Since Abby Slutsky shops for a business as well as her family, she's always on the lookout for reasonably priced groceries.
In an age when groceries are increasing in cost, shoppers are constantly looking for a way to decrease their bottom line when feeding their families. Aldi supermarkets offer competitive prices without the necessity of joining a club warehouse. Nevertheless, you should be aware of their cost-cutting measures as well as the pros and cons of shopping there before you go.
Aldi Cost-Cutting Measures
- Shopping carts: Unlike other supermarkets, be prepared to return your own cart at Aldi. The supermarket has a system where your cart is secured to another one, and you must pay a quarter to release it from the line of carts. On the plus side, when you return your cart, you will receive your quarter back. Thus, Aldi saves money on employees retrieving carts because they entice their shoppers to do it. I think the system works very well, and I rarely see carts left in the lot at the Aldi where I shop.
- Shopping bags: Similar to some other discount markets and warehouses, Aldi does not provide bags to their customers. Keep some in your car, so you can bag your groceries without paying for bags. Nevertheless, if you do need to buy bags, Aldi bags are less expensive than many other retailers (especially if you purchase the plain brown ones). I also note that many stores are charging for bags or providing slight discounts for those who bring their own. Some areas require all markets to charge for bags.
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Pros of Shopping at Aldi
- Competitive prices: On the plus side, there are certain items that consistently seem cheaper than similar items at other markets. I have had good luck with milk, eggs, orange juice, chocolate chips, fruit and cream cheese. Some frozen foods are also very competitive; however, it is important to know your prices because not every item is a bargain at Aldi, especially if you do have access to a club warehouse or are committed to going to various markets to get the best sale price.
- Well-organized aisles: The stores near me have been organized, and the aisles seem to stay consistent, so once I know the store, it is easy to navigate and find items.
- Quality of items: I have been happy with the quality of items that I purchase at Aldi stores. Occasionally, I may have a frozen food that is not to my taste but that can happen in a regular supermarket too. I have been satisfied with their fruit, meats, dry goods and most other items that I have tried, even when they may not have been brands that I saw in other stores.
Cons of Shopping at Aldi
The Aldi stores that I go to seem to be smaller than other markets. This may contribute to some of the disadvantages of shopping there.
- Limited brands: Unlike many markets, the shelf space at Aldi seems limited, and the stores don’t carry the same number of brands and products as many other supermarkets.
- Products seem to disappear and reappear: You can’t really rely on Aldi to always have the products you want. I am not sure whether some items are seasonal or whether there are times when they just can’t get them. However, they can stock some items for months, and then all of a sudden you can no longer get those items there. At least at the stores where I shop, the staff does not have knowledge about if or when they will be getting those items again. They usually do not know why they no longer have them.
- Not as many employees: The stores that I have been to seem to have fewer staff members than a regular market. In fact, the stores near me frequently have only one cashier opened, but perhaps this is just the times I usually go which are often mid-day.
- No counter service: Aldi markets do not offer deli, bakery, butcher or fish counters. It is a self-serve market that does not have any counter service.
- Checking out headache: When you check out, the cashier will load your unbagged items into a cart that is already at the end of the cashier line. Most people take a few minutes to organize their items and put them into bags before they exit the store but after they pay. If you wind up buying more than you anticipated and didn’t take a cart, you will be unable to take the loaded cart without replacing it. I have not been to an Aldi where there are carts inside the store, so it can be inconvenient if you have to go outside to replace the cart.
Based on the savings, I think it is worth shopping at Aldi markets if you know your prices. Nevertheless, in my personal experience, I can’t rely on this market chain as the sole market to do all my shopping because they do not always carry everything I need.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Abby Slutsky