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The Lobby – general discussion

Welcome to Which? Conversation

Have something you want to talk about, but aren’t sure where to start? Start here!

The Lobby is our off-topic discussion space here on Which? Conversation.

Unlike the other topical conversations we post, this is a place where we look to you to start the discussion.

If there’s a consumer issue or concern, an idea you have for Which?, or something else you’d like to talk with us and with other community members about, start up a conversation in the comments below!

Lobby etiquette

Here’s a few suggestions to make the conversations read smoothly:

  • Make your topic clear and easy for others to find.

    For example, you may want to start your comment by setting your topic or question out apart from other text, or in bold text (using HTML tags).
  • If you want to respond to a topic someone else has started, reply to the original parent comment using the Reply button rather than posting a new parent comment on the same topic.

    This helps keep conversations on a single topic together as our off-topic space doesn’t support individual message threads (yet).
  • Feel free to move the conversation around.

    If you’ve started a discussion on a topic we have an existing conversation for, we’ll suggest shifting the conversation there. Equally if you’re in any topical conversation and the conversation goes far from the topic being discussed, feel free to move it in this space.
    You can grab the hyperlink for any specific comment by copying the link location from the comment’s timestamp.

As with the rest of Which? Conversation the Community Guidelines and Terms and Conditions still apply, so please do adhere to those to keep it a welcoming and open place for all.

Where to go next:

There’s more to explore in other parts of the Which? community space:


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?


Welcome to Howl At The Moon Day, the day in 1492 when Lead (graphite) pencils were first used and the day in 1881 of the Gunfight at the OK Corral: the most famous shootout in the Wild West occurred between lawmen (including Wyatt Earp) and the Cowboys, with Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton killed.

So if Christopher Columbus had waited a few weeks longer he could have taken a set of pencils with him to America. Of course, at that point he didn’t know where he was going 2B.

Not hiring someone because they have tattoos completely ignores the fact that they clearly have no issues with pain or commitment.

Sorry I’m late but I wanted to make sure I missed most of it.

The probability of someone watching you is directly proportional to the stupidity of your action.

Celebrities learned this years ago.

I’ve just spent fifteen minutes sorting out my last post which in a microsecond became a jumble of disconnected sentences and half sentences. This might have been the fault of my Wifi which disconnected temporarily, or it might have been this site playing tricks. Reading other posts, I wonder if the management are becoming less vigilant and hoping we might post less often, thus leading to the decision to close down?

Dorothy Lindsay says:
27 October 2020

‘Which’ should not be dabbling in politics.
It should stick to its remit of consumer protection.

Anything that depends on legislation involves politics at some stage and Which? has a duty to influence events.

Things are really moving all around the place at the moment.

Yes, but I get the impression that “Latest comments” is settling down at last.

Welcome to Black Cat Day, the day in 1919 when Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, his last notable work, was first performed in Queen’s Hall, London and the day in 1901 of the first complete performance of Debussy’s orchestral Nocturnes

When you’re a kid, you don’t realise you’re also watching your mum and dad grow up

I have a friend who keeps trying to convince me he’s a compulsive liar, but I don’t believe him.

I was setting a voice recognition password for my new phone and a nearby dog barked and ran away. Now I am still looking for the dog to unlock my phone.

Paying to sort out the problem could put costs through the woof.

He may be barking up the wrong BTree.

Really rather depressing that, once again, parentless-posts are appearing out of order and messing with the site legibility.

Can anyone advise what to do if an online pharmacy fails to deliver your meds?

I emailed the usual monthly order 12 days ago and tracked the online delivery progress which has been stuck on “pharmacy is processing” for almost as many days.

They request you pre order 10 days before you need a new supply to allow for discrepancies, but repeated phone calls, plus an email have so far been unfruitful.

No one I spoke to could guarantee delivery would be forthcoming before Friday when I run out. I phoned the local GP practice to ask whether they could supply an emergency prescription if I do run out, but they were not interested, proclaiming the onus is upon the online pharmacy to produce the medication.

Short of dialling 111 what can I do if the online pharmacy fails to deliver?

I suggest asking to speak to a GP if the receptionist is unhelpful, Beryl. If the online pharmacy fails to deliver on time it would be reasonable to provide a replacement prescription. A local pharmacy might be able to collect and deliver the medicines or a neighbour might help if asked. If you get nowhere you could ring 111 and that might catalyse action.

I order online and my prescription is collected by the local branch of Morrisons. I’m not prepared to go into the shop at present but a member of staff brings out what I have ordered if I ring from outside.

Thank you Wavechange. I received a reply from the pharmacy to my email this p.m. which states ”You have already spoken on the phone to members of our team,” but there was no indication as to when, or if I will receive the medication before it runs out on Friday.

