Broke Consumers Turn To Deep Discount Stores Like Aldi

You may be broke, but Aldi isn’t! As consumers cut back, more of them are shopping at deep discount stores like Aldi. The German-owned grocer usually doesn’t advertise, but the economic slowdown is helping business, and Aldi is investing in a few commercials.

From the WSJ:

Among the beneficiaries of those shifting dollars is Aldi Group, a no-frills, deep-discount grocer that operates more than 900 stores in 29 U.S. states. The chain, based in Germany, used to shun television advertising, but it recently ran a series of national commercials stressing its low prices on private-label products. The campaign’s slogan: “Shop Aldi Smart.”

Last month, a survey by Retail Forward showed that consumers were doing 25% more of their spending at deep discounters like Aldi than they were a year earlier.

Have you started to shop at more stores like Aldi?

Retailers Recalibrate Pitch To Strapped Consumers
[WSJ]
(Photo: Morton Fox )

Comments

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  1. I’ve tried. I really have. But I just can’t bring myself to touch most of Aldi’s stuff. They apparently do pretty well, but I don’t really get it.

    I much prefer going to Dollar General and buying brand-name stuff for Aldi-level prices (even before the expiration date!)

  2. coan_net says:

    i use to shop at Aldi’s often – but haven’t been there for the past couple of years since a Wal-Mart was built a lot closer.

  3. Womblebug says:

    I regularly shop Aldi for staples like baking supplies, which seldom go on sale elsewhere. Their milk is currently about $2.60 a gallon, compared with over $4 for Wal-Mart.

    I find that on other things, a combination of loss-leader sales and coupons enable me to do better than Aldi.

    Aldi will also have special buys every week, that range from name-brand food items, to toys and clothing, to electronics. My computer, a Medion, came from there, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. I also have shrubbery growing in my yard I got from them last year. They have a weekly email about the special buys, or you can check their website.

    A good piece of a sound shopping strategy, IMO.

  4. glennski says:

    Shop smart…shop S-mart!

  5. B says:

    I’ve never seen one. Is it like a 99 cent store? I don’t get it.

  6. apotheosis says:

    I used to shop at Aldi all the time in my apartment days. Less so in recent years, but they’re still okay for some things.

    It might not be the best for picky palates, but I never got food poisoning from their products.

  7. Derv says:

    Ha, my dad was once our mayor a few years ago and he used to make me go in there with a grocery list because he was too embarrassed to be seen in that store.

  8. petrarch1610 says:

    people think that Trader Joe’s is a feel-good local organic grocery store, but they are really a faceless multi-billion dollar corporation owned by the same people behind Aldi.

  9. gqcarrick says:

    I shop there all the time and they do have some really good deals. I cut my grocery bill in half by shopping there. No they are not brand names, but its still good food. I need to get my girlfriend to shop there now so we can cut our grocery bills because she thinks if its not a brand name its not good, and thats a bad way to think.

  10. temporaryscars says:

    I’ve always shopped at Aldi, as did my parents. I don’t shop there exclusively, but most of what I buy comes from there. True, it’s not always top quality stuff, but 90% of what I buy is comparable to what I’d get at Wegmans and at half the cost. I think most people who don’t shop there refuse to because it bruises their ego. They see it as a status thing. I’d shop there even if I made $700,000 a year.

  11. monkey33 says:

    The Aldi’s here is across town, so I’ve never shopped there. My favorite grocery store here is actually locally owned and just as cheap as Aldi’s, with a great meat and produce selection.

  12. PunditGuy says:

    @glennski: You beat me to an Ash quote by nine minutes.

  13. geeky_reader says:

    I’m more of a fan of Sav-A-Lot stores. Better selection I think, and to me Aldi’s is just…ugh. They sell a bunch of miscellaneous items whereas Sav-A-Lot is just a bargain grocery store.

    Granted, to shop and buy there, one has to be quite comfortable with buying generic products, but honestly, most of if not all the food is comparable to the name brand stuff. I stay away from the ‘fresh’ food there, but I load up on canned veggies, fruits, frozen foods, and pre-packaged meals/mixes (like MacNCheese and Hamburger Helper rip-offs), and baking supplies.

  14. battra92 says:

    @B: Basically they keep costs down by carrying 1 size of everything and 99% is private label (store brand) products.

