You would think that people who are doing something the second time around will have learned from the first time and will do everything better, right? But strangely it seems that leopards really don’t change their spots, as the saying goes, at least not easily. :-O And it also seems that learning is harder than we think. We do make mistakes even if they stare us in the face. I know that and you might know that too!?
But before this turns into a psychotherapy session ;-) I should explain that I am (at least in part) referring to our politicians and their learning from the first lockdown. We will be for another good while in this lockdown… but they really didn’t learn!!
Things weren’t perfect the first time around, but we largely did what we were told, because it was quite clear and because we thought we understood why we did it. But then we realised that the politicians and “experts” really had no clue either and so the second time around the approach should have been to explain things better and to make it easier to adhere to the rules. More laws, threats (penalties, even prison) for breaking some of the rules and sending gardai to stop shops from selling their normal items (as they we allowed the first time around) is NOT the way to do it.
Instead it is a guarantee to lose the support from the people! And being out on the streets and in shops, it is clear that the trust and support is gone. The current nonsensical rules over “essential products” show that the government has no clue of what lockdowns mean to you and me. Closing SOME aisles of supermarkets, making it illegal to buy stationary or a towel, but legal to buy alcohol is a ridiculous over exaggeration.
Leo Varadkar who didn’t do too badly the first time around has totally screwed up this time (www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/1025/1173788-coronavirus-ireland/) and our temporary other Taoiseach, Micheal Martin is just continuing his non-impressive handling of an admittedly challenging situation.
There are two effects that the “making illegal” of selling any extra products in supermarkets apart from things that are required for survival will have: The first effect is that as soon as shops are open fully again, there will be a mad run on shops with the consequence that even before Christmas the infection numbers will increase like crazy again. And the second effect is that even the bit of money that is made through selling a chainsaw in Lidl or a fleece jacket in Aldi or a child’s runners in Dunnes during the lockdown will now make its way to Amazon, instead of staying in Ireland. The government is showing the middle finger to any “buy local” campaign and in the end the small retailers that they allegedly want to protect with this stupid rule will not get the business anyway.
Every month, Kantar Worldpanel provides an update on market share of the different food shops in Ireland and the headline this time – at least on RTE News – is “SuperValu remains largest grocery retailer“. This is definitely correct when you look at the market share numbers, but what I find a lot more interesting is that the two discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl are combined the largest food sellers in Ireland.
They are two separate shops and on one hand you can’t shouldn’t combine their market share. But on the other hand they BOTH have – in contrast to the others – a rather unique approach to selling food, where own branded products is the majority of products.
The figures are SuperValu 22.1%, Tesco 22.0%, Dunnes Stores 21.6%, Lidl 11.8%, Aldi 11.6%
So if you combine Lidl and Aldi, you arrive at 23.4% and if you compare it to how close the other three are to each others, then a lead of 1.3% is HUGE!
There are still people in Ireland that have never bought anything in Lidl or Aldi and there are still parts of Dublin (Castleknock!) that fight tooth and nail against one of the discounters opening in prime locations there. Odd! Maybe it is a type of snobbery? It certainly is not smart.
Once upon a time I was forced to buy my groceries in Superquinn. That was even before Tesco was in Ireland and before Aldi and Lidl arrived. Then I remember the week the first Aldi in Parnell Street opened. There were queues outside the shop and inside you couldn’t use a trolley because we had to walk through the shops like ducks in a row because there were soooo many people inside.
Nearly every Aldi and Lidl in Dublin (and there are MANY now) is busy and the market share of the two shop chains keeps growing, but there are some people who still think that they are too good to shop in Aldi and Lidl. But this snobbery is crumbling when you experience the high quality goods for SIGNIFICANTLY lower prices than others charge.
Oddly, though, when it comes to setting up new shops, some parts of Dublin are still totally against an Aldi or Lidl in their neighbourhood and I don’t believe for a minute that this is because of the dying village centres (they are already dead since Centra, Spar and Starbucks took over) or because of the REAL traffic increase. Maybe the PERCEIVED increase and this always reminds me of the stupid idea that Fingal County had when they limited the opening hours if Ikea near Ballymun and tried to force the shop to charge for parking during peak hours to avoid that looming traffic chaos that would bring the M50 to a stand still. Nothing like that ever happened and Ikea luckily was able to change the Fingal County rules.
So it is either a total misjudgement regarding traffic OR it is snobbery and I think ultimately it is the snobbery that is the reason for the NOs in Castleknock and Clonsilla that is described in this article www.thejournal.ie/lidl-2-3201010-Jan2017/
By the way, both Aldi and Lidl have managed to create pretty and very well integrated shops in some areas, so the look of the shops is not a good enough reason anymore to reject them.