So, yesterday I wrote an open letter to Food Lion and alluded to the fact that I was using Lidl as my primary grocery store despite it being a further drive away. Actually, there’s a location not too far out of my way on my drive home from work, though it is still a good 15-20 minutes away from home depending on traffic.
I’ve only shopped there a few times and have been very happy with the experience.
To start out with Lidl’s claim to fame is cheap prices and on dried goods is even cheaper than Food Lion. Even better, their prices on meat are fabulous and the quality is superb. I have a small soft sided cooler that is perfect for keeping my cold items cold in transit.
Lidl charges (I think) for bags and you bag your groceries yourself. Which is where my first (and really only) suggestion is:
On my first trip to Lidl, I wasn’t sure what their system was, but I had thought I’d heard that it was better to bring your own bags so I did. When I got to checkout, I was the only person in line and my cashier started putting my groceries on the “back” conveyor rather than the front one.
At the checkout, you put your items on the normal single conveyor for the cashier, then she has the option of two conveyors to put the groceries on for you to pack yourself the front one that looks like a normal system and the back one which puts you, essentially, in the next line, depending on how you stand to pack your bags.
So, the cashier starts putting my groceries on the back conveyor, way far away from me, and I was confused about what I was supposed to do. Did I pay and then load or did I load and then pay (the latter is my usual system at normal grocery stores). I mentioned my confusion and the cashier said that her system is to always put the first customer on the back conveyor so that they could take their time loading while she checked out anyone behind them.
This was a brilliant idea! Which I told her :-).
So, I paid and took my time packing my groceries because she was getting off duty then anyway. It was a relaxing and wonderful experience!
Since then, I’ve had all kinds of experiences with cashiers because it seems that they each have their own system for organizing customers and for the most part it’s been fine, except this last time when the only two open registers where right next to each other.
Remember, I told you that there are two conveyors and the back one is most easily accessed by the next lane over. Yeah, what happened was a traffic jam because both the customer for the back conveyor of lane 5 was in our lane (4) packing her groceries. Plus, the customer in front of me was at the front conveyor for us, which also put her in lane 4. My groceries were put on the back conveyor and I had a bit of trouble getting to them because of the jam up in front of me. I wasn’t in a hurry, but I did feel a bit awkward trying to wiggle my way through.
So, my suggestion is that when a cash register is being opened, it shouldn’t be right next to another open register unless it’s the only option available. I’d also suggest standardizing how cashier’s place customer’s groceries after scanning. I really liked the idea of putting the first customer always on the back conveyor, but I realize that when it’s busy that probably wouldn’t make a huge difference.
To be clear, the entire front of my Lidl store has a counter that can be used to pack your bags in the event you just put everything back into your cart loose rather than packing your bags at the conveyor. I kind of do a hybrid of this because I never being enough bags with me so I end up doing my real packing at my car :-).
I’ll end this letter with a shining review for Lidl’s premade frozen hamburgers:
OH MY GOD! THEY’RE AMAZING!!
My biggest problem with premade frozen hamburgers is that you never really know what you’re buying and usually they shrink a lot! Like, they start out at an okay size relative to the bun and then shrink to about half of that diameter and even with a small bun, the hamburger gets dwarfed by the bun.
Well, I made a Lidl hamburger this after noon for my lunch and was using their cheap Lidl buns, which are of a normal size, I guess? They’re not the huge “BK Whopper” size buns I get when I’m feeling fancy, but these are a good serving size and only like $0.65 for 8! They’re the same size as any other cheap regular store brand buns.
I always put my hotdog and hamburger buns into the freezer immediately because they’re more of a staple and I don’t usually plan a meal around them. Usually these buns wrinkle up quickly from the cold (which doesn’t bother me), but these actually stayed smooth and round after freezing. It was nice.
But anyway, about the hamburgers themselves! They barely shrunk! In fact, they were a lot bigger than the bun! It was amazing!! I really wasn’t expecting that because they’re not labeled as being particularly premium. And they cost like $4.50 for 12, if that much.
I’ve yet to have any disappointments from my trips to Lidl. I love being able to stock the house for $60 including a few yummy extras!