  15. boomerang86 says:

    Aldi is fine if you can put up with (a) long checkout queues, (b) having to bag your own groceries, (c) BUY bags if you forgot to bring your own, and (d) forego using a credit card or personal checks since neither are accepted there.

  16. evslin says:

    Used to shop at Aldi all the time and this other place similar to Aldi called Lidl when I lived in Germany. Only reason I don’t go to Aldi now is because of its location being 20 minutes off of my regular paths through town.

  17. Blackneto says:

    Maybe consumers wouldn’t be broke if they shopped at places like Aldi regularly.
    My wife gets certain things at Aldi like canned goods, snack foods, some produce when it’s better there than other places.
    Another thing that helps is that she has several friends that all keep track of what is on sale or instock at which store. that way trips can be planned and they don’t spend all day store hopping looking for deals. At times they will call each other when in the store and notify them whats available and offer to pick it up for them. That saves lots of time and trips for everyone.

  18. nsv says:

    @petrarch1610: When I lived up north, I shopped at Trader Joe’s because they were cheaper than Stop & Shop for the basics. Then I’d go to Stop & Shop for meats and produce.

    Now I just go to Publix, buy on sale when I can (two for one FTW!) and buy store brands most of the time.

    There are three Wal-Marts in my town that I know of. I never go there.

  19. gmoney says:

    @petrarch1610: That’s really not true. They are in fact owned by the same company that owns Aldi’s, but Trader Joes’ is not run as an Aldi’s and is not the same, any more than your dog and your cat are the same just because they are owned by you.

    Now if you want to choose to disown TJ’s because it’s not local or truly independent, have at it. But vilifying them just because they aren’t seems silly to me. They are a well-run, clean, appealing place to do business.

    Aldi’s is none of those. Ownership is irrelevant in this case.

  20. My problem with Aldi’s food isn’t an ego thing…it’s that it’s almost all just canned and overprocessed stuff. I don’t buy that stuff normally, so it makes little sense to compromise my eating habits just to find a deal. However, if you already eat a lot of canned/processed/frozen food, I can see the attraction. Plus, the stores are clean and well laid out.

    As I mentioned above, most Dollar General stores are about 10 minutes from each other (they have 3,200 locations or something) and tend to be better stocked. Cluttered, but better stocked. Prices are at least as good, and they bag your groceries for you. It’s like the best parts of Walmart, with none of the bad stuff.

  21. battra92 says:

    I like Aldi, personally. We do a monthly run there get the essentials like sugar, frozen meat, canned veggies etc.

    One thing we’ve found, though is that taking a monthly (or every other month) run to a Super Wal*Mart and BJ’s.

  22. gmoney says:

    I don’t shop at Aldi’s because it’s an extra 10 minute drive. I hit Harris Teeter and Lowes for the stock up on the BOGOs that week that I use, and come out even or ahead.

  23. Jubilance22 says:

    I shopped at Aldi a lot when I was a broke grad student. When I moved to Florida I was sad that there would be no Aldi around, but I’ve recently learned that they are opening a bunch of stores here.

    @battra92: I also shop at BJ’s, and get gas there exclusively, and I use as many of the BJ’s coupons as I can.

  24. jaffa-cake says:

    The only Aldi near me closed down for whatever reason, but I rarely went there since it was in a bad neighborhood. I guess the next option would be C-Town, thanks but no thanks!

  25. 6a says:

    I buy a lot of the basics there, but I still go elsewhere to get things like meat and milk. One thing I have noticed is their increasing offering of non-food merchandise. I’m not sure that I think ‘Aldi’ when I need some blank CD’s but one can even find good deals with that stuff.

  26. HeartBurnKid says:

    We used to have a great place called the Grocery Outlet out here. I miss it now more than ever.

    Hey Grocery Outlet guys! Re-open your southern California stores! We want you back!

  27. mmcnary says:

    We shop there all the time. I refuse to acknowledge that there is a difference between saltines costing $2.29 a box at Price Chopper and the $.79 ones at Aldi…

  28. whatdoyoucare says:

    You can’t beat the prices on baking supplies, dairy, eggs, canned and boxed goods. The only things we get from nicer grocery stores is produce. We have found that Aldi’s produce isn’t very fresh. But we save so much money by shopping at Aldi’s that we don’t mind having to go to another store to buy produce.

