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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

218. Lidl – 0, Barack Obama -1

Lidl lost. Me!

Have I finally gone off my trolley – albeit it a shopping trolley? I’m boycotting Lidl for a couple of months. Yep – you can see them shaking in their boots as they lose the few quid they’ve been making off me for the last 13 years.

Having met Nelson Mandela (sorry for the name drop - see blog 44) and having taken part in student boycotts in the apartheid years – I don’t wish to bandy the term around lightly. BUT small though this may be, sometimes you have to do what you think is right regardless of whether anyone takes notice.

A while back I posted blog 147. ‘More less contact is making us Horrible’. This lack of connection makes it easier to treat each other with something that falls short of human decency.


A few weeks ago I noticed that my local Lidl on Gorgie Rd was installing those self-service machines. I don’t like them. If I want self-service I will STAY HOME. But more to the point, I don’t want to see even more people made redundant and yet another potential human interaction wiped from daily life.

I politely challenged the young manager about this and got that curled lip and exasperated attitude and a throw-away statement that nothing would change – and – more to the point – if I wanted to use a proper till I only had to ask. Well, I shop quite regularly – not being a car owner I buy small amounts. Many times, I’ve had to ask for a till to be put on and almost an equal number of times my request has been met with heaving sighs, rolling eyes and, three times, an argument.

Saturday 14th January I was in Lidl. As I approached the only open till the young guy operating it pointed at the self-service machines and yelled CLOSING at me. I said I didn’t want to use the self-service machines. He rolled his eyes, huffed, then we had a ‘lively exchange’ as he roughed my items through the scanner while glowering.

With money, harder than ever to come by for those at the bottom of the pile, despite what we are being told, I do not want to give, even my pathetic sums of money to a company that is doing its best be de-humanize me and reduce staffing. I don’t want to pay for no service especially while they are spending on breathy we’re so lovely advertisements on the radio.

I hate the term ‘consumer’. But I do occasionally have to be a grocery shopper because my daughter has that annoying habit of wanting to eat! When I am shopping, I want to be treated like a human being. I always want to be treated like a human being – I’m funny that way. I want everyone – from an old person buying a stamp in the post office to a vulnerable child fleeing war (see blog 200 – ‘Suffer the Little Children – again’), to be treated humanely. Machines are getting between us and our humanity. More machines is NOT about efficiency it’s about profit.

Monday 16th Jan I was in Barclays bank with my friend who was directed to a self-service banking machine. 25 minutes later when an employee came up to me to ask if there was anything he could do I replied – ‘no – I am waiting for someone – 25 minutes and counting’. The young guy huffed (what is it with me and guys huffing?) and walked off. We escaped after HALF AN HOUR. Yes, I timed it.

In the UK, there is currently a rail dispute between the unions and Southern Rail. It is about this very thing. While the rail companies mop up eye watering profits from the public and subsidies from the public purse they treat that public like shit. And still they want to reduce staff numbers. It’s a shame the unions have been so crap at handling the public relations on this because this is one of the big issues of our time.

The final thing the exasperated Lidl till guy said to me was “you talk, I talk – it doesn’t matter”. Well – isn’t that the truth. It doesn’t matter because in the pursuit of profit large corporations don’t need our humanity they just want our money.

In his moving leaving speech President Obama urged people to communicate “in real life”. Partly it is harder to disregard or be callous to someone with whom you have eye contact and real interaction in a real place in real time.

We need to look each other in the eye more often. Talk without the aid of electronic devices more often. Touch, smile, react, empathise, discuss the weather, be aware of each other as humans. Hug. Care.

Before we forget how.


I know I am banging on about it – but do please check out my new book (paperback or e-book)  Zero One Zero Two if you want to see how this could go. Thanks.

And remember if you like a post to follow/share/tweet/ or whatever you young folk do. THANK you.

1 comment:

  1. Well I know someone who is in complete agreement with you your godson! He to refuses to use a self service till as he believes they do someone out of a job. He to will join you in your boycott