Feel free to talk in The Lobby

Open discussion

This conversation is no longer accepting comments – Please visit our new off-topic discussion to keep the conversation going.

Update: August 2018

With just shy of 13K comments we have frozen comments and created a new off-topic Lobby for you to continue using.

Although you won’t be able to add new comments below, you can still link to this page, and to individual comments.


Original post:

Since Which? Conversation launched six years ago, there have been almost 4,500 conversations on all sorts of consumer issues – from money to megabytes. And in those conversations, there have been close to 180,000 comments.

Of course, the real strength of Which? Convo lies in its members who contribute so much to every discussion. And one of the better aspects has been watching how this community has slowly but surely grown into such a caring one.

Our community

But, 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 in some of the subjects we discuss due to the precisely defined nature of them.

So, at the behest of some of our community members, we’re creating a brand-new convo: The Lobby.

This will give you the space to discuss anything that takes your fancy providing, of course, that your comments remain within our community guidelines.

The Lobby will be available in exactly the same way as all the other conversations, and some of our regular community members will help with the moderation duties.

As always, any ideas spawned here in The Lobby could also be used to generate new topics for debate and discussion, so you – our community members – will be able to really help shape the direction of Which? Convo.

Rules in The Lobby

There are no rules… only kidding 😉

To ensure that this off-topic discussion remains a healthy and friendly place for you all to share your thoughts, musings and ideas, here’s a reminder of our most relevant guidelines:

  1. 1. You may go off-topic… that is the purpose of The Lobby 🙂
  2. 2. You can’t agree with everyone all of the time, but when you do disagree, please be polite and speak to others as you’d like to be spoken to.
  3. 3. Avoid ‘trolling’, or purposely provoking others into a desired emotional response. It’s just mean 😐
  4. 4. Avoid making comments that others might find offensive, threatening, abusive or defamatory.
  5. 5. Website feedback is best shared on this dedicated Conversation. If you would like to talk about the closure of Which.net, you can do so in this dedicated discussion area. This is so we can keep The Lobby to be about everything else.
  6. 6. If you’re a Which? member and you’re looking for somewhere to discuss issues related to our organisation, including governance, then please head over to which.co.uk/haveyoursay.

So without further ado… welcome to The Lobby. What are you waiting for!?

With special thanks to Which? Conversation community member, Ian, who kindly wrote the bulk of this conversation and provided the excellent name of The Lobby.


This emanates from a PFI “deal” signed off in 2008. It would seem that the MoD has no real concept of money, of value, and of controlling budgets. I would have expected professionals – presumably civil servants – to ensure that ministries kept their feet on the ground (as most of these aircraft normally do). Instead they appear to treat (our) money like water. Even when there is a bit of a drought.

The worst part is, even when what seems to be a problem is exposed – and the problem is not using these planes for holiday flights but the whole purchase, financing and terms of the procurement deal – no one does anything to stop it happening again. Probably because people move on, get promotion, and don’t care. If this happened in businesses……..

I agree with you, Malcolm. The scandal is not the hiring out of the planes for holiday flights [which is actually a good move to cut costs] but the bad procurement and financing decisions in the 1980’s. Perhaps the number of planes required was over-estimated given the continuing decline in trooping requirements over the last half-century, or perhaps it was a hidden prop for the UK aircraft manufacturing industry concealed in the defence budget. But the military have a tendency to be overstocked with everything in case of an emergency and in case alternative provision is not readily available. That does not necessarily apply to non-combat equipment like passenger planes.The Falklands War [through STUFT – ships taken up from trade] proved that it was possible to obtain cargo and passenger vessels for all purposes so chartering aircraft when necessary should not be a problem. It might have been prudent to have procured up to 80% of estimated capacity and hired in any additional resources at current market prices. The historical situation cannot be changed now without buying a way out of the PFI contract so the present placement of the planes is probably the best thing overall, but lessons should be learned. Trust the Daily Mail to twist the story.

Welcome to the day in 1829 when William Burt patented the first typewriter, the day in 1944 when the Conference of Bretton Woods was signed and the day in 1995 on which Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered but only became visible to the naked eye nearly a year later.

Hi all 🙂 I spotted that you were discussing the people who work at Which? I’ve posted this in The Lobby, where I think it would be more appropriate, but I just wanted to highlight our new careers website which features a video from staff members about why they like to work for Which?: https://jobs.which.co.uk/jobs

(Extra points if you can spot Patrick)

How many points?
I looked at the current vacancies. I must be out of touch, but didn’t see any jobs for people with product and engineering experience capable of assessing products. Were they under a another job title or do you have enough?

The original question, at least the one I asked, was to show those people in the principal jobs and departments at Which?, their backgrounds and expertise, so we might know who to talk to about appropriate questions.

The directors of Which? Ltd, for instance, are easily found but what of the directors in Which? not associated with W? Ltd?

