Lidl, Aberystwyth

Bethan and I have fallen behind on our reviewing recently (working away, illness, poverty, the usual)
Just as we were deciding where to review next, I mentioned some of the excellent food I’d had from Lidl’s Deluxe range.
She surprised me by saying she’d been there recently as well. She had expected it to be cheap, but hadn’t expected it to be such good quality.

So we set off for Lidl together to share their best bargains with you.

Lidl isn’t a handsome shop from the outside.
You look at those bright, primary colours.
You remember its long-held reputation (poor food for poor people) and wonder if its that different to Iceland next door.
Lidli ChocBut once you’re in, it’s better.
You’re greeted by a big display of fresh flowers and an extensive, well-priced selection of chocolate.
I was very taken by how attractive it looked, so took a photo.
A member of staff appeared from nowhere and politely asked us not to take photos.

We moved on to the instore bakery.
Most people don’t expect there to be an instore bakery, and certainly not such a good (and well-priced one)
“Take a picture of it!” hissed Bethan
“I can’t!” I hissed back
We looked around. There was nobody about. I took this picture.
Lidl BakeryDoesn’t it look nice. Much classier than their garish outside implies.

I felt a hand on my shoulder.
A polite but firm young man in a suit asking us to leave.
We tried to explain why we were there, that we love their food, that we were writing a blog praising them to the skies.
But he wasn’t interested.
“We asked you politely not to take photos, you still did, so you have to leave.” (fair point)

And in a moment, we were out on the street.
This was a shame, because we wanted to show our readers (and we’ve just had our 10,000th) some of the great stuff they have

We do have some photos of food we have bought (assuming Lidl don’t mind us photographing their food at home)
So we’ll show you those, and then look at why Lidl are so paranoid about photos.

Lidl HamI bought this whole leg of Serrano ham at Easter, and it has been fantastic.
Yes, £40, but it weighs over 6.5kg and is delicious.

You can barely get a whole leg for £40 in Spain, and sliced up from the deli it can cost £5 per 100g.
Carving is trickier than you might think – if you go too thick, it’s too chewy. You need it almost transparant, so you need a good knife.
But you’ll soon have the hang of it – my grandson did and he’s only cut one finger off so far
Carving HamThis cheese selection has been a great buy too.
Lidl CheeseCheddar, manchego, blue stilton, Wensleydale with cranberries and French brie.
Not huge pieces, but for a fiver it’s silly money

And look at this tapas …
Lidl 2 Tapas
Feta cheese,  rich black olives, stuffed green olves, stuffed vine leaves, (hot!) stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms.

Their olive oil is excellent too.
Lidl TapasWe had an excellent buffet for six for not much money (and we’re still eating the Serrano ham now, weeks later)
Lidl Carved Serrano HamYou might have guessed that we’re big fans of the Deluxe range.
Yes, on our last visit, there was a tattoo’d ruffian drinking lager in the checkout queue. And there is a vast amount of unhealthy crisps and biscuits to help keep Britain obese.
But lots of Lidl’s food rivals high-end shops for quality, but not for price.

So why are they  paranoid about photos?
I initially thought they imagined we were from a rival supermarket, doing research, or maybe we were journalists doing a story about horsemeat (Lidl were fingered in the scandal, but so were many others) (and what’s so bad about horsemeat? I like it)

However, The Guardian and The Times have both run stories claiming camera  surveillance of employees is widespread in Lidl.
They claim detailed files are kept on employees.
Workers are not allowed to join trades unions (it has been convicted of anti-union activity in Italy) and managers have to sign a waiver opting themselves out of the EU Working Time Directive (maybe that’s why the manager we met wasn’t so chatty)

Lidl doesn’t pay suppliers less for its products – it saves money by getting more out of each employee.
Morrisons may put out an announcement every five minutes begging “Till-trained staff to checkout” but you can see immediately there are more staff there.
I’ve never seen a manager out on the floor of Lidl, except when they were throwing us out.
The  staff are kept under pressure, and very closely monitored, but pay rates are good so they put up with the bullshit. And there’s a good team spirit in the shop.
Leaving products in their boxes saves Lidl a lot of time, and customers accept that things will move around the shop and even vanish.

