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!?


Welcome to World Fiddle Day, the day in 1920 when Jeanne D’arc was canonized and the day in 2013 when human stem cells were successfully cloned

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.

If you choke a smurf, what colour does it turn?

A whiter shade of pale I would guess 😕

Archaeologist: someone whose career lies in ruins.

I looked to see if there were quotations relating to other occupations but the ones about plumbers were all too expensive.

The dog will see you now:

It’s good to know there’s a spaniel in the works.

Maybe a Pointer to identify who might be infected.

It’s well known that dogs are used to detect crime, for example by identifying explosives and drugs in transit, but medical detection dogs provide a more portable alternative to sophisticated analytical equipment:

Q. What does a suspicious bloodhound do when it’s nose is out of sync?

A. It smells a rat………….Ooops!

Welcome to Work From Home Day (!), the day in 1916 when British Summer Time was introduced and the day in 1949 when the UK recognised the Republic of Ireland.

Women should not have children after 35. Really… 35 children are enough.

Having 35 children seems inconceivable.

A labour of love.

My mother was 36 when I was born and she went on to have a daughter three years later. She did, of course, live to regret both occurrences.

I have always maintained I owe my existence and also my siblings to migraine which my mother suffered for years and which always disappeared when she became pregnant only to return again afterwards.

The most recorded number of children born to one mother is 69. The wife of Feodor Vassilyev (1707c 1782 a peasant from Shuya, Russia had 27 confinements. She gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets. His second wife gave birth to 6 pairs of twins and 2 sets of triplets, totalling 87 children.

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give their vacuum one more chance?

Then have to cut it off the roller . . . .?

A string in the hand is worth two in the brush.

A hair on the head is worth 2 in the brush. 🤔

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

Famous last words: “It’s alright – no one’s looking”. Then it goes viral on social media via a dozen smartphones.

The stupidity of a local councillor who I contacted when a large van supporting a camera on its roof parked at the rear of my house was beyond belief. Upon investigation I was informed “It’s OK it’s not switched on!”

Welcome to Museum Day, the day in 1804 when Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor of France and the day in 1974 when India detonated an atomic bomb.

There are three kinds of people: The ones who learn by reading. The ones who learn by observation. And the rest, who have to touch the fire to learn it’s hot.

Don’t forget the ones that are sent on in-service training courses as advised by a consultant.

To err is human, to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.

And the manager at the very top also tops the list of psychopaths.

Psychopaths are fine as long as users give way to pedestrians.

Materialism: buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress people that don’t matter.

I have had several odd texts recently – 2 from Anglian Water and one from Transcom. I immediately treated them as scam/spam/fake and ignored them, but one thing niggled at me . . .

One of the texts is a reminder to Pay Anglian Water by clicking on a link or phoning a number. The phone number turned up nothing on a search. The following text was sorry about the water supply problems you’re experiencing in Brampton…A search of Brampton revealed it to be Cumbria so out of the area for Anglian Water.

Typical scam/spam.

What niggled me was the sender of one of the texts was identified as AnglianWtr. Are scammers getting really clever now?

I decided to call Anglian Water. It turns out my phone number is on their system – probably because a couple of the real numbers had been transposed that turned it into my number. Anglian Water will contact the customer and get the right number – sorted with no big deal.

That got me thinking about the other text that I received 6 days ago identified as being sent by Transcom – again typical scam, but is it? It says:
Please see the email sent by Transcom regarding your ebay. Payment can be made to https: // . Please quote reference number EFnnnnnn. Thank you.
The link does not immediately look fake. I have not received an email from them.

After a bit of investigation, it is rather disturbing and I am not sure whether or how much I should be worrying about it.

Transcom is a debt collecting agency for ebay collecting unpaid sellers fees. From the little I know of debt collectors, they are likely to have the same deaf ears as parking fine vultures.

Firstly, I have never sold anything on ebay, I have checked my account and no sales have been made so my account has not been hacked. The phone number used for the text has been owned by me for 4 years but is not on my ebay account.

It is impossible to contact ebay by phone and this is not the sort of thing to try to resolve with an online chat.

If I contact Transcom they are going to ask for more information and if I divulge any further personal information will they use it to come after me for someone else’s debt? If the seller has not paid ebay, they might not be genuine and registered with false details – one of them being my phone number.

