The Ten Worst Contributors To British Life

Thanks to The Foundation for this one –  the 10 products and services that have contributed the least to Britons’ lives over the last decade:

Ranking            Product/service                                      Negative score (/300)

1                        Reality TV                                                                 94


2                        Facebook and similar                                                 86


3                        Pop-up advertising                                                     69


4                       Twitter                                                                        58


5                       IVR/Interactive voice response on telephones               48


6                      Congestion charging                                                      44


7                      Paid-for plastic bags                                                     42


8                      DVD membership schemes (e.g. Lovefilm)                    37


9                      Tracker mortgages                                                        33


10                    Public bike schemes                                                      31


Source: The Foundation



  1. I pretty much agree with that list although bankers should definitely be at the top.
    It does say:-the 10 products and services that have contributed the least to Britons’ lives over the last decade. I use and like Facebook; it is a good way of sharing photos between family and friends, but it has contributed diddly squat to my life over the past decade.

  2. Yobs and Chavs have always been with us, Terry, we have to live with them. Boom cars and excessively noisy motor bikes do seem to be a modern scourge. I agree.

  3. Where are yobs, chavs and boom cars?

  4. Inefficient bar staff, politicians who don’t keep promises and car hire offices have been around for ages. Things that have specifically poisoned the last decade for me are:
    1 Bankers and their bonuses
    2 Funding the above through my taxes
    3 Shameless attitude of the above to Endowment Mortgages and PPI
    4 Airport security
    5 People who rant about Facebook / congestion charging / tracker mortgages (if you don’t like ’em don’t use ’em)
    6 Microsoft
    7 Apple (love the iPhone, hate the company)
    8 Technology that doesn’t work
    9 TV channels that just show repeats
    10 Tired reality formats that refuse to die

  5. Yes it’s caused a lot of comment. El Rupester, personally I’d put in my list of the worst contributors to British life: inefficient car hire pick-up offices; over-complex WiFi log-on procedures; Greene King’s pub acquisition programme; over-priced wireless roaming charges; lengthy airport screening procedures; Nick Clegg; non-English-speaking service industry workers; PR bullshit; menu-driven telephone answering services at my utilliy suppliers; spotty cellular data services.

  6. What a really weird list.
    Personlly, I reckon 7 of those ten are actully pretty good things.

  7. Regarding DVD rentals and tracker mortgages, I find DVDs very useful since I took up travelling by train whilst as Dr Bob points out some of the best mortgage deals are trackers.

  8. Tony, You’re dragging me from knackered old fart to Tweetie-bopper. Help!!

  9. And your fair replies are appreciated 🙂 Hey, this on-line near-realtime exchange is somewhat like…no, forgeddit.
    Keep up the lively blog, it’s good stuff.

  10. Point taken Tony

  11. Sorry David, but there’s equally no sign of light-hearted intention in the title “The Ten Worst Contributors To British Life”.
    Anyway, it was up there for discussion, agreement or challenge. Hey, I’m not even a user of either, no personal axe to grind, but it does come across as snobby I’m afraid, mightily so.
    Maybe write it a little less sweeping next time, or pick a smaller percentage of the population, and your underlying humorous good intentions would shine through 🙂

  12. I thought I was having a fun exchange with chm, Tony, it’s possible to take things a trifle too seriously you know.

  13. “I can’t see why anyone uses FB or Twitter unless they’re into shameless self-promotion.”
    Well…they use them to communicate. It’s actually not as despicable or worthy of contempt as you appear to think to have a fun exchange with loads of friends and see some of the enjoyment in their lives. Y’know, it is actually a worthwhile and admirable pursuit to be happy.
    However, it is neither worthwhile nor admirable to pride yourself on coming across like a Scrooge who only worships Apple cons. Sneering ain’t as funny as you might have thought.
    Sorry if this sounds a bit strong but contempt deserves a mirror.

  14. Oh dear, chm, I feared someone might say that – but surely people come to this site for the illustrious comments – not my feeble meanderings.

  15. Where indeed, Dr Bob, and where are hire car pick-up offices, slow barmaids and automated telephone answering systems?

  16. “I can’t see why anyone uses FB or Twitter unless they’re into shameless self-promotion.” – says Mr. Manners who is running a blog called Mannerisms.
    Wow, David. I always like reading your column, but now you’re going out on a limb here.

  17. Where is the M4 bus lane?
    Overseas call centres?

  18. Well cheese and Tony, I know you’re going to say I’m a knackered old fart but I can’t see why anyone uses FB or Twitter unless they’re into shameless self-promotion.

  19. It’s a bit surprising that at least 2 of the list are valued at tens of billions of dollars. And these are not even online gambling sites or porn or any such!
    Yes, I fail to understand why FB or Twitter are listed here. There are millions of normal people, leading normal lives who think their lives are enriched by various websites – FB and Twitter included. Of course there are frivolous even idiotic, self-indulgent users of these sites – but you can equally well claim that everything from a stupid old mirror to make-up to jewellery to plastic surgery – infact anything that indulges your narcissism should be on this list (assuming that FB/Twitter made this list because of the self-indulgence they seem to promote).
    Another thing. PE Owners didn’t make it to this list! Hmm.. some good karma, I guess 🙂

  20. The inclusion of Facebook and Twitter makes the list author just look…old.
    I take it the same author would have sneeringly put ‘blogs’ in their top of their list a decade ago.
    Close-minded faux-snobbery is not something to parade with pride.
    Hardly insight worthy of a blog, is it. Dead news week, so time to look a bit blind?

  21. Let’s have your list Peter – as a vibrant, engaged, denizen of the 21st Century Techie-Monde.

  22. Peter van der Sluijs

    This is a truly bizarre list. My first thought was that it reflects the prejudices of some web-phobic over-40s but I see that the founders of The Foundation actually have some innovative web businesses to their credit. I assume this is the result of some kind of survey? The inclusion of Facebook says more about the age profile of the respondents than it does about British Life.

  23. Nothing wrong with trackers for mortgages. Best thing since sliced bread. For 5 years I had two, both below base rate but with a 2% lower limit. Last one I was paying 1.93% interest with the 0.5% base rate. Mortgage now nearly gone due to over payments at the current rate. Hint – pay the difference between what you were paying and what the current payment requirement is and then pay any extra you can afford. Every £1000 overpayment dropped the required payment by about £10 per month. Compound interest in reverse!

  24. One promotes couch potato apathy, Mike, the other promotes consumer apathy in not actively managing your finances by looking for better deals and re-mortgaging when they’re found.

  25. What’s so wrong with DVD rentals and tracker mortgages ?

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