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The Lobby – general discussion

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Where to go next:

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If you’re looking to get outside for a bit, feel free to check out the Which? Gardening Group over on Facebook. Hosted by the Which? Gardening team, this is your space to chat about plants and gardening, as well as see what goes on behind the scenes at Which? Gardening.

Over to you!

What’s on your mind today?


Egotist: A person who is usually me-deep in conversation.

With a mirror?

What should you give a man who has everything? A woman to show him how to work it.

In the past you would give someone who has everything an antibiotic.


Or Penny-Cillin?

Or a work-out with Mistress Whippy [South Kensington branch]?

I was a Mr Whippy once, as a holiday job. I took my services around the suburbs of a large city. It was a cool job.

Yes, those were the chimes of the times. What was your tune, Malcolm?

[I had you down as a Mr Softee but there’s clearly a Flake in your cornet.]

Greensleeves, John. We could not use the chimes after 7pm. One evening a policeman came up to me and accused me of violating that. For some reason a bicycle bell top was in the box amongst the loose change and, with the vibration from the freezer motor, occasionally dinged – which is what pc Plod had heard. We parted friends, he with a cornet.

The first thing I was taught was that ice cream made with the gallon of canned “cream” could be diluted with 2 pints of full cream milk. A number of customers told me how much nicer it tasted. And, of course, it was more profitable as we were charged for the cans of cream used. Disgraceful, but it seemed to please the customers, and I always gave good measure (although twirling the cone under the ice cream dispenser gave a hollow centre to the large cone. I shouldn’t be telling you this……

You see, you just can’t trust the police . . . always on the cadge. Happy days!

It was always Greensleeves in those days. They seem to have broadened their repertoire nowadays; we get “The sun has got his hat on . . .” and “Bring me sunshine . . .” around these parts.

I am up for doing a taste test if Which? is interested. I think it would be necessary to test two a day for a fortnight to get a balanced opinion.

Some of the best ice cream I have had was in Devon. Turkish Delight, Christmas Pudding, Liquorice, were favourites.

I came into this world screaming and I still haven’t stopped.

Are you still missing Mr Whippy?

That’s a very psycho-analytical remark, Beryl.

I think “Missing Mr Whippy” would be a good title for a film, although I’m not sure which genre; you should copyright it quickly.

Nothing quite as complicated John. The old saying โ€œI scream, you scream, we all scream for ice creamโ€ – very popular during and immediately after WW2 when I scream – sorry ice cream was a luxury you could only dream about ๐Ÿ™‚

PS: To return to the 21st century – you might say we are all presently screaming for a vaccine.

I had a text scam yesterday which is new to me, as follows, using same capitals and punctuation, as follows:

โ€œ+44 7868 029888
Due to the new Covid Virus support scheme.
Each Citizen can claim up to ยฃ433.84. For extra information, please visit http://GovUK-Help.netโ€

I treated this as a scam, took a screen shot and reported it. Looking at the capitalisation, and any govt websites addresses I have seen end with โ€œgov.orgโ€, not .net.

I will be interested to know if this is new, or if others have seen, or possibly been
caught by it.

[Moderator: the link shared above appears to be to a scam or fraudulent website. We’ve kept the text of the website to help you identify it, however clicking on the link will redirect you to our advice on spotting such websites. Please use caution when browsing, especially should the website ask you for payment or other personal details]

Hi Jane โ€“ Thanks for reporting this. Copying and pasting the text of scams can often show if they are well known or new. I don’t see other references to this one. The moderators link is to a page that has advice on reporting scams.

There are two other points: Firefox automatically blocked the site and displayed dire warnings. The second point is that the address started with “http” when every Government site starts with “https”.

The internet addresses of official UK government websites all end in GOV.UK – all upper case, no .net, no .org, no .com.

The style and language of the example supplied by Jane is completely untypical of an official communication as well as being entirely false. It is clearly designed to entice people into providing their payment details.

The url shown in the text message goes nowhere so perhaps the destination has now been taken down. The telephone number given is false too: I got the message “the number you have dialled cannot accept this call”.

The government names its websites GOV.UK but the web addresses are in lower case and the web addresses extend beyond gov.uk for example: https://www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services

Which has modified the link to avoid encouraging anyone to become a victim of the scam.

I’m not sure why the government doesn’t stick to capital letters for its main title. In my experience, the internet takes no notice of the case used in web addresses. The only reason I can think of is to prevent the misuse of a Nought to represent the letter “o” in a fraudulent address.

The government has provided the GOV.UK portal ( https://www.gov.uk ) as a safe way to access official services. Of course that does not help when people respond to scam emails such as the one that Jane received.

Forty or fifty years ago, computer users used ร˜ to represent zero, to avoid confusion with O. Sometimes we ignore useful ideas.

Welcome to Electronic Greetings Day, the day in 1775 when Sir James Jay invented invisible ink and the day in 1870 when compulsory education was decreed in England

In my day, at primary school, we didn’t have pens or pencils; we had to make do with a piece of chalk and a slate. Which wasn’t easy, as in wet weather you tended to slide off the roof.

When no doubt, you learned the three RRRs, reading, writing and roofing, how to climb the ladder of success to the top, how to avoid the slippery slope to the bottom, and a sense of humour to boot.

I attended Attilla the Hun’s mixed infants. I’m not saying it was a tough school but the school badge was a broken bottle and a crash helmet.

You could bring that joke up to date by including full PPE. Don’t forget the mask.

