My office is not the best lit room in the world. The window is small, the view is onto a gap between two buildings, and these days, there’s a sodding great iMac blocking the lower half of it. What this means is that if a I want to read a book off my desk, I often need to turn a light on. Earlier today, I was reflecting that it would be quite nice to get a desk lamp of some kind, because turning the overhead light is annoying. I had a quick look on-line, and found that if I wanted one that was passably attractive, it was going to have to wait a few weeks.
So, as previously documented, I do my shopping at Waitrose, for preference. But the nearest supermarket to me is, in fact, a Lidl. I don’t generally shop there, in part because they’re bastards, but also because there’s not a lot they sell that I really want. But still, it’s there, about a minute’s gentle amble from my front door. If it were any closer, I’d probably have to stop them using my bedroom to store things in.
And also, shopping there is a particularly depressing experience. They’re the Siberian gulag of supermarkets, and not just in the way they treat their staff. Other supermarkets are structured to draw the customer in with enticing sights and smells – fresh produce near the doors, the smell of the bakery wafting though, aisles as wide and well lit as is practical, everything shown off to best advantage. Not Lidl. Whatever they got is just stacked where they can fit it, and the more they can pack into the space, the better. Cramped, dingy, and generally a bit bleak.
But while they don’t sell a lot I want, what I happen to know they do sell that is of interest to me is Leffe, in sodding enormous bottles, for about 2 quid. So I popped out tonight to pick up a bottle or two to accompany an evening’s coding. (I code better with some drink in me. This is scientific fact. Shut up.)
And as you may know, Lidl have a habit of stocking all sorts of strange crap than any normal supermarket wouldn’t bother with. Some of it is rubbish, some of it is surprisingly good. And it changes more or less weekly. They don’t keep much in the way of a consistent stock, they just buy whatever they can get, and when they’ve sold it, they’ve sold it.
So I’m sauntering toward the checkout, Leffe in hand, and idly looking at the novelty electronics, just in case there’s anything interesting in there – my Dad and I exchanged electronic corkscrews at christmas (as joke gifts, you understand), for example. And as I wander past, I spot something. A really rather nice desk lamp. For about a third the price I’d seen similar models on-line.
So: Lidl. Evil, and depressing, sure. But it’s an odd shopping trip where one pops out on a quick beer run, and returns with a desk lamp.