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There's Lidl proof it's cheaper!
Member Name: Emma1973
Date: 13/05/12, updated on 14/05/12 (302 review reads)
Advantages: Good for novelty items. Fruit, veg and meat are decent prices
Disadvantages: Can be more expensive than the main supermarkets.
Back in 1994 there were rumours of a new phenomenon flying around the country. Tales of a new supermarket originally from Germany that offered extremely low prices was rumoured to have the likes of Tesco and Asda quaking in their cut price shoes.
They were a novelty, you could wander in and look at these jars of pickled vegetables long before there were Polish supermarkets. Long before the Poundworlds they were stocking strange generic health and beauty products such as 'Washyourhair' and 'Stinkysmells' for men. But now they are everywhere their cheery yellow signs pulling us in. But the age old question remains, is it worth a trip?
Amazingly in a Lidl you cant get a basket necessitating popping a pound in for a small trolley. All of course to blackmail you into buying more rather than be embarrassed by the tub of Greek yoghurt and bananas that seem to occupy an extremely small corner of the trolley making you look a bit of a cheapskate.
Contrary to every other supermarket I've ever been in Lidls always seem to have their soft drinks as soon as you walk in. I personally tried lemonade then found it was much better employed as getting the paint off my interior doors. There's loads of different cartons of juice, very occasionally they have offers but to be honest I'm not convinced about the price or quality.
They also have these huge tins of Chilli Con Carne or Bolognese for about a £1. Now I've never actually seen anyone buy these and can only say its a good job that food has to be labelled as otherwise I'm not sure that I would believe what this and other products purpose to have in as regards what meat in it and how much!
I'll put their confectionery and bakery together. There's a lot of German and Swiss products there which can taste rather odd sometimes. European chocolate is very different to the UK stuff. There's a lot of those butter biscuits with sugar grains on top, marzipan flavoured cakes with icing sugar and lots of Swiss chocolate. They used to do a lovely chocolate bar with Smartie type beans in it, but alas no more. I will mention that their bread isn't cheaper than the supermarkets!
They have a very small fridge section which is mostly taken up with various types of yoghurt and cottage cheese. Don't buy your Muller Lights here though they always announce they are on special offer, they're always more expensive than elsewhere. Their ready made lasagne is the best of its kind that I've tasted. Of course there's a good range of salami and continental sausages.
There's a small pet and household cleaning section, not that cheap and now completely redundant with the rise of the pound shops.
Perhaps the oddest thing about Lidl is their rows of goods down the middle of the shop. It changes every Thursday and usually follows no rhyme or reason but is sometimes season based. In winter there will be skiing equipment, goggles and the like. Not much call for those in the area of Manchester I live in! In summer there's lots of camping and seaside things such as wind breakers, camping saucepans. Now you can usually find a bargain here.
The rest of the stuff is very varied, flat pack chest of drawers (cheaper in Argos), art supplies (cheaper in Poundland) and various DIY products (more expensive than B &Q and Poundland). Do you see a theme here? Of course they still sell 'Washyourhair' and 'Stinkysmells' and loads of other lotions and potions. The booze is fairly small, though it does have quite a few bottled ales and occasionally offers on the likes of Carlsberg. There are of course spirits to be had 'Gotrut' and 'Cirrhosis', seriously though that's what they'll probably do to you. However to the wary they look just like other own brand spirits.
Their wines however can be a lot more palatable. They do my absolute favourite South African Pinotage at less than £4 a bottle. A few other people know the quality of this wine so I tend to buy 6 or so bottles when I go there.
I mostly go in there for the fresh meat or fruit and veg. They do the most extraordinary good value, sometimes a packet of pork chops or chicken breasts for under £4. Their fruit and veg is reasonably priced as well.
Lidl was also the first supermarket to introduce paying for your carrier bag as well, an idea that caused some consternation at first and must have made the company an absolute fortune till everyone came around to the idea AND remembered to bring their own.
As can be seen I'm not impressed I still think its trading on the myth that its cheaper than the other shops, in my experience it isn't except on a few items, most of which is negated by the pound shops.
The shelves are always stocked, the stores are always clean, and the staff helpful and polite. Apart the fact that they stick the stuff straight back into your trolley and you have to go pack it yourself. Another novelty!
A novelty is precisely what Lidl is and not a viable alternative to other supermarkets.
Summary: A budget supermarket that started the 'bring your own bag' phenomonen.