    @B: Aldi’s is a no frills supermarket. I have never seen more than 2 employees in the store at one time. Canned and boxed goods are set out on pallets. They don’t pack up your groceries for you. In fact if you want to have paper bags you have to buy them at $.05 each. Otherwise you are free to use empty boxes you find in the store or bring your own. If you want to use a shopping cart you have to put a quarter in the slot to unlock it from the other carts. You do get the quarter back when you return the cart, though. I know it sounds weird, but I like it because there are never any stray carts out in the parking lot to ding your car.

  29. snoop-blog says:

    @Ash78: I agree that with you in the whole change what I eat process. Don’t go into an aldi’s expecting to buy a certain meal. It’s likely they will have maybe one or more ingredients needed, but not all of them. Then you have to drive to another store to make a complete meal. Factor in the cost of gas, and you really didn’t even save much money, and now you have a bland tasting dish.

    However, I disagree with the DG pricing… For example: Dove soap at DG is like $2 (they round everything up to the dollar) but at k-mart the exact same soap is $1.97. I know .03 cents, but DG does this with everything they sell.

    And to those who don’t know what an aldi’s is: It is a discount store where they sell stuff that was over produced. Canned goods, snacks, lunch meats, etc. they do have milk and almost everything a grocery store should, but it’s off. It looks like a grocery store, but look down the canned goods isle. Its a bunch of shit you’d hardley ever use, except for maybe corn, grean beans and such. But everything at aldi’s is fairly cheap. Canned corn is something around 20 cents. AND… You have to pay a 25 cent deposit for a cart (you get it back when you return your own cart) and like 15 cents per grocery bag. It’s best to find a box in the store to use instead of bags. Oh and you have to bag your own stuff. I heard their cashiers (in my town anyway) start off at like $10/hr.

  30. grayskies says:

    aldi is awesome!

  31. whatdoyoucare says:

    @boomerang86: They started taking credit/debit cards a few years ago in our town. I don’t think they take checks.

  32. ringo00 says:

    I miss Aldi. I moved from northern Illinois to Sacramento a couple of years ago and there aren’t any Aldi stores in CA. The food there is good and most of it is dirt cheap compared to other stores and brands. There are some products to stay away from at Aldi, but you learn what those are pretty quickly.

  33. Mr. Guy says:

    aldi? what the hell is aldi? i live in new york city, spend most weekends in albany, and travel fairly regularly around the northeast, and i’ve never heard of this store.

  34. Bladefist says:

    Aldi has some good quality products, better then you can get at Walmart or any of the typical grocery stores. They also have some non-quality items. You go there for the good stuff, its cheap, you leave, you get the rest at Hy-Vee.

    By the way, I know a few rich people that go there too. Like I said, some of their items are very high in quality. They have “starbucks” drinks that are better then starbucks and only a dollar.

    It just makes sense.

  35. theblackdog says:

    I used to go to Bottom Dollar Foods (Food Lion’s version of Aldi) to get all of my groceries. The only reason I stopped is because the co-op supermarket behind my apartment has prices that are the same on their store brand (Shur Fine) products that Bottom Dollar does. If I was to continue shopping at Bottom Dollar, any savings I would realize from going there would be negated by the cost of gas to drive there.

    It’s the same story with Aldi, the closest store to me is about 10 miles down the road on city streets.

  36. theblackdog says:

    @Bladefist: What you reminded me of is an article back in December or so saying that a lot of the rich folks in DC are starting to use Costco, especially for their party purchases.

  37. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @Bladefist: They have upgraded their inventory quite a bit in recent years. You can even get real German beer, which kicks ass.

  38. iMike says:

    I went to Aldi for the first time last week. Fine stuff, I suppose.

    My brand preference is for Trader Joe’s, though (also owned by the Albrechts).

  39. Bladefist says:

    Also they sell things other then food. I got a 4-chair patio set, with umbrella, glass table, all for $89, and you would never know it wasn’t $300.

  40. Hey, at least the shopping carts are cheap. In Europe, it’s a Euro coin deposit ($1.55 or so) and in the UK, many small grocers require a pound ($2). Of course you get it back, but it’s just enough deterrent to leaving the cart in the middle of the parking lot. Cuts down on labor cost.

  41. Bladefist says:

    @theblackdog: Yes, I agree. Rich people are rich because they make smart decisions. If you see rich people going to Aldis, you should follow :)

  42. Aldi is incredible. I shopped there in my college days, and would get two weeks worth of genuinely good food for under $30.