Apparently, if they are unable to supply it they have a system whereby they contact the NHS database who will forward a code which you take to any pharmacy you choose who will supply it according to certain conditions. The problem is they are not saying whether they are able to supply it!

I would have to get passed the receptionist to speak to a GP
who was adamant, as far as they were concerned, once they have electronically forwarded a prescription to the pharmacy, the matter was out of their hands!

There is a website which explains this in more detail:
http://www.nhs.co.uk – Common Health Questions > Medicines

Also NHS 111 online is very informative.

I hope that this is resolved soon, Beryl.

I request a repeat prescription every two months or so, aiming to have enough to last another month in case something goes wrong. My present GP surgery uses Patient Access to handle repeat prescriptions and appointments, and the previous surgery used SystmOnline. Both have worked very well.

I presume you are using an online pharmacy that does deliveries – something I have not needed so far.

Pharmacies can, and frequently do, run out of medication, especially those within a hospital environment when they resort to phoning around to other hospitals and pharmacies in the area in an attempt to make up the shortfall.

In my case, the hospital consultant increased my medication at the start of lockdown and sent a reserve supply to tied me over meantime. A letter of confirmation to this effect was sent to my local GP, and copied to me, but unfortunately the GP failed to recognise the increase and continued to under-prescribe for the following 7 months.

The reserve supply was sufficient to last until recently, when I finally had to contact the GP Practice, alerting them to the discrepancy, but a prescription had already been forwarded to the online pharmacy for the original dose. A further two amended prescriptions were sent to the pharmacy, apparently without cancellation of the first which caused a problem at the dispensing stage.

A whole comedy of errors on the part of my local Practice where receptionists are paid to play down the mistakes of their fellow medics, unfortunately at considerable cost to their patients.

Hubby had a similar problem some months ago using Boots online pharmacy. Our only contact with them seems to be with someone who has absolutely no connection to the pharmacy.😒

The result is over-prescribing of some meds in separate prescriptions with one item delivered on its own a few days later in an over-sized box. It was so much hassle getting them all one way or another, we don’t want to upset things by trying to correct them.

After the start of Covid, our GP practice started an email service. Emails were forwarded and answered by a GP very quickly so a very good service from our point of view even if they didn’t answer our questions or sort out the online meds prescriptions. Unfortunately, they have stopped this service already in favour of an online form.

But when some meds were missing, our GP practice sent a prescription to our small Boots local chemist and the local volunteer group very kindly picked it up for us. Our GP reception is actually quite good, shame about most of the GPs although, perhaps as most of them have changed, I should reserve judgment until I see them again.

Usually, anywhere is more helpful than than the GP, either NHS 111 or the out-of-hours/emergency GP contact given by our surgery.

I hope you are sorted out soon Beryl.

Thanks alfa, I do think Which? could look into privately owned online pharmacies who claim to save the NHS a lot if money but still manage to make a profit.

Are they regulated and who decides has priority when supplies are running low and what alternative arrangements do they have when they can’t supply a particular medication, and why some GPs are more willing to prescribe emergency prescriptions for those who need them and others are not?

Hi Beryl, I suggested Which? look at online pharmacies some time ago.

I can’t remember which one it is now, but one of them bombard you with leaflets that suggest they ARE the NHS online pharmacy. Their small print suggests anyone can dispense the prescription and a qualified person supposedly checks them. If they are handling thousands of prescriptions a day, there is every chance many will not get properly checked and wrong meds sent to patients which could be quite dangerous.

I did a search for are online pharmacies regulated and came up with:
All pharmacies in Great Britain, including those providing internet services, must be registered with the GPhC and meet our standards for registered pharmacies


You can use this register to check if a website is legally allowed to sell medicines to the public.
The Distance Selling Logo must be displayed on every web page that offers to sell human medicines to the public

I think GPs vary from surgery to surgery and how they are run. Some have reception Rottweilers to contend with that prevent patients gaining access to appointments or doctors.

Many GPs refuse to prescribe diabetic test strips. Diabetics who monitor and look after themselves are less likely to require knock-on expensive treatment later in life, so false economy.

I have just received the documents for this year’s Which? AGM. A quick look through the Annual Report 2019-20 and I can find no mention of Which? Conversation. As I must have missed it, can someone tell me where it is please?
@gmartin / @jon-stricklin-coutinho, perhaps you can help?

There is a brief mention on page 23 in relation to the Whirlpool washing machine recall.

And is that all?

Afternoon, the team behind the AGM docs has stated the following:

“We’re glad to hear that you have safely received your copy of the Annual Report. Which? Conversation is an important channel of communication with our members and this is reflected in the Annual Report. You can find Convo referenced on the following pages: p11, p17, p18, twice on p22 and once on p23.”

