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Lidl - My Fruit & Veg Frenzy!
Member Name: Samm0
Advantages: Fruit & Veg Prices
Disadvantages: Some of the Customers Are A Bit Suspect At Times
I must admit, I have been something of a supermarket snob over the past few years, preferring Tesco to all others, Marks & Spencers once in a while and could just about force myself to go into Morrisons & Asda.
Due to a prolapsed disc in my spine I have become quite reliant on my mum since Christmas 2010 - she shops around for the cheapest products on offer, meaning that I too have found myself shuffling from supermarket to supermarket!
She introduced my to Lidl and Aldi (both remarkably similar stores) in January and to be honest I have never looked back! There are two Lidl's in my town, both on the edge of what could be described as deprived areas. Both have large car parks and easy access to the building via automatic doors. Trolleys are provided outside, they require a £1 coin to operate, or one of the tokens that are kept on key rings. They have a few trolleys in which babies can lie down but do not have any in which a car seat can be placed. They do however have the usual trolleys that older children are able to sit in.
Strangely, Lidl do not provide baskets - this make it quite difficult when shopping with a pram. I would normally place my basket on top of the pram. If you are lucky, you can sometimes spot an empty cardboard box to put your shopping in!
Lidl stores are bright and airy and more often than not usually quite empty, no congestion in the aisles that is common on larger supermarkets. Products are set out well, there are no high shelves and everything is in easy reach.
Initially I found product pricing on the shelves somewhat misleading. In most stores the price is placed directly under he product to be sold, in Lidl it is placed above. A few times I almost jumped for joy at the sight of a bottle of wine for 99p only to discover 99p was the price of something I did not want or need.
I find the prices in Lidl are poles apart. Fruit and veg are incredibly cheap, whereas tinned products, store cupboard items, alcohol etc are what I consider to be over priced or at least the same price as in Tesco - but without the benefit of clubcard points (my Android phone comes in handy for price checking!).
Every week my trolley is loaded with fruit and veg - some of the products are pre-packaged, others you can hand pick yourself. The fruit and veg appears more wholesome than that in mainstream supermarkets, a little bit of extra dirt, it might be tied up with string and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes - not always the standard uniform pretty looking fruit and veg. Old fashioned fruit and veg I like to call it!
My trolley load this week came to only £20.64. Here are a few examples of the prices I paid:
2 x Little Gem Lettuce = 59p
Punnet of Cherry Tomatoes = 59p
Pack of Radish = 50p
Salad Cress = 24p
Pack of celery (approx 8 sticks) = 39p
Red apples (8) = £1.39
Oranges, large, loose 4 for = £1
Kingsmill bread was also on offer, two loaves for £2.00.
The none branded cooked meats and chiller products are also very good value and do not taste any different to the more well known brands and in some cases they taste better - Lidl do two fantastic creamy coleslaws far better than any other I have tried.
Lidl also sell a limited range of none food items, these are on sale sporadically, when they have gone that's it. Special offers begin on a Thursday, a leaflet is distributed a few days before to let would be purchasers know what will be available.
It is not uncommon to see elderly folk departing with a printer or fax machine early on a Thursday morning!!
There are sometimes lengthy queues at the tills despite the aisles being virtually empty! Having said that, the till operators are amongst the speediest I have seen. Most of the bar codes on their own products are larger and much easier to scan, this seems to speed up the process.
Payment can only be made by cash or debit card, so don't take your credit card with you!
Carrier bags are available for a small charge - however my supermarket snobbish attitude still can't quite allow me to wander the streets with a Lidl carrier bag, so I take my M & S canvas bags!
The best time to shop at Lidl I find is early morning, the great unwashed don't tend to rise that early and this makes for a more pleasant shopping experience.
My local stores both open at 8am daily, one is then open until 8pm the other closes at 9pm. Both open on Sundays from 10am - 4pm.
If you love your fruit and veg, this is definitely the place to shop, you will save a fortune. Take your own carrier bags and beware of would be false 'bargains'.
Summary: Healthy Food At A Fraction of The Price