There’s a man on my train this morning, and he’s listening to stuff out loud on his phone, like fully out loud, not even slightly subtle. The train is in Britain. He keeps listening to 5 seconds of an annoying song, then switching to another song. It sort of sounds like kids TV music. He appears dressed to go work in a fancy office or something, and this is a morning commuter train, so I don’t think he’s escaped from a prison or mental hospital.

Anyway, amongst myself and another couple of hundred quiet passengers, we’ve tried everything:

  • tutting and rolling our eyes
  • harrumphing, whingeing and sighing
  • when a bloke got on the train with headphones on, someone said loudly “Isn’t it great when someone wears headphones? They can listen to whatever they like and nobody else has to hear it”
  • sometimes it stops for a minute, and there’s a widespread muttering of “Ooh, thank god that’s over with”
  • followed by an en-masse groan when it starts again “Oh no, not this again!”
  • a lady on the phone saying loudly “Sorry, I can’t hear what you’re saying, because someone is being inconsiderate and playing music really loudly”
  • saying to one another, loudly enough for the man to hear “isn’t it annoying when someone plays their music out loud? I wish he’d stop doing that”
  • muttering aggressive words, under our breath, in his general direction “prick”, “wanker” “knobhead”, “bellend”
  • Someone getting onto the train, and not sitting at his table and saying “God, I’d rather stand than sit next to that prick”, loud enough for him to hear.
  • the ticket-checking man rolled his eyes, but didn’t do anything

I think generally we’re running out of ideas. I heard someone behind me mentioning they were thinking about “sparking him out”, and someone else had suggested they might grab his phone and throw it out the window.

I was toying with the idea of going nuclear on him, and directly but politely asking him to turn it down, but it’s a bit early for that kind of extreme behaviour. Perhaps I should throw something at his head?

Anyway, anyone who’s been in a similar situation have any suggestions?

[Update] The train got full, so people were standing all the way down the aisle. Three people sat on the table next to him.

Opposite him, an older woman stared at him and shook her head at him, in a gesture I interpreted as “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed”. He put his phone in his pocket and stared out the window. I gave her the subtlest of nods, to communicate “thank you” and “good job”.

So we’re safe, this time - but I’m still interested in solutions, as something like this could happen again!

  • Tippon
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    322 months ago

    Put 50p on the table in front of him, put your hand gently on his shoulder, and with the most sympathetic expression you can manage, say ‘This is towards the cost of some headphones. I hope your situation improves soon.’

    • @fakeman_pretendnameOP
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      32 months ago

      I’d actually be quite prepared to buy a bunch of sets of cheapo headphones to hand out in such situations, but half the phones these days don’t even have headphone output, and I’m not buying wireless ones to give away!

  • @sanguine_artichoke@midwest.social
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    272 months ago

    He keeps listening to 5 seconds of an annoying song, then switching to another song.

    Probably looking at social media like TikTok or Instagram. I had a gf who did this and it drove me insane… since they’re watching the video and obviously not thinking about anyone else, I’d hear the same 8 second snippet of music 3 times in a row, then a different one.

    • @fakeman_pretendnameOP
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      102 months ago

      Yes, if they had autoplay switched on (if that’s even an option to switch off), that would definitely explain it - and also some he was laughing at, so I assume there were funny things mixed in with it.

      • @9point6@lemmy.world
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        62 months ago

        That’s how all these short form video platforms (tiktok, insta reels, etc) seem to work, once you’re in it, it all just autoplays

        It’s infuriating

  • Jho
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    2 months ago

    deleted by creator

    • @fakeman_pretendnameOP
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      202 months ago

      It being ticktock makes a lot of sense - and yes, I was being slightly silly, though in response to a real annoyance.

      I was mainly enjoying (and wished to share) the extreme level of Britishness on show, where actually “going to speak to him about his behaviour” was so unthinkable - that someone was considering punching him and someone else considering throwing his phone out the window as preferable options :)

      • livus
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        72 months ago

        I enjoyed your account and thought it was funny.

      • Jho
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  • @Aceticon@lemmy.world
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    2 months ago

    I’ve confronted somebody doing this in a packed commuter train once, back when I lived in the UK, and not only did the guy not care, but not a single person expressed support (everybody else just puts on the “this is nothing to do with me” body posture)

    By comparisson, I’ve seen a similar situation in The Netherlands were pretty much the whole train rose up when the guy doing the noise refuse to turn it down after being politelly asked to do so.

    Mind you, in my own native Portugal it’s the same shit as in the UK.

    That said, politelly asking doesn’t hurt as people sometimes aren’t aware of how their noise is disturbing others, but yeah, if the other person is an asshole, in the UK (and Portugal) you’re going to be solo on this.

    For a practical solution I suggest you get noise reduction headphones, which are also good to help you focus in the workplace if its noisy.

    • @Affidavit@aussie.zone
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      122 months ago

      I think if someone is obtuse enough to not realise playing loud music on public transport is rude and disruptive you should consider the consequences before interacting with them. They are either 1. a bogan who thinks they’re top shit, or 2. someone with a questionable mental state. Either way, the chances of them turning the music off are low and the chances of fisticuffs higher than I’d like.