Suggestions folks? This is one occasion when ignoring might not be the best policy.

That’s a tricky one, Alfa. I’ll email you.

Thanks Ian. I was just looking around ebay and their phone back is now working so they should call me in the next 30 minutes.

An unpleasant dilemma Alfa. You have my sympathy and the hope that you can resolve this quickly. With Ian on the case that is more than likely! ebay seem to be best placed to take things further for you if you can get a reliable phone contact from them.

If someone is fraudulently using your phone number and also your email address to send you texts alfa, you need to contact your provider to change them immediately. You should have proof of non-purchase on your eBay account and if Anglian Water are not your supplier then I can’t see why they should bother to make contact with you. If they are in fact your supplier then it would appear you may be the victim of one of their employees.

These email scams are best binned and blocked straight away as they can cause added and unwanted anxiety and stress, something nobody needs at the moment.

I hope you are soon able to get to the bottom of all of this.

Thanks Vynor and Beryl.

I don’t need to change my email address or phone number at this point as I don’t believe they have been hacked.

My phone number on an Anglian Water account appears to be a genuine mistake. Sending a text to remind a customer that payment is due or being signed up for water problems in your area is normal activity. I since found out there is another Brampton in Suffolk.

The Transcom text on my phone is either a scam, has been applied to a fraudulent ebay account or Transcom have got a number wrong.

I normally take no notice of scams, but this one is slightly different.

I am still deciding whether to ring them.

Thanks for reporting the results of your investigations so far, Alfa. I don’t blame you for acting cautiously.

I spoke to ebay who confirmed I owed them nothing on my account but the phone number used for the text is not associated with that account. They did suggest I call Transcom and get my personal details removed from their records under GDPR but I can’t see them agreeing to that if an outstanding debt exists on what might be a fraudulent account and I don’t want to give them any more personal info.

I’ve never had dealings with any company claiming that I have an unpaid debt but I would not feel comfortable ignoring the mistake or possible scam. I wonder if you could forward the correspondence using a temporary email address.

alfa, now that you have evidence that your eBay account is in the clear, unless you receive any spurious payment demands from Transcom I would just treat it as just another scam.

A scammer works by first objectifying an innocent victim which enables them to instil fear and dread into a complete stranger, preferably one without a face, without feeling any guilt or culpability, which satisfies a negative distorted need to acquire material or emotional gain through manipulation and/or deception.

The best way to deal with people like this is to stay present and ignore it, quietly confident in the knowledge that you are quite capable of dealing with any repercussions should they arise in the future. Chances are they probably won’t if you refrain from becoming a party to a situation by adding more fuel to a very unethical and provocative sick fire.

I have no way of forwarding it wavechange. I only have the text on the phone, no emails. Android gives me no options to do anything with it except delete it.

I have plugged it into the PC to look there but nothing obvious.

It is possible to get at the operating system on the phone but the last time I tried that, the phone broke and was unusable although to be fair it was faulty and barely working at the time so I probably just finished it off. Not sure I want to risk it again at the moment.

On my iPhone, pressing two buttons simultaneously will take a photo that can be manipulated and saved as an image file, which can then be sent by email, etc. I discovered this useful feature by accident. It seems that I could have taken screenshots on my previous phone rather than having taking a photo of a message with a compact camera. 🙁

It looks as if Android supports screenshots too.

Pressing, simultaneously, the power and home, or power and volume down, keys will copy the screen on an android phone.

Beryl, my ebay account might be in the clear, but the phone number used for the text is not associated with that account.

Transcom are a real company who act as debt collectors for ebay with very heavy handed tactics. The link in the text is a genuine website address although there is a possibility it is a front for somewhere entirely different and clicking on the link would take me to another website. I am NOT going to click it to find out.

There are scams associated with Transcom but many reputable companies also have scams associated with them.

I get almost no spam emails as they must be filtered before I receive them, so there is a very, very slim chance one has been sent and filtered out. I automatically download emails and rarely go online to Yahoo, but I have noticed Yahoo puts wanted emails in the spam folder occasionally so I have probably lost quite a few.

