As Internet access only reached the Thai masses after the introduction of the smartphone, Siam has a very different online landscape compared to the West. Online sales caught on relatively recently, but in a very remarkable way. Massive volume isn’t generated in online stores, but on Facebook. Why is that and what dangers does it imply?
Belgian big-box retailer Colruyt started offering Everyday Wine. Not convinced that wine is such a good idea on a daily basis, but who am I? 🙂
Remember when I reported on being refused at a check-out register at Lidl Vilvoorde? I got quite some backlash from Lidl employees calling me all sorts of names on social media. Turns out that they took the concept of employees jumping the queue and turned it into a procedure. The lines were quite long this afternoon, but hey, that happens. Right when the gentleman in front of me was about to be serviced, a Lidl employee in uniform cut in line and was serviced in ahead of everyone. When I politely asked the friendly cashier if this was common practise, he confirmed. His colleague started yelling at me: how it was my business and how else she was to do her shopping in her 15 minute break? Not sure they even want customers here.
While shopping at the supermarket today, I picked up some minced meat that was packaged today (06/08) … should be plenty fresh, right? I didn’t think to check when it expires until I arrived back home … 08/08!? My question is: are Belgian food safety standards extremely high, or has this meat been laying around for a while?
A quick example of the benefit of comparing prices, even within the same store. From left to right: the cable I ended up buying, the same cable of the same brand but a quarter the size, half-size cable of a different brand, and finally an identical cable of a different brand. All within feet of each other at Makro Belgium. Crazy, isn’t it?
Truth be told, I have to give it to discount supermarket Lidl: they are really upping their game. Their amount of premium white label products is increasing and offers fair value. A cart filled with lobster salad, truffle-infused cheese, fresh produce, several meat products (including steak and cordon bleu), wine, gratin dauphinois, parmigiano, risotto, ricotta-filled pasta, etc. just cost me EUR 50 today. Never a dull moment in their store in Vilvoorde, though. After I went on a rant about being refused service at check-out and being called a monkey by their employees in the comment section, I returned today (craving lobster salad, I’ll admit). The exact same employee that skipped the queue last time, surprised patrons by yelling at a customer right next to me. With a complexion almost as red as her colored hair she cried out “Wadest me aa?” in local dialect, which translates to something to the likes of “What is your problem?“. The personnel I thought, not the brand. Maybe time to switch to the store in Zemst.
In my hometown of Vilvoorde, the potential construction of a large shopping mall (‘Uplace‘) on an adjacent piece of land has been debated for several years. The mayor opposes the project stating, amongst other arguments, the impact on congestion and local economy. A few conversations I’ve had with business owners in Nakhon Ratchasima today, revealed interesting parallels.