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Top 10 Very British Problems

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Kimberley Payne
So many problems, so little time! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 ‘Very British Problems’. For this list we’ve looked at everyday issues, annoyances, fears, worries and anxieties that only British people will truly understand. Grab yourself a brew and let’s get started. Special thanks to our user Emily Hepworth for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 ‘Very British Problems’

So many problems, so little time! Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 ‘Very British Problems’.

For this list we’ve looked at everyday issues, annoyances, fears, worries and anxieties that only British people will truly understand. Grab yourself a brew and let’s get started.

#10: The British Summer Time

The second it becomes even a little bit hotter in Britain, everything changes. Everyone wants a barbecue, everyone wants a paddling pool and everyone wants to take off most of their clothes - at any given opportunity. Failing that, we head straight to the nearest beer garden, or picnic table and parasol. In general, if the sun’s out, we’re out. Problem is, high summer in these parts can last anywhere from two hours to two months. And if you do plan a BBQ, you can bet some freak thunderstorm will arrive mid-afternoon to ruin the party.

#9: Jaffa Cakes

The humble Jaffa Cake is a staple in most British households. Trouble is, it’s almost impossible to eat them without quoting an advert or getting into an age-old debate. Because who can say they don’t still find themselves contemplating lunar cycles while eating these things? The “full moon, half-moon, total eclipse” tagline will simply never disappear. But the big question is this: Do these sweet treats belong in the cake or the biscuit family? The name says cake, but they live alongside biscuits in most major supermarkets. On what side of the debate do you stand? Answers in the comments section!

#8: The Ice Cream Van

Ah, the cheerful sound of the ice cream van, prompting kids to plead with their parents for a rocket lolly, cornetto or the classic 99. The adults themselves are often thrown into crisis though, debating whether (at their age) it’s still socially acceptable for them to run from their front doors screaming for a Solero. It totally is, by the way. One weird downside though, is that these things routinely show up at really irregular times. Saturday, midday in the middle of summer - nothing. Thursday, 11 a.m. in the dead of winter - the jingle kicks in, leaving us to question the absurdity of life.

#7: Free Samples

No one’s opposed to getting free stuff. Whether it’s samples to promo a new product at the supermarket, or a free taster of the newest tipple at your local bar. But once the initial excitement is over, the awkwardness sets in - as whoever offered you the sample tries to sell you a year’s worth of the stuff. You don’t want to be judged for ‘trying and not buying’, but you don’t really want to actually purchase anything either. It’s time to make your excuses, leave, and feel bad about it afterwards.

#6: The 5 a.m. Airport Pint

Unwritten rule number one: Your holiday starts the second you set foot inside the airport. It doesn’t matter how early your flight is, or how clearly you crave a standard breakfast of toast and coffee - you must start as you mean to go on… With the fullest of full Englishes and a nice cold pint of whatever’s on tap. Who cares that you’ll be travelling for the next five hours? Or that it’s still dark outside? Buy beer. Take photo. Post on social media. It’s the three step rule to guaranteed fun. Obviously. Maybe. Probably not, but we do it anyway.

#5: No, After You!

As overly polite Brits, the simple use of doors can make for really awkward situations. There’s rules to follow, people! Even if no one’s really that sure what those rules are. When’s the right time to hold the door open for someone? And how long is too long before you’ve actually made it more inconvenient than it otherwise would’ve been? And what if there are multiple doors? There are only so many variations of “thank you”, “cheers” and “much obliged”, after all. And don’t even get us started on door etiquette in the lift. More often than not, we’ll just take the stairs.

#4: Proving We Are NOT Thieves

It’s kind of natural to worry at least a little bit about what other people think of you… And no one wants to be deemed a law-breaker… Especially when you’re definitely doing no such thing! Popping into the shop, having a browse, but not actually buying anything is a particular problem for some. Because obviously everyone else immediately assumes you’re a shoplifter. Well, no one assumes that, but you feel as though they must do. Putting petrol in your car is another cause for irrational concern. Best jog to the kiosk so they’re definitely aware that you intend to pay for your fuel, eh.

#3: The Price of Freddos

We all know that inflation happens, prices go up and people moan about it. But some things are just to sacred, and the Freddo is everyone’s favourite fall guy, offering failsafe proof that the economy has gone to the dogs. A favourite treat for ‘90s kids everywhere, there was a time when they cost but a single ten pence piece - and that’s plain or caramel. Nowadays, the original chocolate frog costs an eye-watering 25p - or more! And here’s the real sickener - the bar itself is even smaller than it used to be. More money + Less Freddo = Riots on the streets!

#2: Milk First?

What’s more frustrating than the go-to cultural cliche of tea drinking, in general? The ongoing debate on exactly how to brew the perfect cuppa. It’s obviously teabag first, but for some it’s milk then water… For others it’s water then milk. And it’s more than just a personal preference, too. Historically speaking, the way you made your tea was supposedly indicative of your social status - with the wealthier folk opting for water first, because their higher quality china could withstand the boiling temperature. But, as long as there’s biscuits, does it really matter??

#1: Text and Email Etiquette

While we Brits have embraced communication technology just as adequately as everyone else, there are some pitfalls - mostly because dry, emotionless sarcasm doesn’t translate all that well into acronyms or emojis. And if it isn’t friendly chit-chat that’s causing us to over-analyse, it’s the ins, outs and unknowable nuances of the formal email. Because few things match the internal pressure we feel when trying to write a message to our boss, prospective boss, or in fact anyone who’s not in our immediate circle of close friends and family - for fear of being misunderstood. Call us over-sensitive if you will. Irrational, if you please. But for everyone’s sake, just make your meaning clear. And do not, under any circumstances, sign off with an ambiguous smiley face.

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