There was a time when the average Briton was viewed by the rest of the world as someone who would obediently stand in line while everybody else pushed to the front.
There would be no complaint made as that was the un-British way of doing things - we wouldn’t want any fuss. That image is now as past its sell-by date as the career prospects of a Lib Dem, if it ever was anything other than a lazy caricature.
I don’t think we have ever been backwards when it comes to standing up for our rights - my earliest memory is cowering at the top of the stairs as my incandescent mother tore strips off the poor girl at the catalogue company because she could not give an answer to why the Sodastream wouldn’t work.
Despite this, it seems we are better at complaining then we used to be. For many, me included, venting our spleen at some poor unfortunate at the other end of the phone is part of modern life. It has to been said there is more for us to complain about in the digital age which has broadened our horizons far beyond the local high street, exposing the consumer to new pitfalls.
The public is better informed of their rights and there are far more channels through which to complain then there ever were when the ‘complaints department’ was a PO Box address, long before the rise of call centres. Today we are invited to complain, although I have yet to meet anybody who has ever got through to those numbers on the ‘How am I driving?’ sticker, normally found on the back of courier vans. I suspect any caller trying to get through will be put through to my utility company and become fed up of waiting after 30 minutes of listening to a pipe music medley of U2 (it is no longer Greensleeves).
Such is the interest in standing up for our rights, that a television series championing Britain’s best complainers and consumer vigilantes is currently on our screens.
One complainer, destined to be remembered long after the series is consigned to teatime repeats on Channel 121, is Traffic Droid.
He is a rather imposing looking cyclist who dresses in black and has cameras positioned strategically on his body. While not being a complainer in the truest sense of the word, Traffic Droid is doing what most of us only dream of doing, he is taking the law into his own hands.
It is only natural Britain will continue to produce more Traffic Droids and that stiff upper lip will be consigned to history.