I’ve spent 30 minutes before listening to someone try to set up their new phone and mumbling things like, ‘hummm…press OK…press yes….’ My time is no more important than anyone else’s – but it is more important than having to listen to a load of crap that doesn’t even concern me. If you’re going to call me, talk to me. If someone else comes into the room, mid-conversation, and they are more important than talking to me, hang up and call me back. I don’t need to listen to you having a debate about who did what with someone else. I also don’t need to know what’s currently happening on social media – I can find out that shit myself, if I want to. Neither do I need to know the headlines in the press – again, I am quite capable of buying a newspaper and reading it myself – thanks.



Otherwise known as getting hold of the shitty end of the stick! This is one major thing that pisses me off – people assuming things without getting their facts right. We all go through life with the usual, ‘oh I just assumed…’ bollocks, because people don’t have the intelligence to think that there could be a completely justifiable reason you’re doing something. Sometimes though, people can get hold of an iron bar, thinking it’s a stick.

I remember one incident when I was a teenager, walking across the bridge in my village, trying to get the last few crumbs out of a cheap white bag of crisps - we couldn't afford Walkers. My best friend’s mother drove past and the next thing I knew, I was banned from ever seeing him again because the stupid cow ‘assumed’ I was glue sniffing! I’ve had a neighbour ‘assume’ that I was a (in her words) ‘desperate housewife’ and was shocked to know that I was in fact a highly respected journalist. I’ve had people ‘assume’ I was a single-mum because my husband had to work rather than attend stupid village fetes and school productions.

The saying, ‘never judge a book by its cover’ seems to wash over people. My solution to all the assumers is to wind them up, knowing that they are the ones that are going to look like complete twats when they realise their assumptions were just a load of made-up bollocks!

#7…Bad Manners….

I was always bought up with the saying, ‘you’ll get far in life with manners’, and ‘if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.’ This philosophy however, seems to pass many by. So far this week, I’ve been told I constantly smell of white spirit (I renovate properties – what the fuck do you expect?), questioned why I consume litres of cola (errr… because I’m a grown woman and can eat or drink what I fucking well like!) and general put-downs from people I’ve known all my life.

I work with a man who constantly smells of a cross between quavers and garlic – do I say anything to him about his lack of hygiene? No, because I have manners and it’s not polite to point out someone else’s bad shit. An ex-boyfriend of mine once told me I’d given him a cold – I didn’t even have a fucking cold - hence why he’d became an ex and the fact that he’d been sleeping with someone else, who had given him said cold…and an STD.

To all of you who want to pass your own judgement on to others, you also have to then be prepared to accept the not so good bits about yourself that many people won’t actually tell you. And yes, I did tell the man in question he smells like he works in the cheese and garlic department of a crisp factory!

#8...Being Ripped Off....

Well obvs, no one likes to feel they've been ripped off, but I seem to have an aura that says, 'rip me off by all means, why don't you?' Working in a male-dominated industry - and being born blonde and minus a penis, often results in me being a prime target to be ripped off, I know right. 

Now, I'm not saying that ALL tradesmen are in the habit of ripping their customers off, but in my experience of being in the business of renovating properties I've had a plumber charge me for parts that weren't part of my job - and then he kindly damaged the boiler I had bought, resulting in me paying twice for said boiler and therefore ripping me off to the tune of £1800.

I've had another plumber charge me twice for one job, then fuck off half way through the job, leaving me to find another company to fix his cock-ups.

Now you might be thinking, ah, does she just have a problem with plumbers? Is she plumberist maybe? Well no, I've had builders who have turned up high as a kite, still bollocked from the night before, or just haven't turned up, or if they have, they've done two hours then had to 'pick 'little un' up'.

I've had a builder who seemed to be so allergic to an actual days' work that he kept shitting himself. Oh, and more recently I've had a builder rip me off to the tune of several thousand pounds of my budget, claiming it was for 'unexpected expenses'. He then decided to threaten me - via text message - I know right! I doubt very much that he will ever get into MENSA.

I toyed with the idea of naming and shaming, but they know who they are and karma is a bitch, but also a girl's best friend.

Thankfully, by way of a balance, I have encountered some really lovely tradespeople - these however are usually the ones that work for a big company, with good morals, ethics and a professional attitude. Not a soul-trader with a hand-painted logo on his Transit claiming 'no job too small'.

A lesson learned, dear reader - don't trust a tradesperson who turns up wearing tracky bottoms and stinking of shit and booze - it won't bode well!.

#9 ....automated tills...

You know the ones - designed to make life in the supermarket quicker and more efficient. Err hello? They actually don't! I am so acquainted with the words, 'unexpected item in the bag' that I should be sleeping with it! 

There you are, just finished work and picking up a bar (large, I might add) of Lindt for your tea and it takes 23 minutes of your life to get the bastard barcode to scan, then your red light flashes to tell a cashier that you have a problem. Said cashier takes another seven minutes to waddle over in a bored-like manner to the till and flash her fancy card over the scanner, by which time you're salivating over her arm shouting, 'just give me the fucking chocolate will you!'.

Random idea, but why not just have more real peeps on the tills? I know, I just threw it out there! It would save people like me from telling the machine to fuck off and having to be escorted out of Sainsburys every evening!






My New Book, The Real Gypsy Guide to Fortune Telling is out in April!

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