Here’s out latest open thread covering everything happening on Which? Conversation and across which.co.uk throughout November. Last updated 19 November.
Welcome to November on Which? Conversation – get involved in the discussion and catch up on the latest news.
26 November: What’s your Black Friday regret?
Well, here we are at what is arguably the biggest shopping day of the retail world? How do you plan on spending it?
So why does Which? cover Black Friday anyway? Why all the research into each retailer’s offers to see if they’re truly worth it, looking into the security risks of the cheaper tech you might find in a bargain bin, or how to shop greener and more locally?
We’ve been putting your comments to Ele Clark, our senior editor for shopping and money. In her words:
we don’t actually believe shopping on Black Friday is a bad thing – you just need to go into it with eyes wide open and a bit of research up your sleeve.
With this on your side, you’re able to make the choices that are best for you – be it bagging the bargains and bonus offers, or avoiding the shops altogether. Check out Ele’s discussion later today on the site.
What’s your Black Friday regret?
One story which stood out this week was Ian Aikman‘s look into the downsides of Black Friday – people making purchases they regret, buying items they don’t have the funds to pay for them, and feeling the pressure to make a purchase.
If your regret is in the area of debt and payments, it may be useful to get in touch with one of the many free debt advice services available to you in the UK. These offer free, impartial advice to help get you back on your feet, financially speaking. Worth checking out the rest of Which?’s debt advice too, this covers everything from negative equity to universal credit and is free to all.
If, like me, your regret takes the form of a purchase you didn’t need and question why you bought in the first place (looking at you here, green screen backdrop), let’s talk about it! What was it? What do you plan to do with it?
One regret though we wish for no one to have is to be the victim of a scam. Chiara Cavaglieri has rounded up some of the common scams that we’ve seen on Black Fridays past, alongside tips to keep you safe while you shop.
Is your smart speaker listening to you?
The next episode of Which? Invesitgates is out now. This episode looks into whether your smart speaker is recording you, and the broader security implications of owning a device that may or may not keep a record of everything it hears.
19 November: Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas?
It’s starting to happen now. Walking into a restaurant and being greeted by a giant light up snowman. Shopping along to a seasonal soundtrack. Being momentarily dazzled by the flashing lights from @chiragkhetiya’s Christmas tree in the back of a video call.
We’ve just passed the halfway mark of November. I know it’s nice to have something to look forward to, but isn’t it just a bit early for decorating?
When we asked this question back in 2018 the general consensus in the comments seemed to be December. Has spending more time at home during the pandemic caused you to decorate earlier, or later (or even not decorate at all)?
When do you put up your Christmas tree and/or decorations?
Early December (25%, 216 Votes)
The week before Christmas (25%, 216 Votes)
Mid December (24%, 214 Votes)
N/A - I do not put up a Christmas tree or other decorations (15%, 135 Votes)
Late November (5%, 44 Votes)
Christmas Eve (4%, 34 Votes)
Beginning of November (1%, 10 Votes)
Mid November (1%, 10 Votes)
Total Voters: 879
It’s never too early for food. You may have seen already that the results for this year’s Best Mince Pies have been announced, with others like Best Champagne soon to follow. All this and more is in December’s Which? Magazine. NB you’ll need to be signed in with your Which? Member login to see the testing results.
Buy Now, Pay Later: have you had a bad experience?
Some of you have shared your experiences already (thank you!). We’re keen to hear from more people, particularly if you’ve had a bad experience using a BNPL provider:
- Has using a BNPL provider caused you go into (or further into) debt?
- Have you been a victim of a scam or fraud due to using a BNPL provider?
- Has using BNPL impacted your financial reputation? (For example, having an adverse impact on your credit score, affected your ability to get a mortgage, etc.)?
If so, we’d like to hear from you. You can share your experience in our BNPL regulation discussion or, if you’d rather not comment publicly, get in touch via our email form.
11 November: How do you persuade someone to be more green?
As you may have seen, Which?’s sustainability team has put together 12 days of Sustainability, covering everything from how you can eat a more eco-friendly diet to how you can spot when a company is greenwashing.
These guides focus on how we can empower ourselves as individuals to take action, and obviously the more people who do them the greater effect it has. Have you ever tried to persuade someone to try to live more sustainably? If so, how did it go?
Let us know your experiences in the comments below, or in our ongoing conversation about what it means to live sustainably.
Black Friday already?
It seems very much at odds to talk about Black Friday and COP26 at the same time, given how one is very much an encouragement to consume more, the other about consuming less. Nonetheless, the usual wave of deals and promotions from retailers started earlier this month, and Which? has been busy looking at where the good deals are (and aren’t), and your consumer rights if something goes wrong.
If you are braving the sales, you can find all the latest in Which?’s Black Friday insider’s guide.
1 November: Can climate talks save the planet?
We start November with the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, where the future of the world hangs in the balance. We’ll be covering this extensively across Which?, so look for updates in this space, and please do leave your thoughts and reactions in our ongoing discussion.
If you’re looking for tips on how to live more sustainably, you might consider subscribing to Which?’s new Sustainability Newsletter.
Any questions about technology and security?
As you may have heard, the new season of the Which? Investigates podcast is all about technology and security.
Do you have any questions you’d like the expert panel to cover? It could be anything from the hackability of smart homes (or cars), to whether your tech is listening to you without your consent, or even general questions you may have on technology or keeping your digital life safe.
We’ll be publishing a discussion this Friday 5 November about how you can take part, but if you want to ask your questions now, feel free to put them in the comments below.
In the meantime, tune in to the latest episode on whether someone can take control of your car while you’re driving it:
The Autumn Budget: reasons for optimism?
The Which? Money podcast also goes into more detail on last week’s Autumn Budget:
For this week’s poll we’re curious to know how the Budget has impacted you, not least as the Chancellor said his budget “would pave the way for a post-Covid ‘age of optimism.‘” Has the Budget made you feel more optimistic or pessimistic about the future? Or did it not change how you feel at all? We’d welcome your thoughts in the comments.
How has the Autumn Budget announcement made you feel?
More pessimistic (58%, 11 Votes)
Indifferent (42%, 8 Votes)
More optimistic (0%, 0 Votes)
I didn't pay attention to the Autumn Budget announcement (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 19
What else is coming up in November?
With both Sugar Awareness week and National Diabetes Day coming up between 8-14 November, we’ll be welcoming a guest to start a conversation about how we can be more aware of how sweet our diets actually may be.
We’re keen to hear your ideas and topics as always: what’s happening where you are? Let’s chat in the comments.