      I’d rather roll my eyes and fork out the extra for noise-cancelling earphones.

      • @Aceticon@lemmy.world
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        62 months ago

        I would’ve thought the same before I had interactions were I politelly told somebody their music/video-audio/whatever was too loud and they apologised and lowered it.

        I know there’s a natural tendency to conclude others are just assholes for not even considering those around them (certainly, I have that tendency to conclude that), and yet such “anti-sociallity” does seem to be more of a range than an absolute characteristic and some people whilst they might not think “what about other people” upfront (or even it’s just situational and normally they do but not this time) will actually do so and adjust what they’re doing to take in account others.

        But yeah, it’s a risk, not as much of the thing ending up in violence but more of the person asking ending up in a humiliating situation (unless you yourself escalate it to “fistcuffs”).

    • @Obi@sopuli.xyz
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      42 months ago

      The Dutch love stepping in to any situation to make sure you’re “doing normal”, regardless if it concerns them or not. Sometimes it’s good like in this situation, sometimes less so.

  • @itsnicodegallo@lemm.ee
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    152 months ago

    At first, I was so frustrated by the amount of mental gymnastics written here to avoid doing the one thing that would fix the situation.

    I realized this whole thing was satirical the moment I read “going nuclear on him, and directly but politely asking him to turn it down”.

    • @fakeman_pretendnameOP
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      22 months ago

      The funny thing is… it was a sort of jokey post… but it was also quite literally what happened.

      A very similar event occurred a few months back, but I didn’t think to write down the different behaviors and suggestions I overheard at the time. This one was just too funny though, especially the gruff bloke saying “m’gonna spark 'im out!” (and that it lasted almost an hour).

      There was also one on my train back after work, but the volume was a lot lower, so it was more ignorable.

  • Ashy
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    102 months ago

    Sit next to him and start playing your own stuff at full volume, preferably something annoying like kpop.

    • Kallioapina
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      2 months ago

      Please dont. Then there would be two assholes annoying all the other people.

      • Ashy
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        52 months ago

        Having to listen to two people blasting music in public is only slightly more annoying than having to listen to one. But if there is just one, that one person is the only one that is not being annoyed.

        Annoying that one person is more important than slightly annoying everyone else a little bit more.

    • @icenando@lemmy.world
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      62 months ago

      This! I have on several occasions considered doing this, sometimes with very strong conviction. I played it out in my head with different levels of success and failures, but never actually actioned it, obviously. I tried rolling my eyes more vigorously but no luck. Good luck OP!

      • @fakeman_pretendnameOP
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        82 months ago

        I was considering weaponised use of “The Birdie Song”, but I lacked the courage.

    • JDPoZ
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      22 months ago

      Nah - just put up a hoodie, wait till your stop, then grab the phone and chuck it on to the tracks as you get off.

  • Teon
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    102 months ago

    If you know people would play along you could play loud music on your device and encourage as many other people to do the same just to annoy him.
    Do it VERY loudly and everyone stare at him.
    Another option would be to start singing a common song loudly and encourage people to join in.
    Happy Birthday, or 99 Bottles Of Beer, etc.

  • @BMP5k
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    92 months ago

    I am finding this more and more common place on my commute. I chalk it up to the Bluetooth headphone push/ loss of the aux. People either don’t have headphones now or their Bluetooth ones are dead. I just resort to putting my headphones in, maybe make a bit of a show of it in hopes that they see me.

  • @remotelove@lemmy.ca
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    2 months ago

    You could write another article for Lemmy as a temporary distraction for yourself.

    I initially started this comment as a joke, but I realized that it is a really good distraction for a ton of things.

    Also, my ADHD really comes in handy for scenarios like this: Instead of thinking of a million and one ways to be passive aggressive, I usually just blurt out what is exactly on my mind, directly to a persons face. (Results may vary. It’s usually an automatic action for me as my brain-to-mouth filter has some very clear deficiencies.)

    • @fakeman_pretendnameOP
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      112 months ago

      Yes, that’s pretty much what I did :) I found the whole thing a confusing mix of “pretty funny” and “genuinely doing my head in”, and thought I’d document the whole thing :)

      And old friend of mine used to be great at the “blurted out” direct actions. She’d just have walked over to him and said “Stop doing that”.

  • @jobby@lemmy.today
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    72 months ago

    As mentioned by someone else in the birthday sing thread; there’s a ‘skip’ button in their face, but you have to push it really hard.

  • @SpaceNoodle@lemmy.world
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    52 months ago

    Is this for real? “We’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas!” Just tell the asshole to turn it off. Get your shit together, Britain.

  • @LemmyIsFantastic@lemmy.world
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    42 months ago

    Tell him to shut up directly instead of that passive aggressive shit or report him to the authorities if you really care that much.

    • @fakeman_pretendnameOP
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      52 months ago

      But that would be rude. We can’t have that.

      It’s either nothing, passive aggressiveness or full violence. This is Britain, you know.