What Annoys You the Most? Consumer Reports Surveys Americans' Annoyances

Americans must hate paying their utility bills because the two most popular gripes among adults in this country have to do with the kind of experiences folks have when they call their cell phone or cable service provider. Hidden fees and the inability to get a human being on the phone are Americans' top two annoyances, according to a new survey conducted by Consumer Reports.

Read the full survey HERE.

In today's fast-paced, technology driven, spam filled society, Americans have plenty to be annoyed with. So what are the top things that irk Americans' nerves? That's the question that Consumer Reports wanted to find out when it conducted a national telephone survey of adults aged 18 and up. The popular ratings and recommendations magazine and Web site is out with its "Top Gripes: What Bugs America Most" survey at newsstands Dec. 1 and online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Most noticeably, Consumer Reports' survey found there are certain things that annoy women more than men, Democrats more than Republicans, older people more than younger people and people who live in urban areas more than people who live in rural areas.

Americans' Annoyances Run Deep

Coming in third in the Consumer Reports survey behind hidden fees and not getting a human on the phone was tailgating, followed by cell phone use by drivers and incomprehensible bills. Rounding out the top ten: dog poop, unreliable Internet service, discourteous cell phone use, waiting for repair people and spam.

Political talk shows annoy more Democrats than Republicans, according to the survey. Respondents who identified themselves as Democrats were more annoyed than Republicans by television and radio programs during which people often end up shouting their opinions.

The survey says women were significantly more irritated than men by 11 of the 21 choices. Having to remember passwords and PINs, speeding drivers, and products that shrink on volume but still cost the same were among the things that ticked off the women surveyed more than men.

There were eight choices that people older than 50 were more annoyed with than younger folks, Consumer Reports says. Some of the complaints by people over 50 involved technologies that were not around two decades ago. Among the eight most popular annoyances of the 50 and older crowd: discourteous cell phone use, e-mail spam, and cell phone use while driving.

Residents of densely populated urban areas were more annoyed by unscooped dog poop than rural residents, the survey found. One note from the survey that's sure to surprise many -- especially given Americans' long fascination with jokes about weather forecasting being way off the mark -- "inaccurate weather forecasts" had the lowest mean score of the 21 gripes Consumer Reports asked Americans to score.

The Report's Methodology

This isn't the first time that Consumer Reports has tried to gauge the things that bother Americans. The magazine recently listed the top gripes about retail practices. Stores that don't open all the checkout lanes, fake sales and coupons that exclude almost everything in the store were the top three things. http://blogs.consumerreports.org/money/2009/11/top-holiday-gripes-consumerist-consumer-reports.html

Consumer Reports calls its survey of what annoys Americans most "nationally representative." The magazine and Web site says it conducted the survey by asking 1,125 in late September to score the 21 annoyances it listed on a 1-to-10 scale, 1 being an experience that does not annoy and 10 meaning it annoys tremendously.

ABC News' polling director Gary Langer called the survey "stupid, but acceptable methodologically." Langer notes the survey is not really an assessment of the things that bug American most. "It's an order-ranking of the 21 items that were listed," he said. "There may be many other items that bug people more – foolish polls, for example – but that were not tested by Consumer Reports."

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