LIDL – The Wookiee at the Checkout

DCR is endebted to Mrs W. of Derby who has sent in a letter penned by her husband to the German discount supermarket chain LIDL back in 2009. Clearly, Mr.W is a man I could spend and evening happily leaning on a bar with.

13th May 2009

Dear Sir/Madam/Faceless peon of the LIDL Corporation,1

I felt compelled to write to you to convey my thoughts and musings after a first visit to one of your stores.

On entering the premises located in Derby2 at the Meteor Centre at 18.40 hours, I eventually found the few items I required – light bulbs, dishwasher tablets and a whole coconut, (stacked next to Tartan slippers and just below a torch with the power of a million candles!) and after deciphering the strange and cryptic dialect, (possibly Sanskrit?) that the costings of said items were displayed in, I proceeded to the front of the premises where, traditionally it must be said, there is an area set aside for payment, usually occupied by at least one member of the workforce.

Imagine my surprise to find this area totally devoid of human life and instead of a checkout area, the front of your store had been turned into an urban game reserve populated by something David Attenborough would describe as “Not quite the alpha male we were hoping for…?”

From the look of it, (him? Her? Chewbacca?)3 the slouched demeanour and the elongated arms hammering into an electronic device of questionable lifespan (if the force it was being struck with was any indication) – this was an actual employee. Incredible I know but please do wait as it really does get so much better.

I approached the checkout/game reserve/ape enclosure/Mos Eisley cantina4 populated by this behemoth and was greeted eventually by a single glance over it’s rather expressive shrugging shoulder, packed with disdain and the thumb over said shoulder gesture teamed with the obviously textbook ‘Welcome your customer greeting’ of “Not ‘ere, Till one !”

Lidl shewy

I have to admit that I was rather taken aback at this point to find that firstly, this thing could speak.

Secondly, it was being allowed to populate the public areas without a handler.

Thirdly, it was to all intents and purposes, clothed as the store manager.

You see, I did state it really did get so much better didn’t I ?

Imagine my delight after relocating to “Till one!” I was then treated to a few sideways glances and such sharp exhaling of breath as to embarrass an asthmatic, emphysemic pit pony. There followed much ringing of bells and bellowing of “Wheeeere’s An-dy?”5 to the rear of the store, some 40 feet away or possibly more.  As the store was empty, the echo did not take too much time to return so accurate sonar measurement was unfortunately curtailed.

Now, I understand that running a busy business is a demanding role and far be it from me, a humble customer, to expect to be served within any sort of time frame that is not on a geologic scale. But indulge me just this once please, as a wild and fanciful suggestion from totally left field.

Are you ready……..?

How about this lazy disgrace of an excuse of an employee from your corporation get up off his useless backside and attend to the needs of the person standing in front of him !

I am quite sure you have an expansive and thorough customer service training program rolling out to all employees, as every company worth its salt does. Might I suggest that at the first opportunity you visit this store to experience the majesty of your training program in its full effect?  It will take your breath away without a doubt.

It is at this point that the reason for my correspondence enters the fray.

A young man walking the length of the store with a dustpan, brush, broom, mop and bucket clutched in the way that only the terminally harassed can carry off. It was quite obvious that this young man was trying to clean the store but on recognising my need to purchase something, (who would have thought it, in a grocery store to boot?) he apologised for the delay, entered the till area, scanned the items I required and then took payment promptly and courteously. He then
thanked me for my custom and bade me farewell. Now then, if it had not been for this polite and helpful staff member I would have simply left your premises vowing never to return.

It seems that an immediate review or overhaul of your management training in customer service is necessitated.  Furthermore it is my strong belief that this young man, (server 10 on the included receipt) would be far better utilised within your business than the whipping boy position he is currently employed in.

Please feel free to respond promptly and succinctly with either your standard customer service template letter, remembering to change the font of the ‘delete as required’ sections so it all looks freshly typed…. or an honest and full explanation of how you intend to address the observations raised, your own findings after a visit to said premises and apology from the individual concerned.

The choice of which I will leave entirely to you.

I will await your response with baited breath. No, seriously I will.

Yours Sincerely

Mr R****** *****

PS. Please feel free to pop this ode to your significant level of customer service on your break room notice board for all to see.  Might I suggest next to the vacant ‘Employee of the month’ picture

  1. For those who inhabit parts of the world not yet infected with LIDL stores, LIDL is a chain of discount supermarkets based in Germany that operates over 10,000 stores across Europe. The company’s full name is Lidl (rhymes with piddle) Stiftung (pronounced stiff tongue) & Co.  Most people go there to buy cheap bottles of Bailey’s Irish Cream.  It is rumoured that some people actually go shopping there on a regular basis 

  2. Again, for our overseas readers, Derby is a city of quarter of a million souls in the East Midlands of England.  It once had a half-decent football team.   Its one claim to fame is that a 19thC member of Parliament, one Samuel Plimsoll, invented the line that is painted around every ship in the world.  No one knows why 

  3. Aka Chewie.  Big hairy dude from a species know as Wookiees.  Best known as Hans Solo’s co-pilot of the Miillennium Falcon 

  4. Mos Eisley was a spaceport on the planet Tatooine, located in a valley somewhere to the southeast of the Jundland Wastesand roughly 80 kilometers north of Anchorhead, near the desert palace of Jabba the Hutt. Chalmun’s Cantina played a crucial role as the establishment was where Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi met Han Solo and Chewbacca (see 3 above) in their quest to get to Alderaan in order to deliver the Death Star plans to the Alliance.  But you already knew that didn’t you? 

