Yep, you know the ones… Grouchy Michael Hogan lists the most infuriating space invaders blighting a town near you
No, we do not want to know what you’re having for tea, Dom Joly
The slow walker
When you’re in a hurry, you can guarantee a dawdler will block your path with their painfully tardy progress. It’s like a human has been genetically spliced with an arthritic tortoise. Try to dodge around them and they drift to one side, cutting you up. Say ‘excuse me’ and they’ll grunt or glare, like you’re the weirdo here. Sometimes they suddenly stop dead in the middle of the pavement, causing you to rear-end them. How do they ever get anywhere at that speed? Any politician who introduces slow and fast lanes for pedestrians gets our vote.
The distracted sales assistant
Don’t mind us. We’re just standing here, trying in vain to catch your eye so we can give you some money and help pay your wages. But you just carry on gossiping, retouching your make-up or checking your phone. It’s not like ‘assisting with sales’ is in your actual job title. Oh, hang on.
The beauty rep
Orange-faced and totally tactless, they march up to you in department stores, spraying perfume in your face without warning, then recommending products for ‘tired, ageing skin’. Gee, thanks. Now I feel like a million dollars and smell like a pants drawer.
That’s charity muggers to you and me, who lull you into a false sense of security with their jovial patter, politely asking for ‘a minute of your time’, before making it more like ten minutes as they guilt-trip you into taking out ‘a small monthly direct debit’ to save an endangered species of fruit fly. Even if you dodge them or tactfully decline, there’s another lying in wait further down the street. It’s a philanthropic minefield out there.
The brolly basher
The second there’s a spot of rain, up go the enormous golfing umbrellas, nearly taking your eye out. As long as your precious hair doesn’t get damp, love, my facial wounds are of no concern.
The cashpoint ponderer
Don’t mind the long, tutting, foot-shuffling queue forming behind you, buddy. You check your balance, have a think, then press the buttons at painstakingly slow pace. Then, just when we think you’ve finished, fumble another card out from your wallet and start the whole process again. No rush. All the time in the world…
The pushchair pest
Sure, parents are allowed to shop too. But do they have to do it with such massive prams, like they’re manoeuvring a 4×4 Jeep up and down the aisles? Sometimes two or three abreast, hogging the entire pavement, with extra kids trailing behind on buggy boards and scooters? It’s like a pint-sized, tantrum-prone traffic jam.
The sickly vaper
You’re walking along, minding your own olfactory business, when you’re suddenly enveloped in a billowing cloud of e-cigarette smoke – usually in some vile infantilised flavour such as ‘bubblegum’, ‘apple butter’ or ‘cookies ’n’ cream’. Nauseating.
The ungrateful door git
People who don’t say thanks when you hold a shop door open for them? Monsters!
The phone talker
They have no volume control and no shame as they yap loudly into their phone about some work tedium or what they ate for breakfast. ‘Hello? Can you hear me now? That’s better. You’ve gone again. Hello?’ Shut. The Hell. Up. You’re not even fully convinced there’s anyone on the other end. Almost as bad: the hands-free mumbler who you think is talking to you but instead just looks insane.
The selfie poser
Doing it for the ’Gram, are we, babes? We bet you’ll get loads of likes for that trout pout on the bus or that peace-sign outside TK Maxx. Now kindly get out of my way, you cut-price Kim Kardashian.
‘I wasn’t going to look at you twice but now you’ve shouted “Cheer up love, it might never happen” from a white van, I’m definitely going to have sex with you immediately,’ said literally nobody ever.
The sinister security guard
He might be loitering by the door of Tesco Metro today but tomorrow he could be a Hollywood action star. That’s probably why he’s trying to look hard and moody. Stand down, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, we’re not going to nick anything.
The litter lout
How often we’ve fantasised about running after antisocial litterbugs and ramming their rubbish down their throats. They drop coffee cups and let food wrappers fall to the floor. They spit out gum and throw cigarette butts out of car windows. Take it home with you or bin it, you morons!
The shouty market stallholder
He waits until you’re just walking past before bellowing something in your ear about ‘beautiful tomatoes’ or ‘everything’s a pound’. Mate, you’re in a suburban precinct, not Albert Square. Stop perforating our eardrums with your racket.
Sorry, are we keeping you up? This yawning, bottom-scratching lazybones slouches to the shops in pyjama trousers, Ugg boots and a hoodie with a logo proclaiming ‘Not a morning person’. No s***, Sherlock.