Allen keys

About a hundred years ago, a no-doubt-somewhat-smug individual from Connecticut – named Allen, unsurprisingly – obtained a patent for a device which has come to torture DIYers ever since. Not because there’s anything inherently wrong with the Allen key – just the fact that however carefully you shepherd them, YOU NEVER HAVE THE ONE THAT’S THE RIGHT SIZE.

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‘Agony aunts’ and astrologers

We all know all agony aunts are writers of fiction, i.e. they create their own fake ‘problems’ and then concoct an answer. Or are there REALLY so many weirdos in the world with so many weird problems? Sorry, stupid point – OF COURSE there are. But along with newspaper and magazine astrologers, they’re little better than funfair fortune tellers of old. 

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Openly displayed bakery products

Fresh bakery products good. But fresh bakery products in a display which encourages the depositing of every passing germ very definitely not. What’s wrong with those little windows you have to lift open? And some tongs. Or better still, stack them behind the counter so a suitably-protected shop assistant can reach them for you from a discreet distance. Simple concept: it’s called a bakery shop.

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Dropped buttered toast

Yes it’s a truism, but has anyone ever dropped a piece of toast and watched it land on the carpet buttered side up? What is all that about?!

I remember once being told that the secret of perpetual motion had finally been proven experimentally: you strap a piece of buttered toast to the back of a cat and drop it from the top of a skyscraper – it will keep spinning ad infinitum since a cat always lands on its feet and a slice of toast will always land buttered side down.

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Illustration by Tony Husband

All-purpose oriental restaurants

Chinese – good. Thai – good. Vietnamese – good. Etc., etc. But ALL of them at the same restaurant? I don’t think so – the end result will be a bland, slightly spicy, vaguely Far Eastern-style meal with very little appetite-appeal.

A dead giveaway will be the name – invariably something generically offensive like Fuk U or the one three doors further down the street called Fuku 2.

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The Becket List – An A-Z of First World Problems- llustration by Tony Husband
llustration by Tony Husband