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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Like many self-made men of humble Black Country origins, my dad has never quite been able to break the habit of constant economizing, even long after such dedicated thriftiness ceased to be a pressing financial necessity. However, since his retirement last year and recent discovery of cut-price supermarkets Aldi and Lidl in the UK, this habit of a lifetime has now developed into full-blown bargain-hunting obsession – strangely enough at just the time in life that he is sitting on more ready cash / assets than ever before. In fact it is by no means unusual for me to receive random long-distance calls informing me (rather pointlessly, one might think) that he’s just bought a hundred potatoes for 5p from Aldi, or purchased a new MP3 player from Lidl for just £3.99 - exactly like an i-pod in fact except that everything’s in Chinese, and would I like one for Christmas…??

For better or worse, I too seem to have inherited the traditional Knedlik tightwad gene (we prefer the term “cautious”) – though thankfully not quite to the same obsessive extent. Nevertheless, today I duly decided to bypass the posh delis and speciality food shops (all been done anyway) in search of any bog-standard culinary bargains I could bag at the Na Slupi branch of Lidl in Prague.

With the majority of its clientèle presumably skimping on the food costs in order to fund an unhealthy booze habit, the entrance to this particular branch of Lidl logically leads directly into the alcohol section. Conforming to demographic here, this was also where my first and best deal of the day was to be found – a six pack of 2009 medium-dry German Riesling marked down from an already pretty cheap 359kč to a bargain 240kč. Technically speaking, the cheapest wine sold at Albert (for blogging purposes my sole point of comparison here) matches this price at 40kč a bottle, but then again that is essentially for glorified paint-stripper – comparing like for like I’m going to guesstimate that I’ve made a saving of 20kč a bottle here. Still not the best quality wine in the world maybe, but it will get both Mr K and I through the working week…

Moving on into the food section, I didn’t find much in the way of fresh produce or brand names, but mainly just basic long-life items stacked cheap and high. Of the more “quality” items on offer were a 500ml bottle of Italian olive oil at 99kč (nearest Albert equivalent 145kč), a 500ml bottle of my beloved balsamic vinegar at 30kč (a steal in comparison to Albert’s 87kč offer for half the amount), red and green pesto at 30kč per jar (as opposed to 70kč each at Albert), a pack of Tchibo coffee at 60kč (only marginal differential here of 17kč) and my favourite block of Ritter Sport milk chocolate (not available at Albert when I went, so can’t compare prices here). Total savings on the “luxuries” – 200kč.

The difference for more basic items wasn’t as great, however, with me saving only 2kč on a 2kg bag of potatoes, 3kč on a carton of milk, and spaghetti at 7kč costing pretty much about the same.

In total the food bill came to 543kč, with savings of approximately 300 odd crowns in comparison to a standard Albert shop. Which I reasoned I could then spend (and more) on a pair of Lidl 359kč beige curtains – not particularly relevant to a food-related blog I know, but I’ve done without for two years in my apartment and (clearly true to family form!) I feel a good bargain should never go unshared… ;-))

Though 50% of my genetic stock is true Lidl devotee (my mum is more a Waitrose / M&S type), the fact is, however, that in the long-run I’m probably just too lazy to regularly haul arse across town in order to save on a few crowns here and there at Lidl when Albert and Billa are both so conveniently placed pretty much on my own front doorstep – especially considering that the vast majority of my weekly food shop consists of wine (heavy), fresh fruit and vegetables (limited) and norsky salat (not in stock at Lidl at all!!!).

Still, I did feel I had to honour my penny-pinching heritage on just this one occasion – Father, this one’s for you… ;-)))


  1. The red pesto from Lidl is meh. :( And so is Tchibo coffee for the record.

    I hear they have good icecreams though. Those 500ml (?) containers.

  2. I'd hate to see what would happen if there was a PennyMarkt in Praha. :-)

  3. I love reading your blog, Knedlikova, your sense of humour comes right through. I never know what you're going to review next. One week BP Garden Party, the next Lidle - talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous! Please keep it up

  4. fotoeins - es gibt doch mindestens einen PennyMarkt, gerade um der Ecke von mir im Holesovice-Flohmarkt. Nichts Besonderes, aber da wenn unbedingt noetig!

  5. Thank you daughter for this inspired blog post! Even though I am probably being gently mocked, I am still most honoured.

    Here in the UK, the popular conception of Lidl is a grubby, downmarket store where the shoppers consist of impoverished OAP's, chavs in Gola trainers & other dole-scum all trying to eke out their meagre income on cut price, no-brand rubbish that you wouldn't feed to your dog! As a consequence, most 'nice' people shop at M&S & Waitrose.

    As you have now found out, the popular view is not correct. At Lidl, cheap does not necessarily equate to bad. Cheap often equates to efficient and this is important.

    I have found that as you get older, you spend a lot of time analysing all of your life experiences and distilling this into what one might call a philosophy or personal creed. In my case, life has led me to believe that 'he who is most efficient, wins over the long term'. In my view, it's better to be the scrawny Ethiopian with pipe cleaner legs & bad teeth that wins the marathon than the hyper attractive, muscle rippling sprinter that wins the 100 metres.

    Once you adopt efficiency as your creed, the small house, the small efficent car and the constant hunt for value are a source of both pleasure and contentment.

    So let's hear it for Lidl for their cheap caggages and their contribution to 21st century post-modernist philosphical enlightenment!

    Dad x

    PS - the beige curtains look very nice...

  6. Lol that is a very eloquent justification for keeping those purse strings strapped father - but what are "caggages"??


  7. I have no idea how I found this blog but I really love it. Have been following it for some weeks and will definitely stay faithful. bravo.

  8. Lidl - 'Free fleas for all!'