The Lobby: Off-topic discussion

Hello and welcome to The Lobby! Your place to discuss subjects that just don’t fit in our other conversations. Make yourself at home!

Do you want to discuss an issue but can’t find the right place to post it? Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere to chat with your community pals? Well, you’ve come to the right place…

As with any community or conversation it can – and does – wander off-topic. This is perfectly natural, but it hasn’t always been possible to do so on some of our posts because of the precisely defined nature of each subject.

So, at the behest of some of our community members, we created this off-topic discussion area – The Lobby.

Any ideas spawned here in The Lobby could generate new posts for debate and discussion on Which? Conversation, so you – our community members – are able to help shape the direction of our community.

What happened to the original Lobby?

Why do we have two Lobbies? Well, like all good franchises, we wanted to experiment with a sequel. But seriously, the original Lobby was so popular (with almost 13,000 comments), it was becoming hard to load the page.

So we’re starting fresh with what we’re affectionately calling “The Lobby 2”.

No comments from first Lobby have been deleted, and you can still link to comments, but you won’t be able to add new comments.


To ensure The Lobby remains a healthy and friendly place for you all to share your thoughts, musings all of our Community Guidelines apply, with the exception of one:

You may go off-topic… that is the purpose of The Lobby.  🙂

Looking for other areas to talk?

• Website feedback: Let us know about any technical issues, and share your ideas on the future of Which? Conversation closure: A discussion about the closure of

Which? Members: Discuss issues related to our organisation, including governance

Welcome to the Lobby!

So without further ado… welcome! What are you waiting for!?


After all is said and done, he usually says a bit more.

I could listen to him for ever. And after that speech, I think I just did.

I snuck out to the shop today for some food. I thought about a disguise -dark glasses, T shirt and jeans, but settled for a rain coat and shopping bag. Anyway, there was food on the shelves and I got everything I needed except bread flour. The flour shelf was empty, so there will be a lot of baking going on in the district. The till had an automatic ration system in place that prevented people over-buying things. The customer before me had things removed from his trolley because they wouldn’t scan.

I have two bags of wholemeal bread flour and two of plain flour – which is my normal stock. There was no yeast in the supermarket last time I visited, a couple of days ago.

We are going to continue to patronise the local bakery for so long as that is possible. Life is going to get very difficult for independent shop keepers and their staff and I doubt the government’s measures will be adequate to prevent permanent closures.

Kevin says:
18 March 2020

Maybe people are hoarding loo roll with a view to bartering it for pasta and flour?

Puts a whole new spin on paper money.

Some enterprising food businesses are advising customers to ‘phone their orders in then call when they arrive, so the order can be brought out to them.

There is no doubt this emergency is bringing out the right spirit among the more conscientious members of the community. New ways of doing things are being tried and the meaning of ‘reaching out’ has taken on a new – and more genuine – dimension.

Yesterday, two of our near neighbours had delivered cards with messages of help and support should we need it and numbers to call if we needed anything urgently. Although we are in the vulnerable category, luckily we are not experiencing any symptoms yet [I feel it is only a matter of time] and we are generally well stocked and provided for so we shall be seeing what we can do to help others in the neighbourhood. We are expecting to have go under house arrest in the near future however.

Some local shops are now offering free deliveries, with no minimum orders, in their localities and to villages without other easy means of transport.

I think the special hour in supermarkets for people like us will be a blessing; also Sainsbury’s plan to prioritise deliveries for existing customers in the vulnerable category.

Some of us have been discussing how Sainsbury’s will know who their over-70s are. There is no field in the account page for your age.

I wondered about that as well. For those who choose deliveries, I guess they will look back over past orders and look for evidence like corn plasters, Sanatogen, garments with elasticated gussets and Velcro fastenings, denture cleaner, drinking chocolate, fish paste, and individual meat pies in a tin.

For those turning up in the senior citizen slot, the indicators will be the number of walking aids, liver spots on the hands and the general wrinkle quotient, and whether they remembered to bring their shopping list. The smell of embrocation will be the decider.

Lovely John. It brought a dry chuckle to brighten a dull evening.

Kevin says:
18 March 2020

John, that sounds like some party you’re planning with that shopping list.

You have an enviable writing style. John.

Thank you, Sir. I endeavour to give satisfaction.

Many of us will have more free time than usual. Yesterday I spent hours on the phone and thought back to the days when we had to pay by the minute to make phone calls.

We have spent more time on the phone than usual lately and I have received a notification that we have already used 80% of the monthly 500 minutes free calls allowance. That would normally be adequate but I envisage more and longer phone calls during the present situation and shall be changing our tariff to provide unlimited free calls. I can’t see any compensatory savings from this change of behaviour although there might be less expenditure on tea and coffee and things for guests who call or when we go into the city centre.

On Macs we use Facetime to stay in touch. I presume there’s some equivalent on PCs?

Imagine how much it would have cost for 500 minutes on the phone in days gone by. Many of us have generous or unlimited internet access on our tariffs. Back in the days of dial-up the cost soon added up. I paid for an extra phone line for the fax and for dial-up.

It’s ages since I have used Facetime and Skype was deleted when it was acquired by Microsoft. 🙁

The call tariffs are certainly lower now but the line rentals keep going up. I think the inclusive tariffs for generous or unlimited free call allowances are very good but the telecom companies are making a packet on broadband.

In terms of communication with family and friends, there is a lot to be said for e-mails to send the same message to many people – and they don’t have to be on the line when you send it; but making a telephone call is a more personal experience and is the ultimate interactive form of communication after physical presence.

That is very true. Low users will effectively be subsidising those who use Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube and other on demand services. Not so long ago, we watched or recorded live TV or watched DVDs. The amount of electricity used in powering video on demand and all our web searches is huge.

