Lidl, is it just the one in my town, or are they ALL the same in this

I love certain things in Lidl. I don't but a lot there, we get all out meat in the butchers, all our fruit and veg in the greengrocers, and all our dairy in the Co-op.

I do, however, love the Lord Nelson Earl Grey tea they stock, plus I love rummaging around in the "new weekly crap" area, for drill bits, glue, stuff for the garden,or car. Never know when you might need a cheap and nasty motorbike jacket... ok, that last bit is a hilarious joke...

There is a BUT, yes, a huge one in capital letters.

There are 5 tills in total. Only one is ever manned. No matter if the queue wraps itself around the last aisle, and up the second last, and only then will the cashier ring a bell, and tell a couple of people to go to the neighbouring caisse, and wait for her colleague. The colleague comes 12-14 minutes later, normally, and opens up shop like she really really just wants to curl up and die. The queue gets smaller, and one by one, we all escape, after 2 minutes of shopping, 15 of queueing, and only a box of teabags to show for it.

While I'm at it, I might throw in the enthusiasm of all staff, or lack thereof, the fact that nothing is ever stacked, shelved, or categorized right, and it's like a jumble sale trying to find what actually matches with the price panels (in some cases none, as I once was shopping with a neighbour and watched her buy carrots clearly marked "spain" on the box, even though the panel said "France", and the same for cucumbers.)... what else.... oh, yes, there is always, but ALWAYS someone who wants to create a huge "cliché French queue" scene, where they decide they will not wait, and either storm out, leaving ice creams on the floor, or try to skip the queue, whereby suddenly all the hidden staff members come out of the woodwork.

Ok, I've complained enough, I must save some in case this actually gets discussed, so I might have something to say.

bottom line is this. I don't know how it works in other businesses, but hotels is mine. I understand that in a 2 star hotel, there are less staff, so you might need to ring the bell to get the receptionist to serve you a drink, or the waiter at night might be the same guy sent to your room with an ironing board the following day. You pay cheaper, so you get a lower level of service than, say, in a 5 star hotel where there is someone to open the door for you, someone to carry your bag, and if the hotel is good enough, you will have one waiter look after your table for your entire stay.

What is Lidl's deal. I understand that we are supposed to be paying less (are we really?? I never look at the prices, I just want my tea bags, and am a snob when it comes to factory raised meat, and brazillian imported transgenic vegetables. so, ok, people have said they're just as pricey, but lets pretend they ARE cheaper. Does this really merit the heartache??

what I really want to know is, is this a general policy of Lidl, or is the one in my town just really really REEEEALLY badly run.


The staff shortages, I am told, keep the prices of the goods on offer down! It is a frustating experience shopping there and I am in Deux-Sevres, so presume they are all the same!


i'll test out the bread, when i get back from hols, they'll have it up and running by then. they still need to do something about the bad attitudes working there, though.

Zoe the bread is tasty and the range is excellent....though Ive been told it baked as in delivered to Lidl ready to bake...but is very yummy. Even better the new fine wines they are selling....have tried all of them and they are very good for the prices....

lol, was in mine for sugar (the fair trade cassonade) last week, and they've ripped out half the walls, and are putting in a bakery!!

dunno how that'll go down with the nearby bakery, but we'll see.

True, Mark, i detest "made in China", and will avoid it at all costs. I have bought gardening equipment in there years and years ago, but, me being a weak litle girl, I broke a secateurs, saw, and sprinkler attachment, and vowed never to buy anything of the sort again.

I'm a brand snob when it comes to gardening equipment, and DIY bits and bobs, just as I'm a food snob with food. I won't buy Polish mushrooms in Lidl, when there are local French ones in the greengrocer just around the corner. I will, however, buy feta in there, because I want GREEK feta, and the main supermarkets have all nice fancy looking salakis labels, but when you read the small print, the cheese is made here, or in Germany, or Holland.

Sound inconsistent?? I am, lol.

I really think I must say something in defence of my favourite pile-'em high supermarket. Unwomanned tills (I don't think I've ever seen a man in a Lidl, presumably because they wouldn't tolerate the wages offered) are just the price you pay for the weekly anticipation of what's on special offer this week. I've bought virtually all my tools from Lidl and generally find them purdy damn good for the price. They're made in Germany, after all, and not in China. What's more, if ever there is a fault, I know that I can take them back without a quibble or the kind of inquisition that you get in most French enterprises. The food in my 'ever so 'umble' is generally of good quality. Their Bio Fair Trade coffee, for example, is excellent and sells at a price that knocks all similar products elsewhere into a cocked hat. The Spanish wine is uncommonly drinkable given the modesty of the price.

To my German friends, Achim and Martina, Lidl is a byword for all that is unspeakable, largely because of the economic model that Brian outlines. I don't admit to them that I shop there. I would be deeply ashamed if they were ever to find out. So I take my chances and continue to go there for essentials and buy our vegetables at the weekly market in Martel. Lidl doesn't tie in with the kind of ethical principles I try to live by, but I just can't help myself. We all need a little hypocrisy in our lives. Maybe it's that seductive blue and yellow paint work that seems to work for them as well as it works for Ikea.

