I’m a huge fan of Lidl supermarkets. Sure, the great Paolo Tullio shops in my local one, and that’s quite good enough for me. Their selection of fruit and vegetables is, at worst, entirely adequate and a good deal of their pre-packed or frozen products are excellent value. I would sooner do the majority of my shopping between there and Aldi than any other supermarket currently operating in the Republic. All the same, though, there are occasions where, in the interests of advertising, Lidl are forced to operate the dual strategies of “straws” and “clutching”. Their current print ad urges us, in large lettering, to “celebrate Chinese New Year”, which is as good a reason for purchasing some inexpensive ethnic foodstuffs as any other. But then they go on to display a photo of Vitasia ‘Sunji’, a flavoured dessert wine – from Japan; then, your choice of Vitasia Red or Green Thai curry paste. Actually, there are no ‘Chinese’ items in the advert at all.
There is, however, a smallprint ‘explanation’ (better known as an ‘excuse’)under the Chinese New Year headline: “Indulge in a cuisine as diverse as the continent of Asia itself – try the taste of the Orient with our special selection of tasty offers!” Bless. Now, of course, I’m looking forward to the variety of offers they’ll have around the time of Persian New Year in March; who knows, they may adopt the convenient South Park philosophy, “Iran, Iraq, what’s the difference?”