New jobs are good jobs?

As Lacey residents prepare to recive a new discount grocery store to replace the A’s Home and Garden Center on Route 9, it has come to the attention of Ocean County Scanner News, that the international company LIDL with it’s European roots, is not operating on the same level they do in Europe.

I have many friends that live outside the US, and one of them has a tradition, of bringing my son a complete Rain Suit (Pants, Jacket, Boots) when they visit. And so every fall, before the fall visit, I get messages “Does NinjaBaby (we call my son NinjaBaby when speaking about him online) want Trucks or Dinosaurs?” or similar as they prepare for their trip to LIDL in the UK. So when I found out that LIDL was coming to Ocean County, I was quite excited.

What’s is it like?

Today I chose to visit a LIDL store in Union, NJ and I enjoyed much of what I found. There was a large selection of what appeared to be generic merchandise that the signs abound outside and in promised were of the highest quality, as well as a smaller selection of brand name items to round out the offerings in store.

Prices were lower than what I have seen recently at most stores. That was sure to a big draw for residents like me who live on a tight budget. With the high cost of living that plagues the Jersey Shore, I was happy to find a decent selection of merchandise and groceries at a reasonable price.

But while $16.99 seemed like a great deal for a quality corded rotary tool, there was one thing that plagued me as I shopped. There was a local Police Officer I saw hanging out in the entrance on my way in, who kept vigilant watch out the front of the store.

Too good to be true?

I wandered around, and selected the items I chose to purchase. First it was  A 20lbs container of clumping dust-free kitty litter for only $5.33 then some detergent. I continued to shop and I continued to wonder why that police officer was stationed at the door. Could a store this new already be plagued by such a trend of shop-lifting? What was it that they needed to post a police officer at the door?

After I made my purchases, and packed them all inside the laundry basket with folding handles that I purchased in lieu of purchasing paper, plastic or reusable bags that I discovered the reason for the police presence.

The Reality.

As I exited the store, I followed the officer’s gaze and I saw protesters out side that I did not see on the way in.

Seeing this as an opportunity I grabbed my camera, made my way to the protesters and quickly located the man in charge. After a couple quick photos for this story, I asked why they were protesting. I quickly learned that while LIDL operates as a union employer in the EU and UK, they were using loopholes in local laws, to operate as a non-union employer in the US. The UFCW protest was there to  make sure the jobs of the unionized Shop Rite down the road, would remain secure.

So while I am ever eager to receive quality retail businesses to replace the ever dwindling selection of retail in Ocean County, I am left to wonder if patronages to such businesses will help elevate my lifestyle with lower costs, while possibly hindering another families chance at earning a sustainable income with appropriate benefits.