@gmartin, Thanks for pointing those out, George.
I think what I find disappointing is that Which? Conversation, while there are the brief mentions in different places as are given above, is not featured in its own right in the report. Nor are they featured (hardly) in the magazine. The impression given is that it not an important source of material for Which?.

But after several years of AGM’s promising more Member engagement it seems further off than ever. Convos could be a good step in that direction, I feel, if they were taken real notice of, responded to by Which? and structured in ways that led to outcomes rather than a place for a chat.

And I would still like to see one Members only Convo where such matters could be discussed.

Thanks George. I found all these references after posting. It would have been helpful if there had been a brief explanation of Which? Conversation in the report. Visitors to the website will have had plenty of references to Convo but if recent subscribers just look at the magazine they might not be aware of its existence.

Indeed, no one I know or speak to has ever read or contributed to Which Conversation. Perhaps they have and are not admitting it, but I doubt that. Certainly no one outside the site has ever said anything to me about anything I have written or about anyone else for that matter.

Perhaps if it was promoted in the magazine as a source of information, and in the hope (maybe vain) as a way for members to interact with Which? and, through some appropriately structured topics, contribute to Which?’s work we might generate real interest. But it seems very much sidelined and for our amusement only.

I do not remember seeing any of the constructive proposals made in Convos acknowledged or developed by Which? in its campaigns or magazine articles. We have, for example, discussed the ATM issue at length and suggested alternative sources of cash but I do not see these explored by Which? We’ve questioned the Whirlpool response to their recalls and asked about customers legal options, we’ve talked about a proper recall system, we’ve questioned the usefulness of the OPSS, we’ve asked for better consumer protection from Trading Standards, and proffered help and proposals in many other topics but with no response.

It has been a drizzly day here today and one or two things haven’t gone well so perhaps I’m just feeling a bit jaded. 🙁

It occurred to me Malcolm, perhaps Which? Conversation website would be unable to cope with too large an influx of extra contributions. There have been a few occasions, for example, when The Lobby has struggled, the last one just recently.

Sorry to hear you are feeling a bit jaded. It’s a difficult time for everyone and the weather doesn’t help 🙁

Yes Beryl, that could be a problem. Perhaps better software would be needed, but that already looks to be needed from what some commenters say.

We have in the past, though, had floods of comments on particular Convos promoted on social media without a problem, as far as I know.

It just seems a shame, to me, that there must be a lot of people out of the 600 000+ membership with wide and varying experience, expertise and background who could really contribute to Which? Convo topics in an informed way, if only they were motivated. Currently there are only around a dozen people who routinely support Convos.

Each issue of the magazine has a section headed AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM. Perhaps this repetitive self-promotion could be replaced with brief information about Convo and other ways of getting involved.

Which? Conversation is frequently full to bursting with repetitive answers to “would you like a sweetie”-type questions. I would prefer more useful informed content instead of bulk volume and I am sure this is what might be putting of some people from engaging with this site. Unfortunately also, few people from commerce, industry and the professions come here to explain some of the things we comment on. I think there is scope there to enrich Which? Conversation.

I have no criticism of the journalism evidenced in Which? Magazine; it’s as good as you get in the media these days but it does seem to take an awful lot of people to produce it.

I think you have touched on a very valid point John. We are directed by the topics that come up for discussion and this might be a reason why people don’t engage, because they don’t find these topics interesting enough to bother about. Of course, we, ourselves, introduce things in The Lobby and we don’t seem to be that good in our choice of issues. All relevant of course but, maybe, not particularly appealing to others. The floods tend to be about injustices or bad experiences – look what happened to me – what can I do about it – etc.
Then there is the point that serious debating subjects require considerable background knowledge and tend to be specialist in their outlook. Jo public is not tempted to contribute.
Having said all this, it is good to have a forum where there is challenge and a meeting of minds for those who enjoy these things. Selfishly, that should be sufficient to continue chatting among ourselves. The real breakthrough would come if Which?, who is the sleeping parent, woke up and took part. Even better if we became a forum for policy discussions and our thoughts were put to some good use in the magazine and for consumers too. The Lobby offers diversity, but what about a page that begins thus: “We are covering the following issues in our forthcoming magazines. Please comment freely on anything that you think we should include. Today we are asking you about…. ” This is not a survey, it is open ended and it can become an additional productive thought process.

Hi all, I’ve read your comments here and would like to offer a few of my own for insight/balance:

– Magazine: No one wants to see Which? Conversation mentioned and utilised in the magazine more than I do. I’m a constant advocate for this and continue to raise more alignment regularly. The magazine does exist separately with its own processes, publication schedules and aims, so it isn’t as straightforward as we’d all like. Right now you’ve probably noticed the magazine feeds some of our content here. In an ideal world for me that would also work in the other direction too. It’s something I’m passionate about.

