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All Over ALDI

with 5 comments

Sandee, Jane, and I had a “Girls’ Night Out” last Thursday night. Guess what we did. It’s so wild and crazy, I’m sort of reluctant to write about it… we went to the grocery store, ALDI! Woo hoo!!

Now Jane and Sandee do not despise grocery shopping nearly as much as I do (It’s only one step above ironing pleated pants, as far as I’m concerned), so they were eager to go to the store to see how it compared to stores like Kroger and Publix. I, on the other hand, had heard from co-workers that it really was cheaper than more mainstream stores, and since I’m on a very tight budget, I was willing to check it out.

So the three of us drove over to the one nearest my house (about 1.5 miles away…not too bad). We went in without a cart, because we were not intending to buy anything. What we didn’t know was that you have to deposit $.25 to unlock a cart from the chain, then return the cart to the chain to get the money back. This “bring it back to get your money back” method keeps carts from littering the parking lot, as well as needing to hire people to gather them up. (Good idea #1)

First impression of the store itself… it’s small. Not a whole lot bigger than the small Piggly Wiggly I used to be dragged to once a week with my mom, growing up in Tallassee. (Side note: I used to be scared to walk by the area with “Red Devil Lye.” It had a picture of a red devil head on it that scared the bejeesus out of me as a little kid.)

From what I read, the store stocks about 1,400 different items, as opposed to the more than 40,000 items the bigger stores stock. So if you’re looking for exotic ethnic foods, or if you need 10 different varieties of grapes, you’re not gonna find it here. They offer the basic staples, and that savings on spaces allows for a much smaller building translating into lower overhead. (Good idea #2)

The trip down the first aisle (plenty wide and very clean) was not that impressive, as it was mostly junk food, which all of us are trying to avoid in an effort to be healthy. So we didn’t really pay attention to the prices. However, I did notice that the items were stocked in their boxes, not on shelves, so there’s no need to pay someone for stocking shelves. (Good idea #3). The prices were clearly marked above each item… helpful to someone like me who has trouble reading small type.

Sandee’s first spotting of a good bargain was a bottle of EVOO. It was approx. 50% less than what she would have paid elsewhere. Now granted, most of the products in the store are not nationally recognized brands, but most are the ALDI brand, which has the “Double Guarantee.” If you don’t like their product, you can take it back and get a replacement AND a refund. (Good idea #4) From everything I’ve read, their items are made by well-known makers like Campbells and Kraft, they just sell it under a different brand name. More on the items I got later.

We were most impressed with the cost of the milk…$1.79. What bothered me was that they didn’t sell half-gallons. But I went ahead and got the gallon. I need to drink more anyway, and hopefully, trying not to waste the gallon will help with that.

They had a large choice of meat that was really decently priced and  “looked” good. The cuts were generous portions and appeared to be fresh. They also had a large choice of processed meats as well. None of us purchased any meats, but I will go back and do that.

I bought one can of chili, because I’m picky about my chili, so if it’s good, I’m excited, because while I know it was a good price, I can’t remember the price. I bought a four-pack of toilet paper (not as soft as Angel Soft, but not too bad either) for $1.00. Jane got a loaf of honey wheat bread for $1.29, and we all tried it when we got home. It was just fine, compared to Nature’s Own, my favorite.

We didn’t really loiter and look at every item, but I did notice the selection of fruits and vegetables was minimal. What was there looked fresh, but there just wasn’t that much of it. They also have select items on sale every week that are not there all the time, mostly non-food items.

Anyway, we got up to the checkout, and found out they don’t take checks nor credit cards (which none of us were planning to use anyway), but only cash and debit cards. That way, they do not have to recoup the cost of using credit systems nor chasing bad checks (Good idea #5).

None of us noticed that they sell their grocery bags at a minimal price, but we didn’t have enough to need bags anyway. This keeps them from having to cover the cost of bags, and also encourages people to bring their own bags (Good idea #6… and “green” too). No baggers either… no cost for laborers.

Anyway, I’m totally sold on it as long as the items I get there are decent. I am a “brand name” person on a few things… QTips being one of them… so if they products are anywhere close to brand names, the cost difference will soooo be worth it.

If there’s an ALDI near you, give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. (Good idea #7)

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Written by blogicalinks

November 21, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Posted in Whatever

5 Responses

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  1. They have ALDIs in IL where my mother sometimes shopped because it was close. I have to admit I’m a grocery store snob. A really nice grocery store is like a day at the spa for me. I love the coffee bars, fresh cut flowers, and the fancy meats. Mostly in my grocery store closest to me I can only find meats like hooves, snouts, and chicken feet. I just want a lousy flank steak once in a while! Maybe it depends on what part of town you live in. For me ALDI is okay for everyday food but I loved beeng pampered at the high end grocery stores and I’m willing to pay for it.

    Donna

    November 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    • Yeah, Donna, if you want all the extras, I’m sure it’s not the place for you. Happily, however, they don’t seem to stock hooves, snouts, and chicken feet at the store near me.

      Cheryl

      November 22, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    • I walked in an Aldi’s – and out again. I didn’t understand.

      I enjoyed a shopping spree at Trader Joe’s and am delighted everytime I pull something unique out of the freezer. I’m in love with Trader Joe’s.

      Laura

      January 29, 2010 at 4:02 am

  2. I’ll have to give ALDI another try. There is one near me and last time I went, I was severely unimpressed. It was new at the time and maybe I didn’t go in with the right frame of mind – or not in the correct state of poverty.

    I was told by my German friend Antje that ALDIs are all over Germany and it’s their main (good) grocery store.

    I think I’m a little like Donna though – a really nice grocery store makes a big difference to me. Also, the better looking the food is the more likely I am to bring something home. I don’t like to cook and eating is mostly utilitarian to me so I’m the type that needs to go to the store hungry or I don’t come home with anything but oatmeal and a 12 pack of coke.

    Dianne

    November 25, 2009 at 9:48 am

  3. I think Aldi is great as a “filler store” if you go in looking for just what you need, or you know that they sell the item for way less, then Aldi can save you a lot of money in the long run! I usually go to aldi for stuff like bread, milk chicken broth, select veggies, trash bags cooking oil etc. Then, I’ll go to the fancy wal-mart grocery store near me (Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market) and fill in the blanks. Aldi is my friend and I’m actually planning to go first thing in the morning!

    I just hope Sunday isn’t a busy day for them. We’ll See!

    Jake

    January 17, 2010 at 1:40 am


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