ZDF documentary on Lidl explains secret selling scams — and raises allegations

Life has become expensive. Everyone who goes shopping at these times feels just how expensive groceries are – that is: everyone. ZDF has cleverly placed its documentary “Lidl: The Insiders” there. The announcer promises to reveal the “discount giant’s selling tricks”. The ZDF documentary begins with the viewer watching how makeup artists trim key witnesses beyond recognition. It is clear that the fear of legal consequences is great.

Lidl – the most successful opponent in Germany

In fact, Lidl is a “giant”. Germany’s most successful discount company employs 91,000 people in 3,200 branches in Germany alone. The 11,550 branches in 32 countries around the world generate more than 100 billion in sales annually. This is, to put it neutrally, a success story. This success is due to the fact that many Germans like to shop at Lidl. Nobody is forced to do this. The accusatory tone that common law documentation chooses is striking in all sorts of places.

Seducers haven’t had this secret for long

Let’s start from the beginning. Shopping carts? very big. Specifically designed so that cargo slides toward the push handle – thus as out of sight as possible. Smaller shopping baskets for quick shopping? Maybe there was some time. Then they were again summoned to the headquarters, as the viewer knows. When customers asked, the answer was that too many of them had been stolen. The value of a purchase should only be felt when it is too late: at payment, when it reaches your wallet. However, such strategic planning in the supermarket is known. This was already revealed in the marketing classic “The Secret Seducers.” The book is from 1957.

Lidl’s Very Special Price Scam

Lidl’s list of tricks probably isn’t wrong. But it is also known from other supermarkets in a similar way. As a specialty of Lidl, ZDF shows price tag attachments, prices are higher than the goods on the shelf – they differ, as they say, from competitors in the market. Accordingly, low prices are used as a temptation to reveal at most what is really needed at second glance. This sounds like evolution. However, it is possible that at least regular customers will not make it to the shelves that are constantly scammed.

Ghost – Not that bad

The accusatory tone of the documentary never ceases to amaze. Are green bananas bought, shipped and artificially ripened in time for sale? This is likely the case with many traders. Liddell, which started as a “southern fruit trade,” is not an isolated case. In 1930, a businessman from Heilbronn, Joseph Schwartz, joined the company as a personally responsible partner. Son Dieter opened the first discount store in 1973. ZDF calls this Dieter Schwartz “the ghost.” With a fortune of 64 billion euros, the richest man in Germany does not speak in interviews. There are no pictures of him. No employee knows him. He visits branches without being recognized. As an insider reports, he sometimes sends compliments. “The Phantom” doesn’t sound that bad. More like a rich person who doesn’t want to be too visible in public. Germany already had to complain about kidnappings in the families of other wealthy people.

“Twin Fragrance” is also fragrant

The ZDF documents find it difficult to support the accusatory language with true allegations. Does Lidl copy branded products or buy them from brand name manufacturers and sell them cheaper under a similar name? Customers can take advantage of this. This perfume, which was originally priced at 90 euros, is sold here for five euros with a little less remaining on the skin? For the buyer, such a “twin fragrance”. Are organic products increasingly being introduced, but this should cost as little as possible? Maybe that’s what customers care about. If Lidl mixes the tougher “Bioland” seal with the softer “Bio-Organic” seal, it feels good for the buyer for less money.

“To deceive people a little…”

“Absolute organic washing,” berated an anonymous key witness under a latex mask. “I had a feeling I was joking with people a little bit,” the former employee adds, and the situation is similar to the “situation” printed on it. Level 1 complies with the minimum legal standards. Level 2? The ZDF documentation explains this very well using the chicken example. Then there are only 23 animals per square meter, which is three less. In return, they get “Hackstein” as a reward. Would this level 3 or 4 animal care be the best choice? Every buyer should be able to see this for themselves, even without a TV documentary. But there are some things the customer prefers not to know exactly. Especially in times when everything gets so expensive anyway. Error? As is often the case, we are consumers.

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