We sometimes mention intelligence on here, so this New Scientist article might be of interest to some:

“Evil genius

Psychopaths may think of themselves as intellectually superior but, in general, they have below average IQ scores and do poorly at school. Instead, they often charm, manipulate and deceive their way to the top.

Specky geek

Highly intelligent people are twice as likely to be short-sighted as people who have low IQ scores. In part, this may be because they tend to spend more of their childhood indoors studying – and regular exposure to bright daylight is necessary for healthy eye development. However, it is possible there are also genes that link eyesight and IQ.

Rational intellectual

When asked to analyse a controversial issue, intelligent people often come up with more arguments both to support and critique it compared with less cognitively gifted individuals.

They are not unbiased, however – most of their statements reflect their existing world view.

Absent-minded professor

Some people are great at recalling facts, but struggle to remember personal encounters and experiences. Others can dredge up details of distant conversations but perform dismally in pub quizzes. Both are normal. But the more intelligent you are, the better your memory is likely to be overall.

Beautiful airhead

As if fortune hadn’t smiled on them enough, beautiful people may also be more intelligent. British boys judged more physically attractive by their teachers had a 13.6 point IQ lead, and girls a 11.4 point lead compared with their less attractive peers.


A woman’s brain shrinks by up to 7 per cent during pregnancy and she may experience a short-term decline in her memory for words. But, within six months of giving birth, original brain volume is regained. Motherhood can even sharpen minds in the long run.”

I can identify with all of these, except the last.

I have just received this email and welcome Anabel, wishing her every success. I do hope she reads Convos 🙂

New CEO announcement
Dear (malcolm r)
Following the announcement in May that Peter Vicary-Smith will be leaving Which? we have been working hard over the last couple of months to appoint a successor. I am pleased to be able to tell you that we have today appointed Anabel Hoult as our new Chief Executive.

Anabel joins Which? with extensive experience in both charity and the commercial sectors and has the essential combination of skills and values that we need to deliver Which?’s objectives. Throughout her career, she has a record of transforming businesses and charitable impact across a range of sectors including retail, consumer services, fintech and the charity sector. Most recently at Dixons Carphone Warehouse plc she held the post of Transformation Director. She has led their customer facing services, including its Geek Squad, and its insurance business. As Chief Operating Officer at Save the Children UK for nearly five years, she implemented a successful 5 year strategy to double impact for children, increase revenues and build supporter engagement. She worked closely with the Trustees and served on the Audit and Remuneration Committees. She is a Which? subscriber.

The appointment has been led and approved by the Council of the Consumers’ Association. Anabel will take up her role on October 1st.

Kind regards

Tim Gardam

Ms Anabel Kate Hoult holds 8 appointments at 8 active companies, has resigned from 8 companies and held 5 appointments at 5 dissolved companies. ANABEL began her first appointment at the age of 29.

I think she’s from the NE.

Her brother is – or was – part owner of Mandrakes. She herself was a director of carphone warehouse.

Hi all, glad you’ve seen the news. Tim has also put the announcement over in the Which? discussion: https://conversation.which.co.uk/discussion/which-discussion/#comment-1538438

I suspect we all got the email at the same time, George.

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Welcome to the day in 1567 when Mary Queen of Scots wa forced to abdicate; her 1-year-old son becomes King James VI of Scots. It’s also the day in 1911 on which Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas and the day in 1943 when Operation Gomorrah began in which the RAF bombed Hamburg creating a firestorm and killing 42,600 people.

Help needed 🚨🚨🚨 As you now we’ve been having some issues with The Lobby 🙁 This is because there are too many comments for the servers to handle. We’ll shortly be closing The Lobby and opening a new off-topic space for you all.


We need a new name. It can be as simple as The Lobby 2 (or maybe 2 Lobby 2 Furious), or you can pick a completely different name. Please can you suggest any you like 🙂

How about: ‘Anything goes’

The Lobby 2 or The Lobby 2018.

The context will be the same so why give it a different name?

As we are all familiar with the name and function of “The Lobby” I would be more than happy to see “The Lobby 2” follow on.

I do hope that, unlike film sequels like Police Academy 2-3-4-5-6- the quality of the brand does not deteriorate. I somehow doubt it will 🙂

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…………….or The Babel 🙂

Lobby – The Sequel

No one has yet suggested Lobby McLobbyface yet – thank goodness.

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“The Coalface” then, duncan? 🙂
We kept our coal in the bath, up north..

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Alex: I am a little curious (and concerned) about your comment “We’ll shortly be closing The Lobby“. I trust that all the comments, jokes, asides and debates will not simply be erased but left to be viewed in an easily accessible archive?

Hi Ian, apologies for not being clear. We will be confirming once it closes, but to quickly explain when I said “close”, this means you will no longer be able to comment on The Lobby. The comments in here will remain here. I hope this clears that up.

@awhittle, Alex, you could start Lobby 2 today, leaving the existing Lobby alone.

Some people are still having discussions on here, so why not leave it exactly as it is without closing comments. It will soon become a reference only as we all post on the new convo.