    It’s definitely not for the stuck up, or those who value the comfort of name brands, but I can honestly say that everything I’ve gotten from there is just as good as the same name brand stuff, and yet is more than 50% less in most cases.

  43. Oface says:

    @snoop-blog: They pay them $15 here in Tennessee. Lucky bastards.

  44. OKJeff says:

    We use three grocery stores to get our shopping done. Price-Rite (similar to Aldi’s) for staples, Stop and Shop for Produce and Meat and Whole Foods for those specialties items you can’t find anywhere else.

  45. @Ash78: I’m with you, Aldi kind-of scares me. That may just be my local one, but it’s really skeezy looking. I’d be uncomfortable buying edibles there … I’m always expecting the rats to be racing across the parking lot when I’m driving by.

  46. snoop-blog says:

    @Oface: yeah considering they don’t bag and they get swivel chairs to sit in while the scan. I wonder how good the benifits are? Or do you get a discount on top of their already discounted prices?

  47. nsv says:

    @theblackdog: Gaaaahg, there’s a cut rate Food Lion? I wouldn’t buy soap at Food Lion, every one I’ve been in has been just downright nasty. A cheaper version can only be worse.

  48. Ron-Mexico says:

    They’re putting an Aldi’s in next to a Walmart and Publix near us. It will be interesting to see how they do. I have no experience with Aldi’s, but we still prefer Publix for most of our perishable items and Walmart (even though I HATE going there due to crowds) for non-perishables.

  49. battra92 says:

    @Bladefist: Exactly so. I think that’s one of the main reasons I go to Consumerist and Lifehacker so much. I mean it’s not like we’re in an age of old money with sterling silver lobster crackers and a hired butler just to sweep up the crumbs.

    One thing you won’t get at Aldi is customer service. They have a sort of “move it buddy” attitude and the cashiers all seem to not care about anything. Oh well, you have trade offs in everything, I guess.

  50. ChuckECheese says:

    @petrarch1610 and @iMike: I wondered why I saw Trader Joe’s products for sale at an Aldi in Belgium once. Now I know.

  51. snoop-blog says:

    @Ron-Mexico: Wal-mart generally puts other stores out of business, not the other way around.

  52. toddkravos says:

    Save-a-Lot and Aldi’s both in the Cleveland, OH market take debit card (not credit) and cash. No checks.

    You have to bag your own stuff at both
    Aldi’s make you deposit a quarter to get a shopping cart which is given back when you return the cart to it’s rightful ‘home’

    I go to either one of these stores for most items first, Then down a few blocks a “typical grocery store” for large meat and/or produce-type purchases.

    I find that Save-a-Lot’s produce is better than Aldi’s

    I shop about 3 times a week because I prefer things fresh.
    That and I’m single, food goes bad when I buy in bulk.

    I’ve never did the math, but I’d guess I’ve saved at least 25% by going to these types of stores first. Thankfully, these stores are near the typical grocery stores here so gas waste isn’t an issue.

    And no, I don’t eat the processed food stuffs save for an occasion hot-pocket purchase :)

    Oh and I find that Milk is ALWAYS cheapest at Dollar
    General.

  53. rten says:

    I shop Aldi’s for the staples. The “brand whores” who insist on brand names only should take another look. I’ve seen pallets come in still shrink wrapped, want to guess what was on the pallet packing slip?… “General Mills Cereal Distribution Center”. Take a guess who makes at least some of the private label cereals. Same too with seeing Keebler on a palet packing slip.

    The make money by only stocking the 750 most common items people buy in exactly one size, which drops the number of shelves and stockers needed. Our local store runs on 6-7 employees for an entire weeks schedule. I’ve never felt they compromised quality, just the brand glitz.

  54. Gopher bond says:

    I loved ALDIs when I was in college. They had boxes of pancake mix that came from some country in South America and sold them each for a quarter. They also had big boxes of dry milk (cows?) for about 50 cents. Then some cheapo brand of syrup in a big bottle for a dollar.

    I’d eat pancakes made with rehydrated milk and some sort of sweet syrup for every meal. Each meal cost about a dime. It was great. Saved a lot of money for booze.

