A Lidl embarrassment for Germans thanks to Waterford Whispers

A German media outlet was left a Lidl bit embarrassed this week after they fell for a satirical report from Waterford Whispers News.

Waterford Whispers, an online-only publication, is well-known in Ireland for its tongue-in-cheek articles.

This week, the site published an article titled ‘Dozens Injured in Stampede after Second Checkout in Lidl Opens’.

In typical WWN fashion, the author sets the scene of a ‘near-tragic’ accident in Dunboyne, Co Meath, and quotes fictional shopper Sheila Mannion who is “lucky to get out alive”.

“We had been standing there for ages when we saw a girl approach with her tillbox in her hand. Everyone waited until we were certain what desk she was going to sit at, and then all hell broke loose,” said Ms Mannion.

“I was caught under the wheels of a trolley and fell to the ground. I managed to wriggle out, but my loaf of bread was crushed.”

Despite its overtly satirical tone, respected German magazine Focus picked up on the story and decided to report on the incident on their website, even quoting the made-up Ms Mannion and her experience in the incident which “left over 30 people injured”.

The headline read ‘Entnervte Kunden verursachen Massenpanik in Lidl-Filiale’ which looses translates as ‘Unnerved customers cause mass panic in Lidl store’.

Their mistake has since been corrected, and the editor has added a note at the bottom of the article by way of explanation.

Roughly translated, it says an earlier version of the article “did not warn that it was a satire contribution”.

Of course, this is not the first time an article from Waterford Whispers News has been seen as ‘real’ news by other outlets.

Last year, the site ran a story about North Korea launching a rocket to the sun. The piece went international, with publications such as the Canada Free Press, technology site Tweaktown, and US radio station K-TAR all believing it was fact, not fiction.

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