/ Food & Drink, Motoring, Shopping

What happened last month in The Lobby?


February saw quite a few comings and goings, not to mention heated debates in the all-new The Lobby. Here’s a brief snapshot of what happened…

It’s been nearly a whole month since we launched The Lobby, which gave you the space you so badly wanted to discuss anything that takes your fancy. A place where nothing is off-limits (providing it adheres to our Community Guidelines, of course).

In that time, you’ve racked up over 760 comments, on topics ranging from favourite kids’ toys, a fear of blood tests to sensible alcohol consumption levels and how Which? should celebrate its 60th anniversary later this year.

Alfa even wrote a welcoming ditty.

‘Cause we got a little new convo
Rockin’ night and day
Yeah, we got a little new convo
Where we are allowed to stray
Come on and join our convo
Ain’t nothing gonna get in our way
We gonna roll this chattin’ convo
Ain’t no one got nothin’ to say?

(Chorus of Convoy for Wavechange)

In our ‘virtual coffee lounge’, we’ve learnt what hot drinks everyone needs to get them going each day.

Meanwhile, Ian’s been providing us with some delicious-sounding treats for ‘breakfast’ (along with a thought for the day) each morning.

‘Today’s thought: If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.’

Plus, as well as the regulars (you know who you are), we’ve welcomed several new faces to the community.

Here are some of the highlights:

Diesel cars in city centres

On the possibility of city charges for diesel cars being introduced to lower pollution, Vynor wanted to know if owners would be compensated:

‘If the government introduces city charges for diesel cars, this simply makes diesel motoring more expensive, it doesn’t take these cars off the road. Similarly a diesel fuel price hike does nothing to stop motorists using their cars, since these are all they’ve got…
…The problem here is that well over half of us now have diesel cars on our drives. If they suddenly become valueless scrap metal, the British public will want to know why and what compensation should be paid for bad advice in the past…
….No doubt most manufacturers today have factories geared up to producing diesel cars, since that is where the demand currently is. A turn around to total petrol and hybrid output will take time and huge amounts of cash. Who will pay for this? Will cars return to being the preserve of the rich? What will dealerships do with all the diesel cars they can’t sell?’

Others, like John Ward, discussed whether monorails or trams could be a viable alternative:

‘I like the idea of monorails, but I think they are difficult to fit into city centres as they would usually be at a height of 6 m above street level which means support structures and access points [lifts and escalators]. A two-way track would be quite wide as well… A modern system would be less cumbersome but I presume the cost and disruption of constructing it would be prohibitive nowadays. Current wisdom in the Department of Transport is that a city needs a population well in excess of 250,000 to support even a simple tramway system’

Decline of ties

A Bayko (circa 1950s) poster depicted a little boy wearing a tie and cardigan.

Bayko poster (1950s)
It sparked a whole conversation on how the practice of tie-wearing has gone out of fashion. Malcolm r gave a possible reason:

‘Ties were, I suppose, the main things you could use to brighten up otherwise drab male attire. Now they would be overwhelmed by brightly coloured shirts, jackets and trousers (see Michael Portillo for example – no tie necessary)’

Food industry and Brexit

On 20 February, our Director of Campaigns and Communications, Vickie Sheriff, appeared on Channel 4’s Dispatches to talk about ‘shrinkflation’ and the affect Brexit might have on food prices. Several of you, including Wavechange, gave your take on the programme:

‘We learned that some prices are likely to fall and others rise as a result of leaving Europe. We might as well wait and find out. The programme drew attention to price rises as a result of the substantial fall in the value of the pound, meaning that prices have had to go up or products decrease in size. We were repeatedly shown the ‘Dispatches Brexit basket’ containing some of the most obvious examples of shrinkflation and price rises. Perhaps manufacturers should be required to show ‘New pack size’ for a period after decreasing pack size to alert customers to the change.’

This is a round-up of what was discussed over the past month on The Lobby. The Lobby is our community’s very own virtual cafe for off-topic chatter. Comments here have been edited due to length, so be sure to read them in full by clicking on the author’s name. If you want to get involved in The Lobby then head on over add your comment.


Wow! A topic on a topic! Is this a first? Well, folks, Mel’s given a brief snapshot of what goes on in The Lobby but to get the full flavour simply head over there yourselves. It’s a rather special place, with some great contributors who’ll make you feel very welcome. And best of all, nothing’s off the table. Except the toast, when one of us drops a piece…

New visitors to The Lobby are always welcome. At this time of the morning, Ian is serving virtual coffee and a lot more.

It would seem this place has now attracted the appellation Lobby II (See VH – in the Lobby).

Now I understand. Like the film industry – Star Trek 2 and the like.

It gets very confusing (well, to my mind) when an existing Convo topic is repeated in a totally new Convo, either as a sequel or in parallel. It happens with Whirlpool, energy companies, VW,,,,,,,, I’ve nothing against a update, of course not, but you then get contributors making current comments but appearing in any one of these different Convo versions on the same topic. Might it not be better to insert a Which? intro-type update into the existing Convo to retain continuity? So a review of The Lobby, could be a suitably-displayed piece from Melanie in the main Lobby Convo. An update on Whirlpool could be inserted in the existing Whirlpool Convo.

I have suggested that a few times, having seen examples of where this has been done. The main justification for a separate Convo is where a separate issue is being explored.

Unbelievably, someone has inserted a thumbs down on my previous and completely neutral post. Some very odd people about.

Here’s a thought: on most forum software it’s possible to enable a ‘reveal’, so that when you mouse over the thumb you see exactly who’s adding the ups or downs. The other alternative is to remove the thumbs down completely.

I have repaired the damaged thumb. I think the thumbs-up is a useful way of encouraging new users to post again and thumbs-down when people are rude.

I’m not a fan of the anonymity. But thanks for the repair 🙂

We’ve said it all before, but I don’t mind the thumbs. I would like to see separate totals of ups and downs though. I also think you should be logged in to use the thumbs feature.

And I concur with wavechange and his use of them.

I did think the point of separate convos was so people could moan the same moans all over again and Which? got its figures up !!! 🙂

Hello, not really a new topic – it was simply a means of encapsulating all of the wonderful discussions you’ve been having over the past month. If you’re not so keen on having such a round-up then that’s fine, we can leave it here. Rest assured ‘The Lobby’ still stands as ‘The’ place to go and I’ve added a note in the convo to clarify that 🙂

Malcolm, we do try and update where possible as we don’t want to duplicate content, but occasionally we do need to in order to discuss different issues and to try and cater for all audiences as best we can.

What Lauren said! It’s also nice to have a new piece of content on the homepage in order to promote The Lobby (or other things that have happened) so we can entice some new faces into the discussions 🙂

I quite like the idea of a regular round up. And it’s one way of attracting new folk.

Ooh dear, I didn’t mean to upset anyone. I know I’m not the worlds greatest diplomat (although not in Donald’s league) but I was not criticising, just making a suggestion! 🙂 🙂