So, Lidl opened just outside Larnaka, a couple of weeks ago. I'm told there are two new stores: one in Aradippou, the other somewhere along the Dhekelia Road.
Since receiving the gift pack, we've seen several glossy advertising brochures for Lidl in our mailbox. I glanced through them, but couldn't see anything particularly appealing. I was glad that we now have paper recycling in Cyprus, since there have been a vast number of advertising brochures recently.
A few of our friends have already visited Lidl. I gather that there was chaos on the first couple of days, when there were special 'opening offers', but - of course - nowhere near sufficient to meet the demand. I heard that some of the products are very good value, even when not on special offer. But for just two of us, it somehow didn't seem worth bothering with the extra distance.
This morning, we had two shops to visit before Richard went to the office. We both really need new trainers [US: sneakers], and we also had a few items to buy at Metro. In particular, a kind of cat litter we haven't found anywhere else, and Richard's favourite ground coffee, which isn't available at the local supermarkets. It's three weeks since we did a 'major' grocery shop at Metro, which is usually once a month, and I only had about half a dozen things on my list... but it seemed a good idea to go today, anyway, and then perhaps wait another three or four weeks before doing a major shopping expedition prior to Christmas.
On the way out of the house, I saw yet more advertising brochures in our mailbox. I grabbed them to glance at in the car. They were both from Lidl, who must have spent a fortune on advertising. One of them was for food items, but the other made it look rather more interesting:
I had not realised they had such a big non-food section, but this brochure ran to several pages:
I commented that we'd probably do well to stay away from Lidl, since it looked as if it might be the kind of place where we'd spot all kinds of 'bargains' that we hadn't realised we needed.. then I noticed that they had men's trainers on offer. When I mentioned that, Richard suggested we take a look...
It was a little further away than I'd expected - past Kleima by quite a way, but it was easy enough to find:
I had brought with me the blue keyring that came in our free bag, since, as several people kindly pointed out to me, there is a removable plastic circle which can be used in lieu of a euro to get a trolley. I was eager to try it out, but Richard suggested we have a look first, since we might not be buying anything.
Inside, it looked much like the two British Lidl stores I've seen. The non-food part was, disappointingly, just a series of boxes down the middle. The quality didn't look as great as the advertising suggested, and the shoes looked much too narrow for Richard. I couldn't find most of the products from the brochure at all. Perhaps they'd already been bought.
Flour (plain white all-purpose) and sugar (white) were at very good prices - 49c, which is around half the regular price. Had we needed any, I would have bought some. I did see one man with an entire trolley full of flour - perhaps he was going to sell it somewhere else. Or make a lot of cakes. But I had plenty of flour and sugar at home, and we don't get through that much with just two of us, so we didn't buy any.
I did see chicken breast at about a euro per kilogram cheaper than we usually get it. I was tempted... but if we'd bought that, we would have had to go home to put it in the freezer before going out to do our other shopping, so I didn't. They didn't have the coffee we wanted - indeed, it was hard to find any coffee - nor the cat litter.
I'm glad we had a look around, to appease our curiosity, but we were both underwhelmed, and didn't - in the end - buy anything at Lidl.
So then we drove to the ShoeBox (previously Shoe Emporium) where we've bought good value trainers in the past. No such luck this time. Cypriots (other than children) don't seem to wear trainers much and there's nothing like the selection we can find in the UK. We'll have to look in town, I suppose.
Then on to Metro. Four bags of cat litter, two of coffee. A couple of large bags of cat food. We found a few items on two-for-one special offer - things which keep, and which we would buy - so put those in the trolley too. And I was particularly pleased to find chicken breast on extra-special offer, a euro LESS than the price at Lidl, so bought several packs of that for the freezer.
Despite it not being a 'major' shop, we spent just over a hundred euros at Metro. Living in Cyprus is a great deal more expensive than it used to be, which I suppose is why so many people are excited about Lidl opening. If we lived nearer, I would probably go there for sugar and flour when I needed them, but it isn't worth the extra petrol.
Three large shops in one day. Sigh. That's more than I like to see in a month.