Time to leave then, I think. Bye!

dunno if it's the region, generally in Haute Savoie, everyone is very warm and welcoming (after they realise we're not from Paris-75 registered car).

Oh! Definitivement.

Ooops - I'm new here, so I've missed the best bits?

I find it astonishing that this conversation began at the end of April. Will it never end? If only we had an Aldi here. So I suppose that starts it off again.

Hi Zoe,

actually we have two LIDL stores we use, depends on which markets we go to. One in Brive, and the other in Biars sur Cere (close to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne). We also used the one in Lons-le-Saunier where we previously lived, and I can't honestly say the attitutes there are bad at all, maybe its the region? I still maintain the cash registers and scanners are far faster than the other stores, so even what seem lengthy queues seems to get dealt with far quicker. Maybe also the cashiers don't stop to chat to customers, which can be seen as nice, but can drive you nuts when you are not the one being chatted to?

I will agree about the shelf stockage though, that can be a bit hit and miss - notably with the cat food, so I usually grab what's there - trays or even the few tins on display, but most other things are usually there, so I honestly can't complain.

Part of life's rich pattern eh?

Norman, if your Lidl cashiers move faster than your local Carrefours... I might consider moving house. Ours are not only slow, but have bad attitude.

Well, it must be me as I think LIDL is very good, but like ,the curate's egg - in parts!

In my experience the Lidl checkout / scanner is miles ahead of Carrefour, Intermarche etc., much, much faster.

Yes the choice is relatively 'liddle' (joke - sorry) but things I find that ARE definitely cheaper and better are 1) Tins of cat food, my two won't eat anything else now, 2) Vins de Pay d'Oc - at €1.59 a litre bottle I expected vinegar but now have my totally acceptable 'quaffing' wine, and there are others c) Pizzas that are one-third cheaper than Leclerc for example d) Strong beer in cans (look German but are French) at half the price of other bulk crap.

In case this looks like a strange diet, it isn't, as these are just my selections of add-ons. Like others we now buy from the farms or producers markets - around Brive mainly. Veggies are often a good buy in Lidl as well I have found, plus spaghetti.

My wife (French) holds her nose metaphorically in Lidl, but even she finds a few things worthwhile there.

Service? Well it's not really something the French are renowned for is it? But which Supermarket or shop anywhere can really claim that? The worst and most arrogant service I have ever had was in Harrod's a few years back. Most people seem to be doing a job they hate just to earn a living, and it shows. Human nature I suppose.

Maybe being pensioners makes the difference?

haha, nice 1.. the post office battle is one of my favourites. Not as much fun here in Haute Savoie as it was up in Paris though. Those grannies could be pretty nifty.

Where is the blue line.. Auchan? or Carrefour... I saw an elderly couple get kicked out of a supermarket once for abusing everyone in sight, and citing the "blue line" as a reason.

Meanwhile, back where I grew up, people drone away in queues for hours on end, with no "light entertainment".....

At Carrefour yes, they eventually get another cashier out from the back dungeon, not quickly you understand and obviously the person drags out looking thoroughly put out to be called to the till....and my OH was in the post office last year...when a nifty 70 plus year old lady jumped the queue in front of him....he was not happy and told her to move to the back of the queue....she pulled the 'little old lady' card... with lots of facial expressions and hand signals...and the lady in the post office refused to serve her and told her to go to the back of the queue....someone behind my husband patted him on the back and said well done!

Does another cashier come, Carol? I notice locals getting irate here about plenty of things, but nothing is ever put back in order-like when someone (well, everyone.. skips the queue in the post office, and everyone kicks a fuss... the offending party still gets processed first, and those that kicked a fuss are ridiculed.

Even by me.

Maybe its different 'down south'...but we have a Tesco's, Sainsburys and Waitrose...all huge a budgens, M&S, Lidl and a couple of small metro stores...and can honestly say even in the little Budgens...if there are more than 2 in a queue they call on the tannoy for an extra cashier...and they only have 4 tills...but never keep people waiting. The large supermarkets in the UK have a policy not to let customers wait and will always put extra staff on...thats why all their staff have to be till trained including all the managers. Here in the Dordogne...our small town has a smallish Carrefour...and two smaller Spars.....the only time there are extra cashiers is the 6 weeks of the summer holidays...and the Carrefour does away with its 2 hour lunch break then as soon as the holiday over...we are back to one cashier for the 6 matter if there are 20 people waiting...I do notice though that the local French get quite cross and will demand another cashier...

Sounds familiar. We have a similar problem with Netto. Mind you they only have 2 tills anyway, but only one is ever manned [or rather. womanned]. It's not a French thing though. The Co-op supermarket in our "English Town" [Pickering] has 12 tills, only 3 of which are ever open, regardless of the length of queues. Who ever thought it reasonable that customers should queue for long periods to get out of a shop?

Completely intentional Brian ;-)