That reminds me that I must renew my SIM-only mobile contract.

For Windows PC’s, I guess Skype would be the preferred alternative to FaceTime (at least as preferred by M$).

For Android devices, there is no shortage of alternative apps, most, if not all of them will be multiplatform and thus also capable of reaching consenting adults on Apple products. WhatsApp (owned by FaceBook) is probably one of the most widely used ones.

Many other choices are available, see:-

Morning all, how are we all getting on? We’ve just published a message from Anabel which I’m sure you’ll find interesting:

Welcome to International Read To Me Day, the day in 1859 when Gounod’s Faust was first performed and the day in 1932 the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened.

Even if he had two guesses he couldn’t tell which way a lift was going

Kevin says:
19 March 2020

Yes, poor old Werner would have to actually get in the lift to determine it’s up-ness or down-ness and then he’d have no idea of how fast it was going.

Fred says he isn’t stupid. He knows a lot, but can’t think of it at the moment.

Been there! Getting worse!

My uncle isn’t very bright. He painted his sundial with luminous paint so he could tell the time at night.

I’m sure it would be possible to illuminate a sundial with solar-powered lights arranged in an arc around the sundial and operating in sequence. There would be no need for luminous paint.

From New Scientist today:

“In a study published on 9 March, researchers led by Alexandra Walls at the University of Washington in Seattle used electron microscopy to determine the atomic structure of the spike protein on the covid-19 virus (Cell, With this information, inhibitor drugs can now be designed to block it from attaching to a human cell”.

Welcome to International Day of Happiness (no irony intended), the day in 2013 when James Herbert, horror writer, died at 69 and the day in 1413 when Henry IV died at 45

From what I remember from school, Henry IV Part 2 was the next king, though I am not sure because subjects sometimes got confused.

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool

Kevin says:
20 March 2020

Even the biggest fool can always be Trumped.

Is a gross ignoramus a hundred and forty four times worse than an ignoramus?

Some people are so ignorant they’d become smarter if they got amnesia

I’ve got a bottle of something like Milk of Amnesia. I can’t remember what it’s for but definitely not to put in coffee.

Are you sure you’re not confusing it with ambrosia – the rice pudding of the gods?

I think we may need to raid our mental stockpiles of jokes to keep our spirits up.

I was thinking along the same lines and wondering if we could produce some emergency amusements. Obviously, they might not be up to the standard of the regular supplies but we should rally round in this hour of need and offer some paltry morsels [or chicken nuggets if you prefer].

Based on a half-heard dialogue by some people wondering how to entertain themselves during their confinement I submit the following sub-topical chit-chat –

“Do you have the symptoms?”
“No, I don’t like American comedy.”

There were a host of online games we used to play on the original forum. Two that appeal:

1. The Caption competition. Runs for three days per picture. Winner pits up the next picture.

2. Follow on: Make an association or connection with the previous post, the funnier the better.

Caption competition: image 1

Don’t worry, that’s perfectly armless.
clever, but not quite a sleight of hand.
Phew, they could do with a good wash.
Now, what did I do with my hands?
Spot the ball.
Finishing his shift at the nuclear plant, he discovered that things had changed.
Manual dexterity took on a whole new meaning.
His bunions were playing up again.
He decided to put his feet up for a while.
He had to admit de-feet.
His medical examination suddenly became more interesting.
Ps. That is probably an actual untouched photograph.

A novel way of avoiding touching your face with your hands during the Convid-19 pandemic.

The photo did not open in Safari but it did in Firefox. Curious.

Caption competition? Well you get the picture. You don’t get the picture? Well that’s the whole point, no one does. That’s absurd I know, but you can’t have a caption without a picture to go with it. That’s what captions are for. There’s the picture and you have to say what it is. Don’t tell me you don’t know what it is, no one does, it’s why it’s there. You have to say what you think it is. You can’t suppose it’s wrong, that’s not for you to decide it’s your opinion and that’s neither right or wrong. Yes, someone else might think it’s different but they are entitled to their view just as you are entitled to yours. You get the picture? I know you don’t get the picture, you’ve just said that, but you get the idea. There’s this picture and you have to say what it is, give it a caption. Well it’s a kind of heading, isn’t it? It’s got a cap on the picture. No, not a title, that’s too obvious. The picture isn’t obvious is it? Well then, you have to work out what’s going on and find something to say about it. That’s a caption not a title. If I showed you a picture of a train going into a tunnel, you could give it a title, that’s obvious isn’t it? This isn’t a train going into a tunnel, Well, not quite a train going into a tunnel, but we won’t go into that, it’s a different kind of tunnel and the train’s not a train. Yes, I know you might get confused when I use euphemisms, but what I’m telling you is that this picture needs a caption not a title. Tunnel of love? Brilliant, we’ll write that in. Next picture please.

Welcome to the International Day of Forests, the day in 1871 when journalist Henry Stanley began his famous expedition to Africa and the day in 1961 of the Beatles’ first appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool

Despatched by Gordon Bennett, proprietor of the New York Herald to find David Livingstone in the African jungle, Henry Stanley is alleged by legend to have exclaimed “Dr Livingstone, I presume?“. I suspect most people on suddenly discovering a Scotsman in the heart of darkest Africa would have uttered a less polite expletive followed by “Gordon Bennett!“.


On a Korean kitchen knife: “Warning – keep out of children”

On a string of Chinese-made Xmas lights: “For indoor or outdoor use only”

DerekP says:
21 March 2020

Some half-indoors and half-outdoors is not an intended operating mode.

The statement could be a health and safety warning meaning “Not to be taken internally”.

I presumed that the lights were not suitable for use underground.