  55. Wish we had Aldi here in the NW. We’ve got a chain called Grocery Outlet. Same idea, overstocks and near to expiry date stuff. Still, I got three pints of Haagen Daaz there for $1.49 each (vs. grocery store price of $3.99 each). And, it’s fun to see things like Hellman’s Mayo (it’s supposed to be Best Foods here in the West), Edy’s Grand ice cream, etc. Great prices on imported cheeses, too. Don’t be a snob, be a smarty-pants and save big!

  56. VeryPlainJane says:

    I love our Aldi’s! I shop there for pantry staple items and their dairy products are very cheap. Also, our Aldis takes credit/debt cards and they do advertise.

  57. betatron says:

    i work in the town that houses Aldi’s national headquarters (Batavia Il) and live about a mile from the Aldi store closest to their headquarters (Rt. 38, Geneva).

    This means _my_ Aldi is the nicest in the US, because whenever Herr Doktor Aldi wants to check out his store, he visits that one. My aldi is … perfect, and the help is super nice.

  58. moore850 says:

    @B: I’ve been to Aldi’s a few times when I was strapped for cash. Basically they have few shelves, but almost everything’s just right off the forklift with the top boxes open, and all generic and/or about to expire, but extremely cheap the more you’re willing to sacrifice to get what you need. It’s a very different looking store on the inside compared to the typical grocery store because of the piles of goods. They don’t have a lot of selection, but as was said above, for staples their prices are unbeatable. Bring cash and you’ll also be bagging yourself. Some don’t have carts to help save on the prices, etc.

  59. purell54 says:

    Aldi rocks, they typically have everything you need for a great meal, including fresh veggies at low prices.

  60. MonkeyMonk says:

    I’ve never warmed up to Aldi’s but Trader Joe’s is my favorite grocery store. Overall, they’re about 60% cheaper than the local Dominiks and Jewel plus I think a lot of their private label products are more tasty than major label stuff. Their stuff tends to be generally more healthy too (you still get all the fat and calories but they use less fake stuff and other additives).

  61. Orv says:

    @Ash78: If the price of oil keeps going up we’re all going to be eating a lot more canned and processed foods. It’s not cheap to fly asparagus in from Peru.

  62. SnickerDoodle says:

    I haven’t been to an Aldi store for years, when I was in the Netherlands. Low prices and an ever changing selection of non-staple items.

    Not in Canada…Pity

  63. luckybob343 says:

    I live in the suburbs of Philly and our Aldi is cleaner than any other supermarket I’ve been to. My wife and I have shopped there for 90% of our groceries in the past two years, and we haven’t had anything from there that we wouldn’t have again. Granted, we’re not gourmet chefs or anything close to it and we eat out between seven and 10 times a week, but we can get close to one month of food for ~$120 (not including the quick trips to Wal*Mart/Acme for milk, bread and eggs).

    The staff is minimal, but always nice. The customer mix isn’t the greatest, but then again, you ARE shopping with a WIC-heavy crowd. The bags, incidentally, have made my wife and I more slightly more environmentally conscious.

    Finally, the creator of the quarter/buggy thing should be lauded as a genius. I haven’t been to a Wal*Mart or Target in years and had a cart as clean and as in good a shape as the ones I routinely get at Aldi.

  64. JohnMc says:

    Gee maybe if I could afford the airfare I might. But Germany I would not consider a discount….

  65. We used to shop at the Aldi’s in Plattsburgh when we’d do the monthly run to Super-Duper WalMart and Sams Club for the month. With the price of gas and ferry, though, we go to Price Chopper instead of crossing Lake Champlain. Works out almost even.

  66. perrinbar says:

    Ahh Aldi. I didn’t even know they existed in the states. I used their chief German competitor Lidl when I lived in Berlin, but they were basically the same. Two very cheap grocery stores, nothing fancy, but nothing so bad you never went back. I’m not sure what I’d do if I saw one around here.

  67. reznicek111 says:

    Used to shop at Aldi’s when we were first married and poor; they were great for dry/canned/frozen goods but as other commenters mentioned, the lines are long, product selection is limited and their fruits and veg section is lacking in many ways.

    We moved to Chicago, and now shop mostly at the independent ethnic fresh markets in town. You won’t find a lot of processed or frozen foods (or brand names) but the basics are good quality and very inexpensive (milk, eggs, breads, fruit and vegetables).

