Thursday, February 4, 2010

lidl vs. rewe

i moved on a sunday. which, in europe is the equivelent of trying to open a bank account on christmas.
thankfully, i found a couple of agnostic turkish students to show up with their van and do the deed, which, considering all of my worldly possessions are bundled into a few trunks and backpacks which exploded in my office, took all of 25 min.
they sorta hung around after i paid them, expecting my phone number and a dinner invite i think, but once i ushered them out the door i was fully engaged into filling my empty apartment with stuff. stuff! stuff which i narrowed down to the bare essentials: some lightbulbs, for the wires dangling from the light fixtures, a stepladder to reach said light fixtures which are about 12 feet off the ground, a chair to sit on, a doormat, and maybe a broom or something to wipe up all the gravel and salt that arrive as stowaways in the cuffs of my pants.
my crusade took me to the ostbanhof, the nearby train station which is always a hub of commercial activity when no where else is. this mall was bustling with travelers from frankfurt and munich, mcdonald's eaters, pharmacies and two supermarkets in the basement, facing off like pit bulls in a ring: the Rewe and the Lidl. both competing for advertising space, each one's posters trying to consume the other, yet they could not be more different.
the Rewe has pomagranates, fancy champagne and recycled toilet paper with green trees on the packaging. the Lidl, which is about equivelent to a chinese walmart on the moral business practices barometer has palettes of whatever was seized at customs that day: rotten apples, screw top sparkling wine and the orange facial tissues you find in the bathroom on the train.
also at the Lidl, a number of savvy drunks who know a good sunday bargain on bottled booze and plastic bottled beer (so as not to hurt themselves?) which they then take out to the corridor where they pandhandle for the euro you get back from returning your cart to buy more booze, turn in their empties for more change and then drink, fight, smoke, and flick cigarette butts at the Rewe.
at lidl i skipped the creepy meats, but found one opened pack of organic pretzels, a gallon of "Dovey" shower gel and 25 assorted sponges which i ripped out of a huge shrink wrapped container, and stood on line for 20 minutes while the customers assaulted the cashier with insults.
At the rewe afterwards, the aisles were sparse with customers and "danke" and "bitte" were overheard everywhere. neither of these places had anything resembling a broom, a doormat, or any of the things i needed, but at this point, i was too distracted to remember i needed lightbulbs. so i went home, and sat in the dark on my floor, this time making a list for what i need to buy on my next excursion, which i now have to pack into working hours.


2b3s said...

I recently tivo-ed Schindler's List and have been watching it in 15 min. increments each night. (I'm sure Spielberg never imagined his opus would be enjoyed this way but whatevs.) Not to make light of the Holocaust, this post reminds me a bit of the sad bewilderment experienced by the Polish Jews after the SS took over Krakow.

Anonymous said...

so true: