A NEW Aldi store in Walkden rewarded its first customer with a £200 hamper — after he waited in wet, wintry weather for 13 hours for the store to open.
Hundreds of people queued outside the supermarket, which opened on the Ellesmere Retail Park in High Street yesterday at 8am.
The German supermarket giant had vowed to hand out golden envelopes with prize details to the first 100 customers — as it did when the new Prestwich store was opened earlier this month.
The hordes of keen shoppers mostly arrived after 5am, but the leaders of the queue had gone to even greater trouble.
Mark Graham, aged 42, from Whitefield, got to the store armed only with a camping chair at 7.30 the previous evening.
As the first customer, he won the £200 hamper and he said his wife urged him to go after he missed out on the Prestwich store opening on February 6.
“It was okay until about one o’clock when the rain came down,” said Mr Graham. “This shelter drips and no matter where you went, you got wet.
“I saw they were doing the envelopes again and the wife just looked at me and said ‘you are going to that’.”
Just behind Mr Graham was Walkden mum Collette Jenkinson, who brought with her daughters Nevinson Burns, aged 42, and Leigh Burns, aged 37, as well as sleeping bags and hot chocolate.
The trio were rewarded with an HD Camcorder and two DVD players after joining Mr Graham at 8.30pm.
Ms Jenkinson, aged 62, said: “It’s a fantastic idea — you wouldn’t see Tesco doing this.
“We were wondering how many would come and thought it might just be us until about five this morning!”
Another hardy soul joined the queue at 4am, despite being five months pregnant.
Emma Hector, from Walkden, was given a DVD player after her four-hour wait and said: “I am very happy but also very cold. It would have been a bit nicer but for the rain.”
Behind Ms Hector was Martin Pithers, aged 51, who also queued at the Prestwich store, and now has two digital cameras, after scooping the same prize in Walkden yesterday.
Andrew Lowe, the delighted manager of the new store, said he did not expect quite so many shoppers to queue.
“I was handed the keys on Friday to an empty store and it has been a lot of hard work from myself and 23 staff members to get it ready for today,” he said.
“I knew it would be busy today but this is amazing.”
The store will open from 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday, and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays.