Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Aldi challenge

Welcome to a place where quality reigns and low prices rule.
A place with no sales to sleuth. No coupons to clip. No discounts to debate.

Welcome to a place where select brand products exceed the quality of big name brands.
But cost up to 50% less.

Welcome to a place where streamlined operations all but eliminate competition.
A place where there is always a surprise in store.

Welcome to a community of smarter shoppers whose expectations for high quality
are matched only by their refusal to pay more for it.

Welcome to honest to goodness savings. Welcome to ALDI.

That's what they advertise. I have shopped there. Much to my chagrin, I did not check the website to see how to shop there before I went. Now if you've never been, it is a store that carries most every day groceries you might need (with the exception of some specific specialty items - like, I wonder if they carry soy sauce or cream or tarter?). They keep costs low by carrying no name brands. You have to insert a quarter into the shopping cart to get it and you have to put it in it's rightful place when you are finished to get your quarter back. You need to take your own grocery bags unless you want to buy theirs for 10 cents or so (or you could buy their reuse-able ones for more). I learned that one the hard way. You will have to let me tell you the story about the toddler, no cart, no bags, 2 prickly pineapples and a watermelon some time.

Here are some reasons why I don't believe this store is an option for my family:

1. That store only carries off-brands. I would like to say that I am not picky. Don't get me wrong, I do NOT feel the need to buy name brands. I do however, know how the Great Value au gratin potatoes taste and know I like them. I am afraid to cook up a box of never-before-heard-of brand au gratin potatoes and have to throw them out. This is the number one reason why I am hesitant to take the Aldi one week challenge.

2. I know I won't shop there on a regular basis. I have a very hard time getting out that way. It is probably about 15 minutes from my house in a direction that I do not go often. I live 4 minutes from Walmart. I live like, half a mile from Tom Thumb (however it has to be really bad to run there for something - "Would you like me to pay you with a limb from my body? It would be cheaper than your strawberries.")

3. I am a creature of habit. This is the woman who does not like to shop at a different Walmart because she doesn't know where the Shake & Bake is in a different location. I like knowing which cashiers will argue with me and nitpick about the advertisements that I price-match. I like my favorite cashier Margaret. Her mom, who is in her 70's is having some very difficult health problems. I like seeing her and asking how I can pray for her. My car almost is on auto-pilot here. I can drive to Walmart and shop my usual routine starting in the dairy and end with the produce. I like doing the same thing each Monday.

4. I have a family of five. My parents would shop at Sam's Club for our family of five growing up. We had to have so much food that they built another pantry. Now, since they were on a teacher pay schedule, they only shopped that way once-a-month so it is not quite the same. I do buy a lot of food though. My husband has expensive (and abundant) snacking tendencies. Apparently, he was not allowed to snack much at all growing up. He is making up for it by eating snacks every single night after the kids go to bed. It's a terrible habit but who am I to tell him not to eat? He is a tall-skinny guy. Honestly, I get tired of hearing about how it looks like he doesn't eat. Don't tell me how he doesn't eat! I see him try to clean out every snack food each night after he eats a big dinner! ... wow. Okay, that was a rant. Sorry about that. Moving on.

So, those are my reservations. Do you think I should do it?


  1. I went there once--bought the 49 cent cans of green beans---we threw them out--nasty--how do you mess up canned green beans!?! But the cheap mild was ok...

  2. Uhm, I say no. LoL. Andrew and his mom swear by Aldi's (they had them growing up back in Iowa/Illinois) but I dunno... sounds kinda iffy. Especially the whole quarter for a cart thing. No. I can understand the bags, I suppose.

    And I totally laughed out loud when you wrote that you knew your favorite cashier Margaret... then I realized I do the same thing. When I go to the Walmart here, I WILL NOT go in lines with certain cashiers. lol. Trish thought I was nuts the other day for not going in the shortest line because of that. And one night earlier this year, I definitely stayed in there for an extra 15 minutes talking to my cashier about weddings and rings, lol.

    And I can NEVER find pimientos at a new store. Ever.

    Oh well, I don't think the world will end if neither of us shops there :) lol.

  3. I do not know what this "ALDI" is, we don't have any of those around here. But, I will tell you this...If you buy groceries from a list,(which I really think you do, Amy)and if you know where these items are, and which ones you normally purchase, you are less likely to purchase "impulse" items. I know you are a frugal shopper, and you will make wise decisions. So stick with stores that are in your comfort zone. Also, think of the blessings that you are receiving AND giving while making relationships in that store.
    That is just my "2 cents worth"! Just Me.

  4. Oh yes, you are correct. I have the list. It is THE list never to be deviated from. You know me well.

    Funny enough, I went on my weekly shopping trip today and the cashier I had was no one I recognized and she was terribly rude and unfriendly...

  5. I shopped at the ALDI by us and didn't find it to great. I hate going to more than one store and also like knowing exactly where everything is. There is NO way you could shop at ALDI and not have to go to another store.