I don’t see the point of leaving the The Old Lobby exactly as it is now because it will be just as difficult to get into. It’s clearly over-loaded, so the cutover point needs to be something like 31 December 2017.

Thank you, Alex. If accessing it becomes that difficult then it could easily be split into two.

John suggested “the cutover point needs to be something like 31 December 2017.“. I agree, and copy all those comments since then into Lobby 2 to maintain some continuity?

Hi everyone, it’s time to bid farewell to The Lobby 👋 The Lobby was launched 18 months ago and in that short space of time, we have seen good news, bad news, and fake news, across more than 13,000 comments. Because of its popularity, the discussion space is having issues loading so we are having to close it and launch a new lobby: The Lobby 2.

Fawzi Germanus says:
15 January 2021

Funny New World
Today my Sony Bravia 32” HD 5year old machine, stopped working. One minute it was and the next it was not. Could not switch on by remote of manually. The engineer said can’t do anything about it. Buy a new one.
Yesterday, my espresso bean to cup De Longhi machine gave up. The switch operating the milk froth nozzle just broke up. It came off in my hand. De Longhi said as the machine is not within the warrantee period, they are unable to repair it because of the Corona Virus. They advised buying a new one.

We have problems like this sometimes. Last week the heat and steam regulator on the iron fell apart in mid operation and without warning so I managed to burn a hole through some trousers. The next day the kettle stopped working without giving due notice. Irons and kettles seem the most prone to short lives. Luckily, reserve appliances were to hand and both items have now been replaced. I think in this funny new world we have to be prepared for things to go wrong unexpectedly. Things are better than they were in the old days when people generally had no back-up for their household goods.

A shaggy cat story………

A man hated his wife’s cat and decided to get rid of him by driving 20 blocks from his home and leaving him in the local park.
As he was arriving home, there was the cat walking up the driveway.

Next day he repeated the process only drove 40 blocks away, but when he reached his driveway, there was the cat! He kept taking the cat further and further away but the cat would always beat him home.

One day he decided to drive miles away out of town and over the border into the neighbouring country, released the cat and headed back home.

On the way home he calls his wife. “Jen, is the cat there?” “Yes” his wife answers, “Why do you ask?” “Put him on the phone, I’m lost and need directions home.”

PS: No offence intended for any cat owners 🙂

A farmer counted his flock of 48 sheep and found there were 50. His sheepdog had rounded them up.

Edit: I see that we are in the original Lobby, which was closed in 2018.

… You can’t beat a TomTom Cat Nav.

I didn’t think sheepdogs could count
Wavechange. 🙂

They would have to write it down. You have heard of a sheep pen?

Penthouses or cotes for sheep?

Sheepdogs can count alright; – it’s how they get off to sleep.

I used to fall asleep watching sheepdogs on One Man and his Dog on a Sunday afternoon with presenter Phil Drabble. How I miss those days. When that programme was not running there was County one-day cricket with John Arlott; that could make me nod off as well.

Patrick Taylor says:
28 February 2021

I was looking at an advert for Cristel cookware and it was full of those interesting facts that make sense of pots and pans.

Cristel have five layers of metal three steel and two aluminium. Two of the steel are 18/10 which is the proportions of chromium and nickel in the steel. The chromium is to keep the hardness and look of the steel and the nickel apparently neutralises any bad tatste ! Who knew what the nickel was for?

The final steel layer is a steel suitable for induction cooking.

Also Cristel do a retreading service for their non-stick pans which costs roughly the third of the cost of a new one. Nowdays they do not use PFAS or PFOS which to my surprise apparently were in use for getting the surface treatment to adhere to the pan.

The addition of nickel makes the stainless steel resistant to corrosion by chlorides such as salt. It prevents tainting the food rather than neutralising bad tastes. Nickel is also included in marine grades of stainless steel, again to avoid corrosion. For a kettle a lower nickel content is satisfactory and this means can be polished. Stainless steels have poor thermal conductivity so aluminium or copper is used in the sandwich, which helps achieve even heating.

Addition of a small proportion of molybdenum further improves corrosion resistance and this is widely used in catering and manufacturing process. It is usually referred to as ‘316 stainless’. 316 and some other stainless steels are non-magnetic, hence the need for a different steel layer for use on induction hobs, but that is not in contact with the food.

This reminds me of the old story about someone complaining to a British manufacturer about rust marks on the interior of their dishwasher.

Customer: “It is supposed to be stainless steel!”

Service agent: “Yes, that that just means it stains less than ordinary steel.”

Customer: “In that case, take it away and I’ll buy a German dishwasher instead. Those are rostfrei.”

Patrick Taylor says:
28 February 2021

My Chroma 301 Porsche designed knives are primarily 301 steel I am guessing given the name.
Well-rated by several bodies.

When I was a child I think nearly all our cookware was 100% aluminium, and in those days a generous portion of salt was added to all the vegetables.