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!?


Our son is a spiritualist musician. Every time he plays we hear knocking on the walls.

Maybe he should live in a detached house.

The range of a piccolo: twenty yards on a good day.

Longer if you load it with chick peas and blow hard.

What did you get up to in music classes, Vynor?

I recently discovered that despite my mobile tariff allowing unlimited calls to 01/02/03 numbers I could not make a call to 101, the police non-emergency number. That was because I had blocked calls to premium numbers to avoid the possibility of unexpected charges.

Calls to 101 will soon be free:

Welcome to International Mother Language Day, the day in 1922 on which Britain declared Egypt a sovereign state and the day in 1972 when Nixon became the first US President to visit China

The concert I saw last week was so bad the manager was giving people their money back as they walked in.

The kid next door can’t play the piano. I just wish he’d stop trying.

Just be glad they were not trying to learn to play the bagpipes.

I found playing bagpipes was counter-intuitive. Because your blowing is unrelated to the sound produced, except in the most general way, you have to fight your instincts when trying to play them. But easier to carry round than a piano…

A member of my family learned to play the bagpipes quite proficiently but having achieved this she stopped playing. Traditional pipes need proper care to keep them in good condition and as with any instrument, time is needed to keep your hand in. It might not be traditional to have bagpipes with a Gore-Tex bag, but I can see the reason.

I did a course that said ‘Learn the piano in ten easy lessons.’ I did, but the first 280 lessons were really, really hard.

I see that the price of postage stamps is due to rise again:

Maybe it’s time to change the colours of red for First Class and blue for Second Class to gold and silver.

Two more price rises and the first class stamp will exceed the cost of a birthday card.

Is it worth stagging stamps – buying up thousands of existing price first class stamps and selling them on after the rise?

I do tend to buy a year’s requirement early each year. That only puts off the evil day, though.

Through an unexpected inheritance I also have a large stock of unused commemorative and definitive postage stamps of various denominations that I can use to make up the required value, but it is getting increasingly difficult as the number of high value stamps becomes depleted and I would need to use a bigger envelope – at the Large Letter rate – in order to accommodate the number of stamps required. The new prices will be helpful this year, however, as I have plenty of 19p and 13p stamps which x4 and x5 will do for 1st and 2nd Class mail respectively.

Stagging the 1st Cass stamps might work if you have access to a volume buyer but the margins are too tight to make it worthwhile generally I should think. I guess there would also be restrictions on the number of stamps an individual may buy in one purchase following a price rise announcement.

I do the same, John, usually in the run-up to Christmas. I don’t need many stamps at other times. It’s well worth charities bulk buying stamps to send out regular newsletters.

Maybe when the price of a stamp reaches £1 we could have a ‘pound black’ issue in memory of the penny black.

This all seems like a potential cert investment – like insider trading in shares knowing they are about to increase in value. As stamps only show the service, not their cost, presumably stamps bought now will be valid for the same service after March. Buying 1st class stamps now will show a potential 8.5% gain in value – if you can sell them rather than use them – after just a month.

There is a negligible risk that the price of stamps will fall so it is definitely a cert investment, but as an enterprise it doesn’t appeal to me.

You could lay out £700 upfront buying 1,000 1st Class stamps at current prices and, subject to sales, you could make £60 – but how many trips to a post office would you have to make to buy the stamps, how long would you have to hold that stock before they sold out, how much time would it take up in marketing and selling, and what other expenses would arise?.

You would need to find, say, ten cash buyers for quantity and they would get one less stamp than they ordered because you would need to use one for postage. Meanwhile you are carrying an outlay of £700. If people kept ordering stamps after you had sold out you would have the problem and cost of returning their payments. It wouldn’t surprise me if the occasional sub-postmaster indulged in such a venture, however – off the books of course.

I can’t be bothered either, John.

It was of course a throwaway comment from me. Rather like commodities, it is only really worth doing if there is a free market and virtual movement 0 and were that the case, although spread on a given day would be low thanks to very low risk, the mid value would already be quite a way toward the new ticket price.

And of course there is a chance (likely paradoxically increased chance as a result of this inflation-busting price rise) that the PO goes into liquidation, rendering stamp “stock” value a big fat zero.

Welcome to World Thinking Day, the day in 1797 of the last invasion by the French, and the day in 1825 on which Russia & Britain established the Alaska-Canada boundary.

I held a festival; of Peace and Meditation, but my neighbours complained about the quiet.

Never try keeping up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level; it’s much easier

Pity them. They are probably victims of marketing. Thankfully some make a full recovery.

I had skylights put in at our place. The people who live above us aren’t too happy, though.