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There’s a good chance you have an ALDI grocery store in your neighborhood. If you haven’t shopped at ALDIs before, then there are a few things you’ll want to know first.
To give you some background, ALDI grocery stores were introduced in the U.S. in 1976. Southeastern Iowa was the location of the very first ALDIs.
Today, there are over 1,000 stores in the United States (5,000 internationally), and ALDIs is ranked 24th in gross sales for grocery stores in the nation!
Shopping at ALDI is an interesting experience, to say the least.
A Few Minor Inconveniences
The first thing you will notice at ALDIs is that the shopping carts are all chained together in front of the store, and you need a quarter to retrieve one!
Wait… this is actually a good thing.
While it’s certainly an inconvenience, you will never have to worry about being able to find a grocery cart or having your car damaged by a grocery cart on a windy day. At ALDIs you need to re-chain your grocery cart, in order to get your quarter back.
(Truthfully, I rarely return my cart for the returned quarter. Instead, I wait for someone to approach the cart rack and give them mine, free of charge. It’s a feel-good thing.)
Another inconvenience you will find when shopping at ALDIs is that they don’t provide grocery bags for the things you bought. You can pay for paper bags, bring your own, or scrounge for boxes throughout the store. How you get your groceries to your home is completely up to you.
You may also notice that food selection is slim at ALDIs — very much like the large discount warehouse stores. They only stock about 1,200 items where most supermarkets stock between 20,000 to 50,000 different items. The items that ALDI sells include only the fastest selling and most popular items. Period.
According to The Food Network’s “Unwrapped” show, 80% of items sold at ALDI are private label products, but the truth is while everything is off-brand (made exclusively for ALDI), most of ALDI’s brands are made in the actual brand name factories. The products are the same as the big name brands, but they’re sold under brand names that are only available at ALDI stores.
ALDI stores do not accept checks, credit cards, or coupons. You can only use a debit card, electronic food stamps card, or cash.
ALDI’s Prices Are Worth The Inconveniences
So with all of these inconveniences, why am I praising ALDI stores?
Well, because it is due to these cost-cutting inconveniences that ALDIs stores are able to provide customers with rock-bottom prices and save flexible customers a great deal of money.
At ALDIs you will find meats, dairy, fresh produce, and no-frills canned goods alongside many store brand overstock items every week.
When all is said and done, the prices are the reason you want to shop at ALDIs — not the conveniences.
More About Shopping At ALDIs
I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.