Friday 18 September 2015


Congratulations to Lidl for announcing that they will pay the Living Wage as of next month.

I wish I could say that it had swayed me to transfer my business to them, but as I already do a lot of my shopping there, I can't say it has.

Lidl impress me as a business and as a store.

During the referendum campaign, I was insulted by one of the staff in my local Lidl, who ridiculed the YES sweat shirt I was wearing, and then insisted on telling me, in front of a queue of customers, that prices would double in an independent Scotland. I asked him if that was official Lidl policy. He mumbled no, and as he saw the black look on my face, he started to look a bit worried...

I walked from the shop absolutely furious, but without saying or doing anything. When I got home I was still so angry that I wrote to Lidl Customer Services, telling them of the incident (without mentioning the lad's name) and asking if it was going to be their policy to double prices in an independent country. I pointed out that I didn't seriously believe it was, and even if it had been it wouldn't have swayed my decision, but there were other customers who had heard the exchange.

I received, almost immediately, a fulsome apology, explaining that they had no such policy, that they would, depending on economic circumstances, adjust their prices up or down or leave them the same in the event of independence. They also said that they would arrange for staff to be instructed to remain completely neutral in front of customers in future. They didn't ask for the guys name, and I wouldn't have given it to them if they had. I see no point in getting a guy disciplined or even sacked for a stupid mistake.

I was seriously impressed with the way that the management team dealt with the situation, and I carried on shopping in the store. 

I just have one request of Lidl now. please introduce a contactless payment system as soon as you can. My bank gives me 5% cash back on the first hundred pounds spent using this type of payment every month. That's £60 a year!!!

Aldi has the technology, as does Morrisons. You need to catch up.
Put politicians on minimum wage and you'll
see how quickly things will change
It's high time that every company paid the living wage and that the living wage was, indeed, a wage you could live on. Not just here but as the illustration shows, in France too!


  1. [/sarcasm]

    Bloody foreigners, coming over here , paying staff a living wage.

    They will put us all out of business.

    [/sarcasm off]

    1. Yep... Damned cheek...and they are doing good English companies like Tesco out of business.


    2. and they are doing it ... erm ... DELIBERATELY ... aren't they George (Foulkes)?

  2. Contactless payment is even more insecure than 4-digit pins.

    Seriously. The system is so easily breakable by anyone with a mind to do so it's ridiculous.

    Just think about the theory for a second: Radio conversations are *stupidly* easy to listen in on, to the point where radio frequencies are assigned by law to cut the chatter so you can actually hear who you want to hear (and we still have problems with the home wireless network spectrum). And these people are suggesting that they send bank payment details over a standard frequency set and encryption, at a known location and known time!?

    They're mad! As soon as the encryption is broken (and it will be broken) then they'll have to instantly disable all contactless systems and issue new cards and readers. Which they will hold off on doing for as long as possible, because it will be *expensive*, in the meantime, it will leave your card information completely exposed as public knowledge to anyone who asks.

    And that's leaving out the obvious exploit of getting hold of a legitimate card reader and rigging the antenna to be less conspicuous, then palming it along people's pockets with a small payment primed. Up the power on it slightly and you could even just have it sitting in your pocket in a crowded place. The only reason that the readers in shops has to have such close contact is because they keep the power low, turn that up and the range goes up.

    Seriously, it's like they want out bank accounts to be completely insecure or something.

    1. Oh... Can't begin to understand it, Illy. Science isn't really my forte.

      I'm not doubting what you say, but wouldn't the same be true of cards where you have put your pin code in. If they can break into the system, surely they can read your pin too?

      My bank insists it is safe and I reckon on that basis that if it is not, they will be responsible for any failures in security.

    2. The difference is how easy it is to listen in on the conversation between your card and the bank.

      With a physical wire connection to the card reader, pin entry pad, and internet phone link, they'd need to have something physically on the wire to listen in. They could do that by tapping the internet line with an NSA-style black box, but those things only stay put for the NSA because they've got the US government backing them, without that, they're normally pretty obvious.

      With any wireless communication method, all they need to know is which method, and what frequency, and have a sensitive enough broadcaster/antenna. Which is likely to be an RFID-style battery-less antenna for contactless bank cards. They can explore the card's responses and can clone the card without ever having touched it, and without you even knowing that they're doing it.

      With Chip&Pin they at least need to have stolen the card for a few moments, or tricked you into inserting your card into a compromised reader, with contactless, by it's very design, they don't. The most you might notice is that your card might be a little warm.

      And, just for comparison, the banks insisted that everything was fine, right up until they asked the government to cover their gambling losses. I wouldn't trust their word on what's safe if I were you.

    3. Ah Ok, thanks for the tip. I think I'll talk to the TSB about their policies on it.

  3. We actually need to carry these cards in containers which cannot be accessed by someone just standing close enough to use what ever they require to read them. I had one, I broke the damned thing so I am wandering round with my fingers crossed, which to say the least is not good enough.
    I occasionally shop in Lidl, did so in Kirkcaldy during this week, I much prefer Aldi but to be truthful not much difference. We are awaiting the building of our own Lidl up at Halbeath but this will take a wee bit of time. I will tell you a wee story about what our Guide in Nuremberg said about Aldi, that they give the last customer to leave a brush to sweep up. Well they may do that in Germany, they certainly employ a cleaner in the one in Dulloch and like all their staff he works damned hard. They are all happy I have yet to meet one in any of the stores who does not engaged their customers whilst shovelling the goods at breakneck speed. Go into Tesco and they all have that corporate misery look which my Husband who suffered from it recognises.

    1. OK. I'll look for a card case.

      Thanks for that tip too.

      I have to say that the staff in Aldi here are superb. Maybe slightly less so in Lidl, but they are still really good.

      They work hard for their money, but at least they are helpful.

      By contrast, as a rule Tesco staff are surly and down right obstructive. It must be because it is such an incredibly miserable place to work.

      I really can't imagine the horror of having to work there.

  4. Beware the promotion of the Cashless Society Tris - they're not doing it for your our my benefit.

    1. In fairness, Kyle, they never do anything for our benefits.

      I take your point though. I know you know about this kind of stuff.