Most of the time here, I rant. I tilt at windmills, rage against injustice, gripe, bitch, and moan.
But not this time, This post is a positive praise piece.
It’s about Aldi, the biggest and best alternative to Walmart, Whole Foods, and all the other supermarket choices out there.
One of the things that really impresses me about Aldi is their shopping cart system. You know how when you go to most stores, you see carts that lazy shoppers have left in the lot? Aldi has solved that problem. They don’t have cart pushers, they don’t even have cart corrals out in the parking area. Every Aldi cart I’ve ever seen has been returned to the cart area by shoppers.
When you go to pick up your cart at Aldi you find the carts are all chained together. To unchain one, you have to put a quarter into a slot on the handle of the cart. Then, when you finish shopping, you return your cart, chain it up and get your quarter back. It’s amazing how much of an incentive a quarter can be. In all the years I’ve shopped at Aldi, I’ve never seen a cart abandoned in the parking lot.
Another reason to shop Aldi is the prices. Almost everything they have costs less than at Wal-Mart. Sometimes way less. Here’s an example. This week avocados are on special for 29 cents. At Walmart, they’re $1.99. This means you can buy six avocados at Aldi for less than one at Walmart. They are a little smaller, and they’re not ripe, so you may have to plan ahead and wait a few days for them to be ready to use, but you can make a big batch of guacamole at a very low price.
Another example, two 7 ounce bacon-wrapped filets for $4.49 and that’s an every day price and they’re really good. You can get most canned vegetables for 59 cents. Milk for around $3 a gallon. A big bag of chips for $1.49.
Aldi doesn’t carry a lot of the major brands. That’s why they can offer great deals. Sometimes those brands may not meet your quality standards. You have to try them out. But many of the products are just as good as name brands. One example, canned soup at 59 cents, compared to 80 cents for the same size can of Campbell’s soup at Walmart, and it’s just as good.
Another thing I like about Aldi is that they don’t bag your groceries. You do it yourself, another cost cutting measure. They also encourage you to use the boxes the groceries come in to carry them out. Or they’ll sell you a paper bag for a few cents if you don’t want to scrounge up a free box.
Given that Aldi is environmentally friendly and cheaper, I’m amazed they don’t do more business. At any given moment, there are always way more people shopping at the competing Walmart. I’ve tried to figure out why. It’s true that Aldi is smaller, doesn’t have as much selection, often doesn’t carry name brands and they make you bag your groceries and return your own cart, so I guess if you’re a spoiled prima donna who has to have full service, Aldi just isn’t for you.
But if you like to save money, and care about the environment, maybe you should stop enriching the Walton family, who pay their employees so little they qualify for government food assistance. Aldi pays their employees more, but they get a lot more out of fewer employees, because they’re not rounding up stray carts or bagging groceries.
My theory is that Walmart gets more business mainly because most people just follow the herd and go there like lemmings. So at least consider buying some of your stuff at Aldi, even if you still shop somewhere else for some things.
You might find yourself bragging loudly about getting avocados for 29 cents.