  5. Those readers old enough will know that this would sound exactly like the announcer’s introduction “Heeere’s An-dy!” which began the ‘Andy Williams Show’ on US, and later, UK television between 1959 and 1971.  The show also regularly featured the Osmond brothers (which is why most people didn’t watch it)  and a bear who was always asking for a cookie.  No one knows why 

5 thoughts on “LIDL – The Wookiee at the Checkout”

  1. After attending lidl for shopping western evening, i came out having regretting spending my money in that store! As i walked in the bread side was empty which i understood it was late afternoon. Fruit was scattered around but still enough for me to pick up what i wanted. The worst of services was the man at checkout. He was on his mobile phone whilst we waited. Then literally threw products through scanner as if he didn’t want to be there. I wanted to start friendly conversation but having seen his actions it put me off. I paid him, he threw change back at me. He was miserable. Didn’t know how to smile. Blond, big man, he was young. Ok he may have been tired from his shift, that’s understandable but no need to take it out on customers. I work in retail industry and deal with customers regularly. I manage to crack a smile every single time. The worst thing is he was more relaxed and gentle with customer after me, potentially his friend? His attitude was horrid. I would never go back to that store. Lidl in Oldham-chadderton! This man did not even have name badge. He was the only one at checkout at 7.30pm.

  2. Dear Sir/Madam/
    I decided to write to you after visiting one of your stores in Belgium in Beernem.Like many others I am doing my shopping in Lidle because I like that store very much and I believe that we costumers should be respected. I stay in Rode Cross camp with many others siking for asylum. We are unfortunate people with very tragic background and seeking for justice in this country. We might not be loved by all but we are still human being and wish to see little bit respect in places we are visiting. However, every visit of the Lidle in Wingene became a problem because people who are working there are showing disrespect, talking badly about us with local customers and insulting us . There was not any time when somebody did not cry after shopping.
    I believe that we are bringing profit to your store and would like to be respekted;
    Please, understand our position, investigate the situation, and help us to bi a little happier in your store;
    Forgive my English
    Thanks in advance

  3. well this morning 07.08.2013 I went for a half hour run feeling quite relaxed I thought to myself I will go get some pastry for breakfast for the household 16 persons in total ..walked in to lidl in the port of Glasgow (port Glasgow) to the sound of ding ding ding oh great the pastries are ready I will do my shopping filled my trolley but still the sound of ding ding rang through ..I said to one of the assistants will anybody be taking out the pastries …coz I want them NOW…(no I did not.). What I did say was when will the pastries be ready …after zooming round the store I was ready to get home with my shopping and my pastries…but it was not to be …no fat pastries for me this morning …coz the lassie said naw placing more pastries in the oven taken aside the others that had been dinging for 15 mins…they need to cool closed the glass door …walked quickly on by to serve at the till were 5 others were waiting to buy there milk..etc…I thought hey I’m in a bad mood now you don’t seem to notice or care…so here’s all my messages I no longer want…put them back on the shelve ….so now she will certainly be as annoyed as me I hope…….terrible attitude I never thought I could be capable…oh well

  4. Ivisited a lidl store in west belfast. I purchased 3 bts of wine priced on sign above pallet of rosy wine £3.99. On checking receipt found i was charged £4.99. I approached employee who stated rosy wine £4.99. On showing him sign of £3.99 above full pallet of rosy wine he told me to look closer at sign which i did . In small letters red wine £3.99. in large letters.checked other side of sign small letters white wine. In large letters again £3.99. my point is this is a total deception on lidls behalf why have these prices on wine at £4.99.

  5. dear sir/madam,i went lidl to at halton moor in leeds and the customer sevices was really is my regular shopping place .i like shopping at lidl ,on 23/01/2013 between 2 to 3 ;30 pm a customer services guy of your store was very ,very rude to me,i mean extremely rude simple because i asked for change to get a troley.the way and manner he disgrace me in front of the customers let me feel ignored. he told me am very busy with customer so i cant while am a customer as well all that i needed was change to get a troley.can you pls talk to this guy to learn how to talk to customers .i work at customer services myself n i know what am talking not complaining because i want him to be sack frm his work but to know how to talk to customer ever if you are busy.iwas very a shame of myself because those on the quene were stairing at me which makes me very annoyed .pls do something about that thanks abena frm leeds


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