RANT: The Cutting of Fingernails on Public Transport

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This topic contains 34 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  VintageKrug 10 Nov 2011
at 10:28

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  • Anonymous


    I seem to be plagued by this!!

    I once found someone cutting their TOENAILS in public….

    This latest horror story occurred a few days ago in Central London.

    Eshewing taxis in my quest to reduce my (not inconsiderable) carbon footprint I was seated on the bus.

    Upper Deck, natch.

    Lady, two rows ahead of me starts emitting “click, click” noises.

    I look around, there it goes. The offensive “click” once again.

    So, consumed with social outrage, I say loudly “excuse me, but are you cutting your finger nails?”

    She stops, so to ensure she doesn’t restart I ensure she is aware how unhygienic and inconsiderate of others this is.

    She simply says “it how I always cut them” with some indignation.

    Anyway she desisted.


    What is the world coming to, if people think it’s acceptable to behave like this. All that dead nail stuff floating round on the seat and floor.

    Just gross.

    Anyone else experienced similar lack of consideration when on public transport?

    Free Lance

    I can’t bear people munching into over ripe bananas or chomping crisps loudly in quiet, confined spaces like train carriages or economy class cabins. Drives me to distraction. Have to really try hard to not have some kind of American Psycho style outburst.


    Agree with you both. But cutting of finger nails is relatively tame compared to somethings I have seen on buses, coaches and trains. I won’t go into details, suffice to say you can use your imagination.

    I was travelling from LHR-MAN some years ago now and I was in the A seat and a guy was in the C seat (B was empty), from the time we pulled back he had his finger lobbed up his nose. The crew came around with the hot roll and matey declined, still with his finger up his nose. I like a good hack as much as the next man but this was just blatent, even the guy across the aisle was looking and shaking his head.

    Eventually I had enough and took the spoon out of the condiment set and offered it to him. He smiled and said no thanks with a puzzle on his face. I said in a loud voice, “but it must be more useful than using your finger” to which he nodded and apologised.


    Once, on a train commute home, I sat behind a spotty teenager who worked his way through an entire multi-pack of Walkers French Fries. The horror on my face, he just kept on going, and going. I eventually moved, but not without giving him a truly whithering dirty look.

    The little things are the worst. Yesterday morning a lady sat down next to me with her clear PVC rain coat still on, needless to say she was wet. Imagine my barely contained fury as water slowly soaked through my shirt sleeve.


    Hi all,

    I once saw a mother change her baby on a train, using one of the seats as a changing table. “OK”, one might initially think, “as needs must, most of us have had kids, etc, etc.”

    However, the baby had obviously had a spectacular movement, and I was immediately reminded of Moutard Dijonais, with a hint of tarragon and just a soupcon of garlic…..

    The smell was ‘interesting’. However, her solution for what to do with the soiled disposable nappy was ‘fascinating’: she simply rolled it up and put it in the waste bin by the doors………I’ve never really been able to see Chiltern Railways in the same light since.

    Also, how many times have you got in a lift with one other passenger. (S)he has then almost immediately passed wind and promptly gets out of the lift at the next floor. The inevitable then happens, which is that (just as the odour is ripening), the lift stops at another floor (by which time you are the only occupant) and a very attractive member of the opposite sex gets in. The newcomer obviously thinks that it is you who is responsible for the whiff….

    I have discovered that the absolutely fatal thing to say is “It wasn’t me!”……



    PS Nigel – the bloke sitting next to you must have occupied a number of chairs that I have subsequently used. When your hand happens to touch the bottom of the chair and you discover that it has been used as a repository (phew – glad I used the spell checker there!) for the (not insubstantial) product of his nasal mining.


    I used to have to travel the pic line every day. I can recall 5 or 6 times where older indian ladies have boarded the train, kicked of their sandles, heel up on the seat and begun to cut their toe nails.

    The first time I witnessed this I complained to her straight away, she just played dumb at not speaking/understanding english. Then continued to fire off her clippings around the train.

    It angers me so much to see it but there is nothing you can do about it.


    Tom and VK – I guess the moral is “Never eat pork scratchings on the tube or a London bus.”



