I went to Lidl this week. Well, the car needed a run, and where better to go than on a crap adventure to a value supermarket of dubious standing?
Initial thoughts were foreboding, with a big sign telling you not to park for more than 90 minutes in case Mr Lidl was forced to make bad things happen, and a strange underground lobby full of cleaning-in-progress signs and not a lot of actual cleaning. I took the stairs to yet another pre-emporium lobby, this one containing the actual entrance to the shop.
Inside is a bit odd; stuff just kind of piled around with some loose logic of similar things being in kept in the same place applied. Vegetables are displayed directly in their packing crates and there are lots of things heaped in dump bins. A bit like stepping into a Kwik Save from the late ’90s in that it’s all very pared down with no nonsense, although unlike a Kwik Save I didn’t spot any products that had zoomed past their sell-by date several months previously.
I bought some things. Most of the things have now been consumed or otherwise put to use.
- Serrano Ham (£1.49) – pretty good. Larger quantity and slightly stronger taste compared to a similarly-priced pack from Sainsbury’s.
- “Mixxed Up Classic Stimulation Drink” (29p) – every so often I try one of the Red Bull knockoffs to see what it’s like. This one is almost identical. Maybe a little sweeter.
- Chocolate Cream Dessert (29p) – tasteless brown glop covered in tasteless white foamy stuff. Briefly diverting for for its alien texture, but not an advisable purchase.
- Mozzarella ball (47p) – good but a bit salty. Seemed to decompose a bit on melting compared to the Galbani stuff.
- Alfredo Pizza “Inferno” (£1.29) – the refrigerated pizzas looked a bit grim so I was apprehensive about this frozen one from the same brand, but I needn’t have been.
a) The most bastarding hot chilli pizza I’ve ever bought, and that includes the limited-edition one Ask were knocking out a few years ago.
b) I’ve paid more for worse. Ingredients and base were both good quality, only the cheese was skimped on a little.
- Salad Tomatoes (59p) – were tomatoes.
What’s reasonably obvious from the above is that the products are kept cheap by the judicious addition of salt, sugar or strong flavours to mask what might be missing compared to the full-price equivalent. I think I prefer this to the endless grey goo of the usual supermarkets’ economy ranges, which might not kill you as soon but will certainly make you wish they had.
Thus concludes the research. I have Actual Uses for the car over the next couple of weeks, obviating the need for pointless trips solely to stop it rusting in place, so no need to worry about any follow-on investigations of the local Aldi or Netto just yet.