– Technology/software: Absolutely needs upgrading and simplifying. This is ongoing (and has been for a long time, I know). Jon and I both want the site to be as good as it can be. Technology changes are happening across Which? right now – that will eventually reach Which? Conversation and we’ll be able to integrate better with the rest of the site. Yes, you have heard this before (and believe me, so have I!), but Jon and I are pushing for it every day. I’m very aware that the site looks the same as it did in 2015 – I want this to change.

– Content: I’d disagree that the topics aren’t interesting/bothered with – you’ll be interested (perhaps surprised) to know that the last two weeks set all-time records for visitors to our content. This is a very proud achievement for the site and cements it as an asset to Which? and its wider activities. Please also do remember that you can contact me any time to request content areas/topics to explore – we can’t promise to always cover them, but I’m always open to suggestions.

– Engagement: That being said, I also acknowledge we’d all like to see more regulars/Which? members taking part. I’d hope tech improvements will help influence that. Right now we have a separate log-in and community commenting tech that can be buggy/sometimes difficult to use. I do also want to see Which? shout about the site more. Again, Jon and I are doing this internally every day. We will also have a new starter in the team very soon, who I’m expecting to be very active here. More staff taking part on the platform is important to us all, but we have to balance that with how they can spend their time, too. I do really think our new starter is going to be a big help with that aspect.

– Impact on Which?: I’d refer anyone back to Patrick’s closing remarks when he left the organisation: https://conversation.which.co.uk/community/which-community-power-campaigns/ Which? Conversation has shaped and informed campaigns, it’s brought about change, helped informed people about their rights, scams and a wide range of other topics. We gather vital consumer insight here, speak with case studies and spread awareness of important issues. I’m proud of what the site does and how it performs, but accept we can always do even more.

Not everything can be exactly as we’d all like it (trust me!), but we do make a difference, and will continue trying our best to improve for everyone.

Once again on the question of intergenerational fairness . . .

I do have considerable sympathy for the sentiments behind the appeal for the older generation to assist the development of the younger generation, or at least to moderate some of the hindrances and imbalances it faces in today’s economy and societal structure.

There is no doubt that curmudgeonly old Brits can be bloody selfish at times and spare little thought for the other generations unless they are of the same family, and I don’t suppose that will change. So we need to optimise that characteristic but spread it further with some added benevolence and a more sympathetic attitude to the younger generation’s feelings of entitlement, being hard done-by, and being denied fair treatment. Thus, competing to claim the more rotten upbringing or the less privileged status gets us all nowhere.

I happen to believe, however, that the more comfortable in their retirement that older people feel through having an adequate income and unencumbered access, without excess bureaucracy, to the essential basic aspects of a decent living – nourishment, warmth and shelter – the more likely they are to feel able to support and subsidise their own descendants and, eventually, that demographic. This is unstructured rather than objectively determined so open to the argument that something more organised or state-controlled is required in order to eliminate inequalities. But that then runs into the traditional problem of whether motivation to support such action would decline to the point that it inhibits or even frustrates its purpose and there would be a countervailing tendency to reduce or cancel altogether the voluntary personal commitment. Sensitive stuff, and not conducive to rational and equivalent solutions. The influence of personal motivation can never be detached from public policy in a relatively free democracy.

What my generation can do at this time is to use such resources as they can spare and commit in supporting the UK economy by buying home-produced goods and services, paying a fair rate for
work done, staying in the UK rather than ticking off the far-flung bucket list, being kind and generous to their own descendants, and giving them good counsel so that there is added value in the trickle down
of wealth. They can also encourage the work ethic, self reliance, financial discipline and family values, and if that is rewarded by beneficial results for their offspring the oldies might be motivated to give even more in a personal way, but expecting them to cough up at the state’s command is probably a step too far.

Good John and not much to add to that, it all makes sense. Our generation does have its vulnerable and poor, but for those who lead a quiet comfortable life, motivation is far better than persuasion in helping – and guiding – the youth and beginners in the world of work. I have sympathy for their predicament and though most youngsters are never seen without their phones, their struggle for milestones is harder than ours was. Benevolent grandparents and uncles can influence and help here. The state would be intervening because they think we over indulged, society would intervene because they would be grateful for our help and rely on us to decide what we can give.
In addition to buying locally, we can give our time to society and provide experience without charging for it. Though I don’t wander too far from home, I would dispute the notion that bucket lists are an extravagance of consumerism. For those that enjoy travel, the new time of leisure makes this possible for the first time, without the empty office chair pulling us back.

Welcome to Animation Day, the day in 1726 when Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels was published and the day in 1831 when Faraday demonstrated his dynamo invention, an electrical generator, and the world changed.

I have not heard of Animation Day. Is it connected with the Animation Movement?

If you can’t convince them, confuse them.

Which is what facts often do.

Every 60 seconds in Africa, a minute passes.

Nobody’s perfect. I’m nobody.