    I once sat in a steam room in a hotel in New York after using the gym.
    A man proceeded to start shaving his head, without so much as a second thought , I quickly confronted him, and told him to stop being so disgusting,that he should go out to the sink to do it, he looked pretty shocked but he did stop and left the steam room with 3/4 of a head full of shaving foam.
    I think that is disgusting , as did the other two people in the room at the time.
    I believe that keeping quiet about such things is worse than shaming them .


    I had this on a flight, and the man I confronted said I was strange.

    I was in Business Premier on Air NZ on a 747-400 in the nose section in seat 1K. The ignoramus in 2K started by using his electric razor, which was loud enough that I could hear it through the headphones. His beard was of course being discharged up into the air. Then he clipped his nails on the ottoman, flicking the refuse onto the floor. I asked him to cease and to do this in the bathroom, which was intended for shaving, and because it’s disgusting to be beside a stranger doing such a thing.

    He said I was “quite odd” and “very strange”, but I insisted. Although his wife defended him, all of the others in this full cabin stared at him and he ceased.

    He would have been in his late 60s, early 70s, and apparently regularly flew from LHR to AKL to visit family.

    However, my regular pet hate is people in quiet coaches on trains using mobile phones. The signs on the outside, on the inside and the announcements aren’t enough, as I go to the quiet coach to get away from a day of hearing ring tones, phone conversations and the like.


    I dread flights that connect to India or Sri Lanka!
    That vile bubbling of the back of the throat in preparation to spit or blow what you have got together down n out through the nose!!! Often you see this on EK /EY…the crews are used to it.

    I have seen many an Airline magazine used to wipe it on, a very strange experience for the next passenger bored who decides to have a read through! The picking of feet that are bare also is pretty horrible.
    Sorry to be graphic!

    One flight into LHR on Emirates, as soon as the back wheels were on the ground about 30 people stood up, & we were still about 150mph on the runway! the crews said this was not uncommon.

    Can we not introduce being Sectioned under the Mental Health Act for this?!!


    Scott and Mark,

    Absolutely with you on all of these!

    I’d add that the click of seat belts being unfastened the moment the plane slows on the runway also annoys me intensely.

    Re the ‘Quiet Zone’ – I often feel like asking the perpetrator “Which part don’t you understand – ‘Quiet’ or Zone’?”

    Reminds me of a great reposte I heard on a train from Glasgow to Gourock many years ago. A guy was smoking in a non-smoking carriage (I said it was a while back). An enormous bloke pointed to the sign and said to him “Can’t you read?” The smoker responded “Yes, I’m just ignorant.” I’m not defending the smoker, but it was quite amusing at the time.

    VK said that an earlier thread was becoming like a Statler & Waldorf sketch. This is becoming like an episode of “Grumpy Old Men.” Keep it up, folks!



    I’ve never had anything as bad as people grooming themselves on any of my flights. The tube/buses are generally full of yobs gobbing (deliberate choice of words there!) on the floor until it forms a little stream which runs down the carriage.

    however, in addition to ScottWilson’s post about quiet zone’s onboard trains, my colleague and I boarded the train in Solothurn, Switzerland en route to ZRH. We carried on our conversation until such point as an elderly lady poked a finger into my shoulder, pointed at the “quiet zone” sign and put her finger to her lips making a “shhhhh” sound.

    I felt suitably embarressed that I hadn’t noticed the sign, but quite liked the fact that the Swiss lady opted to do something about my noise, rather than take the English option of tutting, but ultimately doing nothing.



    Yes The Dutch will tell you also, as will the Aussies!
    There is a question of health education here in some poorer area of the world, but the worst TB figures are from Hong Kong where spitting on the floor is quite normal, but creates the highest incidence of Respiratory disease.

    Victoria Wood doing a stand up

    ” The British do “Tut” a lot but do very little about it. I was on the train the other day, in the buffet car, & this couple had no inhibitions, & proceeded to have sex in the seats opposite. No one said anything.
    Then they went to light up a cigarette after, & the old woman next to them said,
    “Do you mind , this is a no smoking compartment!”


    I fear my story may be even worse… I was sitting by a swimming pool in an upmarket hotel when I saw a man on a sun lounger clipping his toe-nails. With each “clip”, the nail shot off onto the ground where of course people were walking in bare feet, since it was a pool area. It was disgusting. I never walk around in bare feet myself now if I can possibly help it.

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