MALE friends won’t believe me, but I don’t much like shopping. Not for me “a day out” at Bluewater, or an afternoon “just looking” at Westwood Cross. The mere thought of Canterbury brings me out in a rash.
I go to retail parks when I absolutely have to (you can’t get it in the High Street and it’s too late for online).
And I stick with devotion to the same (small) supermarkets. I’ve been a Waitrose woman for over 25 years (both food and staff are lovely) with occasional forays to Asda (cheaper wine and flowers) or the Broadstairs Co-op (handy to shoot into at half past five, when one’s run out of crisps).
I loathe great big stores – I have been known to abandon a trolley and run screaming from the Tesco at Westwood – and have only managed to tour the whole of Ikea because the cafe is licensed.
So you would not expect me to get particularly excited because the Ramsgate Aldi has been extended. I was there, dear reader, at 8 am. I have had a fascination with the new breed of cheap supermarket since Lidl won an award for their cut-price champagne and the middle classes were caught flocking there in their 4x4s to buy smoked salmon.
“Have you been?” I asked my sister. “Oh yes!” she declared, as I knew she would. My older sibling is a one-woman, walking equivalent of a price-comparison site. Name a product, and she will tell you where you can get it cheapest. I am thinking of hiring her out by the hour. I could make a fortune, while you save one. I took a deep breath. “Take me,” I said.
Thus began the tradition of what has become known as the “Lidl Breakfast” whereby we meet early, I gasp my way round a bargain store of some description, and then we go to a cafe for eggs on toast.
We frequently have the shops to ourselves at that hour, but on re-opening day, we arrived at the newly enlarged Boundary Road store to find the car park full and a party atmosphere. There were balloons and a stall with free samples and bacon rolls. Inside, there were dozens of Aldi Big Brass, suited and booted, standing near the brilliant flowers (gorgeous roses, only £2 a bunch) and talking to each other. My sister tutted. “They should be giving out vouchers,” she said, “not ignoring us.”
I suppose when you are buying biscuits for pennies you can’t expect “Did you find everything you needed, Madam?” too, but even “Good morning” would have been a start.
Instead, my sister walked me round Aldi pointing out bargains. “See those cleansing wipes?” she said. “64p. Do you know how much Simple ones are? Over three quid.” I obediently put some in my trolley. I also bought bottles of montepulciano – excellent value at £3.49 – beer for the boy, tissues at half of what I usually pay and some cut-price cat food.
I suspect, however, that where these stores score, is on the impulse purchase. Carried away by the excitement of vastly reduced cheese straws, I somehow found myself buying frozen quails and a box of Coquille St Jacques (last time I went to Lidl I came out with a set of heated, fake-sheepskin, neck and shoulder pads and a plastic broom) and I realise the genius is in mixing in non-bargains with the undeniably cheap, in the hope that nobody really notices that some of it is not the economy one might think.
But they’re now taking credit cards (an improvement) and although I resent tokens for trolleys, at least the smiley girl on the checkout (bosses – you could learn a thing or two from her) gave us some.
The whole trip was, as usual, strangely thrilling, while leaving me with that slight guilty sense I’d been disloyal. Until the next time, Aldi! I’m off to Waitrose…
Read the original article at: http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Plain-Jane-Lidl-helps/story-24559978-detail/story.html
Fantastic article, Jane. I can fully understand your hatred of shopping. That’s me too. I just nip in and out as quickly as humanly possible. Can’t stand browsing and the thought of window shopping in an overcrowded city brings me out in more than a rash 🙂 The horns sprout, the face turns a putrid green and heaven help those that make body contact 🙂 All the best!
I on the other hand love shopping but mainly when the store is empty. It’s people I have a problem with, not the shopping. I’m normally an ASDA sometimes Morrison’s Man but at this time of the year the specials in ALDI and LIDL make it too hard to resist. Many products come out best in taste and value tests compared to bigger brands, it’s just a shame they don’t carry everything I need that some of the bigger Supermarkets do. I’m talking ciggies here.
xxx Huge Hugs Jane xxx
I’m spoilt with a Tesco Metro and Co-op at the end of my road and an Asda a 10-minute walk away. Lidl and Aldi are both driving distance which is just as well as I always go mad. I love them for their non-British (mostly German) items that you wouldn’t get anywhere else, although the horrendous queues have put me off, so like David, I go late at night when it’s quiet. I’ve been to both in Germany and they’re very similar so it reminds me of being back there. Morrison’s is great too but in the areas of town I rarely go to, so I overshop when I do go.
The advantage of the nearest shops is that I walk so I don’t buy too much although the Metro doesn’t have a great choice and the Co-op never have enough staff (you’d think they’d cotton on to that when those queueing give up and dump the stuff they want to buy and walk out). None of these (Northampton) shops have cafes (even unlicenced ones) but then I’m not a fan of shopping so even when I have time to wander, it’s a quick fill up a box, pay and leave.
I’m not sure if I am brave enough to put all my eggs in one basket and take the risk of getting all my shopping in one of these new discount supermarkets. I, like you, don’t like shopping much. I go by convenience most of the time. We don’t have a Lidl or Aldi in Woking. But we have 2 Asdas, a Morrisons and a Tescos Superstore and Sainsburys Superstore nearby. So depending on where I am on shopping day, that is where I shop. So maybe that makes me in the words of Paul Young – a “wherever I lay my hat” kind of shopper!
Thanks all comments. I tweeted the article to Aldi and Waitrose but no grateful thanks have been forthcoming as yet…. 🙂