April 30, 2008

WFMW: Aldi's

Call me simple-minded---un-American even--but here it is..I desire fewer choices in life, not more. I don't need a choice of 18 types of paper towels...any will work just fine. Some will argue there's a real difference in paper towels and this deserves careful consideration. But guess what--they all end up in the trash at some point anyway. I don't need to devote a second more of my time to what brand and color of dish soap will match my kitchen decor the best. (Be assured that NOTHING in my kitchen matches!) I strive to save my time and brain energy for decision-making when it really counts.

Enter ALDI's to rescue me from the world of too many decisions! ALDI is a grocery chain that is only 5 isles long--you heard right--only 5 isles. But where will I find my most favorite double chocolate cherry chip ice cream, you ask? You may not find it at ALDI...but then again you might...but there will only be one brand, not the 7-10 that you might find in a traditional grocery store. This is what is so appealing to me...if I want Saltines...I find Saltines. There's only one kind (no decision-making on brand involved) and they are cheap, Cheap, CHEAP! (Saltines were 89 cents when I went last.) I get a financial reward for my lack of decision-making! When in life does that EVER happen?! This is my kind of place!

ALDI also appeals to me for the ingenious way they modify the behaviour of their customers. In order to use a cart, you must insert a quarter for the cart to release from the line. The quarter stays stuck until you replace the cart. It's your money to begin with, it's stuck in your cart staring at you the whole time you shop, and the line of other carts is so close...the need to retrieve that precious quarter takes hold of the shopper and magically all the carts are put away! There are no...and quote me on this...NO stray carts in the ALDI parking lot! It is amazing how a borrowed quarter can cause shoppers to be conscientious in returning their carts at the end of their shopping! Gotta love the power of 25 cents!

Another way they train their customers costs only 5 cents. ALDI does not provide bags or bagger staff to pack your groceries at the end of your trip. But for a mere nickel per bag, you may purchase bags to do it yourself. Again, the thought of actually having to pay extra for bags...even at only 5 cents each...is so detestable to most shoppers that they either do without altogether, or they have learned to bring their own reusable bags. (The former makes for a fun car ride home, I am sure!) I bring my own bags...I keep a stash of them in my car at all times.

Who can't resist that type of passive control...all for cents on the dollar...brilliant!

While both my lack of decision making and amusement with passive behaviour modification are important, they certainly wouldn't cause me to drive 40 minutes from my house to shop at the closest ALDI's store. It all comes back to the mighty dollar...ALDI's is SO cheap!!! (I hope to post a price comparison from a recent trip...Aldi versus SuperFresh...stay tuned!) Even factoring in the cost of gas (roughly $14), I still come out ahead by making the trip.

Since I am currently on a coupon break, ALDI is the best way for me to get great prices without having to invest the time into comparing multiple sale ads with coupons and hitting multiple stores on shopping day.

It's Wednesday, and it Works for Me!


BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I just went to Aldi's for the first time yesterday and was thoroughly impressed. I "only" spent $33 and got a ton of things for my kids. I'm definitely going back as I am trying to get a handle on our grocery budget (or lack thereof.)

Stacey said...

I LOVE Aldi's!!!! I think I could live there.

Louise said...

What a refreshing post! I agree that fewer choices really can be less stressful, and I HATE coupons. Since we live on the road, we don't come across an ALDI's very often, but will look for them in the future.

Thanks for the tip!

Kimberly said...

We just shopped for the first time at Aldi's last weekend, and I was super-impressed by the quality of the food as well as the low prices. I totally hear you about the choice issue-- I even commented about how quick and easy the shopping was without 1,000 different choices. I'm a new fan of Aldi & am loving my lower grocery bills, too!