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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Filler Post #73 - Janky ol' Lidl B.S.

 I don't know if it's because I'm getting older (or that I've been living in Germany for so long or some kind of combination of the two or that my life is just that boring right now), but sometimes a complaint letter is one of the only things that can soothe a consumer murder-rage moment these days. Ok, murder-rage is an exaggeration, but you know that I mean. One of those moments when an exchange takes place between you and a business and it is (at least in that moment) the most stupid thing you've ever heard/experienced.

Schmiddy is the reigning king of complaint letters (at least in my eyes). Several years ago, I'd found a tip in NEON magazine, which advised that you add "ESKALATION" to the subject line of your complaints to get them moved up the ladder. I imparted this information to Schmiddy and he never looked back. His letters are candid and brutally scathing without crossing over into foul language or insults. They are truly a thing of beauty. I sometimes have a hard time believing him when he says he's not the creative type. One time, after our internet provider jerked us around for months, he threatened to send them an invoice with his hourly pay...for wasting his time. Classic Schmiddy.

Honorable mention also goes to Buche's letter to his cable & internet provider after he was left sans cable and internet for over a week. His exasperation was palpable, but it could have pushed the envelope a little more. 8/10.

Anyway, like I said, I'm a fan of writing complaint letters to the management instead of (or in addition to) just bitching about bad service. Perhaps you won't get a reply, but at the very least you can release some of your frustration (without abusing random employees who are just trying to stay employed and pay their bills/feed their families and likely didn't come up with the dumb shit that is causing you problems). 

My latest venture into righteous indignation came after I saw this sign posted outside of my neighborhood Lidl. 

Dear customers,

in order to avoid misunderstandings, please do not bring shopping trolleys or large bags with you into the store.

Shopping carts and baskets are available for your convenience.

Thank you for understanding!

Your Lidl Team

Now, you might be asking yourself: Why do you even shop at Lidl, Raven? Admittedly, I'm not super excited about their business practices. In the past few years, I've even flipped on my view of extended business hours (including being open on Sundays/holidays, which is convenient for me...less so for the actual employees). But the easiest answer for why I still shop there is purely a matter of proximity and my general laziness at planning for shopping.

But as I stood in front of the store last night, shopping trolley full of empty deposit bottles, I thought that this sign was pretty ridiculously formulated. I briefly considered throwing the bottles into the store one-by-one as the automatic doors slid open. However, 1.) each empty bottle is worth 25 cents that I wouldn't get and 2.) I knew that my throws would not defy the laws of physics so that the bottles would curve around the corner to the deposit machine like the magic bullets in the movie Wanted. So I went inside anyway and got one of those extra convenient shopping carts that I had read about on the sign.

I went about gathering the items on my list with both my trolley and a cart and then queued up to pay. Once I reached the cashier, she saw my trolley and asked if I saw the sign out front.

"Yes," I replied, "However, I was bringing back bottles and also I need to somehow transport my purchases back home. You can look in my trolley and see it is empty."

I showed her the empty trolley and she said to me, "Ok...well, next time remember not to bring it with you."

Because it was Saturday evening and there was a long line behind me, I didn't press the matter further. I just packed up my trolley and left.

But you better believe I penned a complaint letter about it, after I got back home. It was beautiful and just the right mix of "I understand the thought process behind this (security reasons), but this is a really dumb way to address that," sarcasm, and "I will take my business elsewhere". Let's see if I get a response.

Later that evening, I ate some steamed Brussels sprouts and baked chicken and went to bed at a reasonable hour.

In other news, my inner child and 20-year-old self died of shock shortly thereafter.

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