We were taught maths by Mr Duncan, a teacher of such limited scholastic ability he thought a millimetre was an Italian earwig.

Had a rather interesting letter delivered by our postie last week. With rather a lot going on at the moment, I’ve only just got around to uploading it:

Wai does any one take any notice of letters like this. I have had one also in the past alfa. I suppose someone, somewhere, gets taken in to make this kind of con worthwhile.

Wai indeed !!!

We were luckier than most recipients of this amazing offer . . . .

A search revealed most of these letters turn up without a stamp. The postage on ours was pre-stamped although I suppose that could have been fake. Can’t check now as it has already gone into the recycling.

This morning a woman and her teenage daughter appeared at the front door asking it they could search my back garden for a recently acquired rabbit. I unlocked the gate to let them in and sure enough there was a large rabbit on the grass. After excursions involving other gardens the rabbit was caught. During the present lockdown there is not much exciting happening and this provided a useful opportunity to meet the neighbours at the bottom of the garden.

Hi Alfa โ€“ How are you getting on with your printer?

Moved printer to below

That’s a coincidence. I was looking at our front lawn this morning, which I have not been able to mow for a fortnight because it has been too wet, and thinking we should get a rabbit to keep it short and neat. Keeping the rabbit confined within our garden would be a problem; I don’t know how loyal they are to their owners. It might also prefer the taste of our plants to the grass. I have raked and removed all the Autumn leaves which at least leaves the lawn looking respectable if a bit shaggy in places.

Bunnies much prefer flowers John.

A strong wind usually takes care of our leaves but they have been in short supply this year.

Hi wavechange, does *********************** answer your printer question?

I am testing the the different paper settings at the moment before I try and make our Xmas cards. Firstly on the card I will be using, and also on semi-gloss photo paper.

With my old HP, draft, normal and best printing modes were always available, not so on this printer. On the card the best result is Quality Ink Jet that only does normal mode, whereas the rest are best mode.

I haven’t completed the semi-gloss test yet.

This is my test page that I blank out all but one set of images and print each type in turn.

This is the result so far – a photo taken with my phone in very bad light, the card on the left (6 images) , the semi-gloss on the right:

Editing… the images seem to have shrunk, I will try them again.
Editing again . . . don’t get the option to keep them normal size !!!

I did a scan of a document on white paper that has come out slightly grey.

The funny thing is, this thing gets good reviews online !?!?!?! I really can’t understand why.

I would not expect a printer to offer a choice of modes for printing on expensive photo paper but it would make sense to label the one ‘choice’ as best.

At least with an ink tank printer it’s not too expensive to carry out tests to find out what works best. The card looks very disappointing.

I thought of your predicament when I was sending a couple of handmade cards recently. They consisted of white card with a square wildlife photo stuck on front. I might try that rather than try to print on cards, which has caused me some vexation in the past.

I might have to try a different card that has some sort of shine to it without being too glossy.

At the moment I am using a white pearlised card and although the colours don’t look right, the end result of the greetings cards I have printed so far is sort of acceptable with their own unique look.

I am still struggling with borderless printing. There is a statement in the manual that says In borderless printing, the print data is enlarged slightly more than the paper size so that no margins are printed around the edges of the paper. Click Settings to select the amount of enlargement.

No wonder my images are all over the place. When I place an image on one side of A4 with a white border that is part of the image, it should print what is asked of it, not skew or enlarge it.

I have got the hang of the settings, but not the random placement of images.

I’m convinced that trying different card is the best solution, but do experiment with different settings. I have achieved better prints by choosing a setting for the ‘wrong’ type of paper.

I will stick with my trusty Dahle roller trimmer rather than trying borderless printing.

Welcome to Cyber Monday, the day in 1678 when Roman Catholics were banned from parliament and the day in 1786 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopold II, made his the first state to abolish the death penalty.

According to my Italian-made desk diary, on this day in 2017 the world’s longest recorded rainbow was seen in Taipei’s Yangmingshan mountain range [Taiwan]. It was visible for 8 hours and 58 minutes. Does someone clock the start of every rainbow in case it turns out to be a record?

Our primary school was not in good repair. In fact, it got so bad the woodworm sent out for Rentokil.

I don’t believe that; it’s a pack of lice.

In schools, the cost of school diners was going up. In ours, it was impossible to keep them down.

You can probably throw up some other examples of bad conditions.

I’m worried about the cost of school diners going up. Do people have to be paid to eat school dinners these days?

Don’t worry, Wavechange. I think people can send the bill to a Mr M Rashford whose regular occupation seems to be to kick a ball around Manchester.

At the age of 23, Mr Rashford OBE has already achieved a great deal including getting a government to recognise that in our supposedly civilised country, some children are in need of help. My comment was a wee joke because it seemed as if kids were being paid to eat school dinners.

Friday’s special was Spam a la salmonella.

…with jus infused with campylobacter.

Sounds like your school had a bad exterior, a dirty interior, and a lot of bacteria.

We had to make do with fish, chips and peas on a Friday. Spam was often off.

You had fish and chips and peas? We just had peas.

School was only just around the corner so I would pop home for a quick midday meal.

I have fond memories of the odd occasion when my schoolteachers introduced a little humour into school life. After the holidays we were told during assembly that the dining hall had been repainted yellow using spare custard, which generated a lot of mirth.

Children referred to custard as cows turd. That could have been an opportunity to discuss the use of the apostrophe.