Discount Chain Accused of Spying on Workers


General Culture

Since I am German (and thus European) American friends of mine often tell me how in Europe things are just so much better, which is, of course, the mirror sentiment of the smugness one often runs across in the European press when the latest American scandal is discussed. Take shopping, for example, and here the chain Walmart serves as a nice example. Walmart abandoned Germany after a few years of trying to break into the market, and my American friends tend to think that’s because Germans just hate that kind of business and everything Walmart stands for. Not so. Well, they did hate Walmart (in the just so slightly different cultural context of Germany, old people greeting you at the door are simply creepy, and those employee rituals to boost morale reminded Germans way too much of times past), but the main reason why Walmart had no chance was because German discount chains are even more ruthless. To wit: Germany’s Lidl chain was just caught spying on its workers.