The display of fresh flowers, and an in-house bakery, show Lidl at a crossroads – are they trying to be more like the big supermarkets?
And they have to sort out their booze – it’s terrible (unlike Aldi who are excellent)

EDIT – 27 MAY 2014
Just popped in for more of their excellent peanut butter, and was dismayed to see that the big “Deluxe” display had gone.
It had been replaced by a completely random selection of things like drill bits and flasks
Lidl had a winner with their Deluxe range, why they’ve thrown it away is a mystery to me

6 thoughts on “Lidl, Aberystwyth”

  1. I shop there about once a week, iv never had any issues with lidl staff, except they could be more willing to open tills, and till staff to not talk to each other while serving customers but it makes the job more pleasant, and the staff are lovly, I would also like to welcome katy to the Aberystwyth store she is lovly, on her first day while learning everything she was dumped on tills due to so mant customers lined up, and I gota say she done very well, bit slow perhaps but everyone gota start somewhere, shes lovly.
    staff as a general talk enough not so much there nosy or not surving etc but enough to be pleasant, customers above need to remember lidl is not a pub or nightclub its a shop its a place you buy things you need not catch up on gossip and saying hello, how are you and what’s for dinner for half a hour, lidl generally is good yes room for improvement, sell nesquick milk shake strawberry big tubs and large packs of cushell toilet rolls at low price like you use to 32 rolls £7.99 instead of £9.99 bargin

  2. I fully agree with Ms. Hughes comments of the 15th July that “there seems to be a culture of disrespect towards customers in Lidl Aberystwyth, and a culture of blaming the customer when the staff there do something wrong” . I was in Lidl’s yesterday at about 11.15 and I was overcharged by £6.45 for cashew nuts because the trainee cashier made an error and typed in the wrong product code. The deputy manager, a small gingerish chap with a serious attitude problem and a huge chip on his shoulder was extrenely rude, abusive, racist and slow in sorting out the refund. There is a tendency for Aberystwyth customer service to be poor and lacking in respect, bur he was an extreme example. I have registered a formal complaint amd I sincerely hope he gets seriously disciplined. I shall not shop there again until he is gone. Despicable!!

  3. I am a student in Aberystywth and I totally agree with you both. John you are not the only one that has problems from this particular cashier, she’s very ‘gobby’ when I got served by her she decided to give me ‘Dirty Looks’ I even asked ‘How are you’ But not a peek. Then she decided to slam my products down, I wont be shopping in there again. Terrible terrible customer service.

  4. After slipping on a spillage which was impossible to know was there (no sign/couldn’t see it) and hurting myself and then, instead of being asked if I was OK, suffered a tirade of abuse from the Deputy Manager because she knew she was in the wrong and had handled the situation badly, I think I’ll be shopping elsewhere. Great food but very bad customer service from an extremely rude and immature Deputy Manager – it’s a good job the rest of the staff aren’t the same and that the Manager is a decent and helpful human being.

  5. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing this letter to bring your attention that i am not satisfied with an employees customer service at Lidl Aberystwyth. I want you to know i was very upset with your staff’s performance. What happened you may be thinking.. well, there was no ‘Hello’ ‘How are you’ No manners, just dirty looks. This happens to be not the first time this employee has been ‘disrespectful’ but the second, I’ve also heard from other parties that she was very rude to them aswell. This employee has Red hair, Im certain her name is Samantha and she works in Lidl Aberystwyth. I have been a regular client of your buisness but now im completely dissapointed, i expect quality services from you and request you to address this issue with immediate attention.

    “Our customers are the most important people in our business. Our aim is to fulfil customer needs at all times and to offer the perfect environment for a more pleasant and enjoyable shopping experience, so both store cleanliness and short queues are priorities for us. Should you have any questions, our store staff are always happy to assist.”

    – Acording to your website your staff are”always happy” .. I think not.

    Yours sincerely

    John. F.

    1. Dear John
      I know this may sound a bit odd – but I am pleased to hear I am not the only person who has had a bad experience in Lidl – though I am really sorry that you’ve been treated badly too; it is absolutely not acceptable to treat customers disrespectfully and we should not be afraid to speak out when this happens. I agree with you, there seems to be a culture of disrespect towards customers in Lidl Aberystwyth, and a culture of blaming the customer when the staff there do something wrong . I slipped and hurt myself and instead of an apology, got a tirade of abuse for pointing out that I didn’t see the spillage on the floor because there was no sign. The Deputy Manager suggested it was my fault I slipped because I failed to see the ‘big white mark’ on the floor’! When I pointed out Lidl was in the wrong, she started hurling abuse at me and trying to make out that I was shouting and pointing my finger at her, which I wasn’t – but if I had have been, would have been quite within my rights to do so. There was no reasoning with her, so I walked away and she shouted after me (I was in the other aisle and out of view by this point) ‘Yes, get out, go and shop somewhere else we don’t want your sort in here’! I was shocked and humiliated and when I told her I was going to make a formal complaint, she just shrugged and said ‘go on then.’ I could not believe what I was going through and to be honest, at the moment I feel too scared to go back in there as I was so badly shaken by the whole experience. I have made a formal complaint about what happened to me and hope that Lidl do something to address the attitudes of staff there. I could have been seriously hurt – thankfully I wasn’t – but no thanks to Lidl staff. I hope others who have been treated badly there also feel able to speak out.

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