So this could go either way. The bottom line is the text wants money. Whether it is an absolute scam or real outstanding seller fees on a possible fraudulent ebay account is unknown. Fraudulent sellers give false details to register. Whether they use real details or make them up who knows? Whatever, they will get no financial gain from me.

Don’t worry, I am not filled with fear and dread, and won’t get myself into the position of becoming a victim, but just considering my options. Normally I would agree with you to ignore it, but ignoring in these circumstances might not be the best policy. I won’t delete the text in case I need to refer back to it sometime.

I can’t get that to work malcolm, my finger nails seem to get in the way.

The other possibility is to use one of the screen capture apps that provide additional features and might be more convenient to use.

On my old Samsung S4 the power and home buttons work well, but not the volume combination.

What works may depend on the phone and operating system.

On my newish Honor 8S screen capture works either via the power and volume down buttons or from a decicated soft button on its pull down settings meny tab.

Yesterday I received another text that when I looked up the number came from Transcom but didn’t identify the sender like the previous texts.

This time is definitely looked like a scam text.

But ….very weirdly, it linked the other 3 texts.

It said This message is for name removed regarding eBay. Please call Transcom on nnnnnn… with ref aannn… If unable to call now please advise best time to call.

The person named was exactly the same as the person named in Anglian Water texts.

Anglian Water had confirmed my number was on their system. When I asked if it belonged to the name on my phone, they said they couldn’t give me that information but would contact him for the correct phone number. If the name was wrong I felt they would have told me.

This morning I have had a telephone call from Transcom. They asked for the person by name and I told them nobody of that name lived here.

The woman apologised and said they would remove my number. – Just like that. Not quite what I was expecting after reading some of the nuisance phone comments.

So it would appear this is not a scam but a case of someone who does not pay their bills on time using my phone number hopefully by accident.

Welcome to May Ray Day, the day in 1958 when the South Pacific soundtrack album became top of the hits for 31 weeks and the day in 1992 when Brummie Dave Gauder, 224 lbs, pulled a 196 ton jumbo jet 3 inches

But he failed miserably in his aim to get it to take off. Reminds me of the order to the galley slaves to row faster when Nero went water skiing. I haven’t found any reports as to the veracity, or success, of this request.

The Miss Universe competition is fixed. All the winners are from Earth.

I’ve heard of little green men as aliens but are there any little green ladies?

There has to be little green ladies otherwise there would be no little green men,

I had not thought of that, but since they are green, like many plants, perhaps they use vegetative reproduction.

In little greenhouses?

I don’t suppose a young plant ever embarrasses its parent by asking where it came from.

No need…….they just leave that to the birds and bees in little green trees 🙂

Why are they always assumed to be little? Those in the documentary “Mars attack” were not that small. However the reporter who inadvertently parked his van on a visitor’s spaceship did miss seeing it because it was tiny. All the evidence, available on film, shows a variety of sizes.

I had not considered that, but as Wikipedia explains: “Little green men is the stereotypical portrayal of extraterrestrials as little humanoid-like creatures with green skin and sometimes with antennae on their heads.” Ian will give you chapter and verse, though Vynor could help with the latter.

Ken Dodd had a joke about frightening your neighbour with a cucumber. A bit rude for a moderated conversation.

This is the point where I gracefully bow out 🙂

Time to get the Little Greene paint out and do something useful, I think.

I have been known to worship at the altar of the Greene King and be in close communion with the Abbot.

Re Miss Universe Were there entrants from elsewhere, then? We don’t know that all earthlings have not, in fact, had origins (or oranges for Donald’s benefit) elsewhere. The doumentaries produced by professor Quatermass dealt with this.

It matters not whether you win or lose: what matters is whether I win or lose.

If you can’t convince them, confuse them.

Talking about the sizes of aliens, the TV and film industry, saddled with its own limited visions of what they believe the public will be able to comprehend, decided years ago that all aliens had to be roughly human shaped, speak English and possess good manners.

Judging purely from the way life on Earth behaves the aliens we’re most likely to encounter are probably virus-sized with a similar propensity for creating mayhem. If they’re space faring and a type II civilisation we might survive meeting them, although they may well regard us as we regard ants. If we’re unlucky enough to encounter a Type III civilization then I seriously doubt we’ll be around long enough to notice.