Leith Lidl revamp must not see loss of its brilliant staff (or their taste in music) – Susan Morrison

We in Leith are made of stern stuff. Well, we have to be. We’re in a war situation or, at the very least, a siege situation, given that the major roads in and out of the Republic are in a state of utter and near constant chaos.

The much-loved Lidl in Leith provides a safe haven from the music of Bing Crosby at Christmas (Picture: STF/AFP via Getty Images)
The much-loved Lidl in Leith provides a safe haven from the music of Bing Crosby at Christmas (Picture: STF/AFP via Getty Images)

So we are resilient. But suddenly, we were shaken, and visibly stirred. Lidl is closing. It's getting a makeover, apparently. Gloom seized the Kirkgate.

What was wrong with the old Lidl? Yes, Aldi, the new contender on the block, is bright and shiny, but there is much to commend Lidl.

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The middle of Lidl with its laminators, canoes and cement mixers is easily the equal of the upstart across the Water. The bakery is brilliant. It’s streets ahead of the posh kids like Waitrose. The fresh fruit and veg are terrific. Take that, Sainsbury.

It's only for three months, but already I dread what might happen behind closed doors. Please don’t tell me they will introduce muzak. Lidl at Christmas is a refuge from the endless playlist of Slade, Wizard and Bing Crosby, although one year a member of staff got a hold of the tannoy and treated us to a mix tape of bluegrass hillbilly blues. Thoughtful of that staff member to share their eclectic taste in music.

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Lidl supermarket in Leith to close until winter as refurbishment begins
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And that is the one thing I hope they don’t change. The staff in Lidl have a unique concept of customer care. I once watched a duty manager listen patiently to one of the Kirkgate’s finest boozy boys as he ranted about the quality of lager.

After several minutes the lad of Leith drew breath and the manager took the opportunity to say, “Huv ye akshelly gotta point, son?”

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The complainant looked a tad baffled then said, “Naw, no really.”

“Well then,” said the manager, “That’s you sorted.”

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The lager specialist looked almost relieved. In today’s parlance, he had been heard and seen, and as happy as Larry, if Larry was happy with the lager.

Please don’t change the staff. They’re not just any staff. They are Lidl staff, and darned good at the job.