    Unfortunately they’re not common in rural/suburban areas, but if you have one of these markets in your neck of the woods (look for green awnings and a name that includes the words “fresh,” “fruit” or “produce”), be adventurous and give them a try! Some people are scared off by the fact they’re usually staffed and patronized by non-English speakers, but you will likely be pleasantly surprised. Hint: shop early or late at the fresh markets, as they tend to get very crowded with large families on weekends or mid-days.

  68. poetry1mind says:

    Oh man,
    The funny thing is that I grew up eating alot of Aldi’s food.
    I remember going to get chips, soda (brands that I never heard of) and Elio’s Pizza. The pizza was a lot cheaper than it was at ShopRite.
    Now that I am an adult, I wouldn’t shop at Aldi’s for food. My younger sister and lot of peope that I know on welfare shop there. Of course, I am not saying that all “public assistance” folks shop there but where I am from they do.
    Also, I don’t like Aldis because they have one right in connection with a apartment complex. Thus, gauranteeing that they can just walk off of their porch and be 20 ft from Aldi. Alot of these same folks don’t have a car. So this is cake for them.
    I don’t like that.
    I also believe Aldi’s and similiar stores sell “hormone qualified foods”. There is no mistake that we see 10 year olds with big breast and butts.
    I know a 8 year old that has high cholesterol and high blood pressure from eating food from there. However, this is the only place her family can shop. Maybe offer more vegetables or have a farmer’s market once a month in the parking lot?

  69. buyer5 says:

    Between Tops, Aldi’s, and BJ’s we do pretty good!

  70. civicmon says:

    I don’t have any Aldi’s near me, but as far as other items, I always go to Marshall’s or Ross first for clothes, Costco and other online sites for everything else.

    been doing so for years. Why spend so much more? I don’t understand it. I don’t need the hottet new shoes.. I graduated high school years ago.

  71. madanthony says:

    I go to Aldi’s once in a while. There are a few things I like – their precooked Italian chicken breasts, their giant bags of stir-fry veggies, and their knock-off Nutella spread.

    The problem is that most of the Aldi’s near me are quite a bit of a drive away, and in not-so-great neighborhoods. If I had one next door to me, I’d probably do most of my shopping there, instead of a couple times a year.

  72. mitten says:

    Some clarification on the Aldi ownership thing from Wikipedia:

    “In the USA, Aldi Nord CEO Theo Albrecht started a family trust that owns the Trader Joe’s chain of specialty grocery stores, which is separate from both Aldi corporations.[citation needed] It is not Theo but his brother Karl Albrecht’s Aldi South that conducts Aldi’s operations in the USA.”

    So looks like Trader Joe’s is owned by the brother of the dude who runs Aldi in the US.

  73. fever says:

    Everything I’ve had from there has been really good, but what really amazes me is that the fruit and vegetables were cheap, and excellent. I also liked the fact that the quantities of some things, like strawberries, are smaller, which means I spend less at the outset, and can eat the whole package before any of them go bad. I really don’t need a quart of strawberries, just give me 15 for a dollar, or whatever.

  74. KatieKate93 says:

    According to the web, the closest one to me is over 30 miles away :( I don’t really use a lot of canned stuff, but I’d still check it out if there was one closer.

    Currently, I buy meats and stuff I can freeze at the local butcher store and pretty much everything else at Stop & Shop. Their store brand is really good, IMO, so I save quite a bit that way.

    And then there’s my monthly trip to the fancy Big Y three towns for a couple gourmet things I like once in a while. Generic stuff tastes better topped with really good Reggiano Parmesan, I’ve found :)

  75. KatieKate93 says:

    ugh, that was supposed to be “three towns OVER”

  76. True story: I know someone who drives over 20 miles to shop at Aldi and 20 miles back home. I tried explaining to her that her car gets less than 20 mpg so its costing her over 8 bucks a trip. Still she goes there. I am betting she isn’t saving over 8 bucks more than the Walmart or County Market that are both less than a mile from her house.

  77. theblackdog says:

    @Bladefist: Except when the rich people order water (free) and then go get soda from the soda machine. Then they suck!

  78. Rae12401 says:

    @Mr. Guy:
    Exit 19 off the NYS Thruway. 9W South

  79. theblackdog says:

    @nsv: Yes there is, basically it’s a no-frills store (no full service bakery or deli) full of Food Lion branded items and national brands at cheaper prices. They do have good prices on their meats, but it’s still not enough for me to pay the fuel to get there and back.

  80. ElizabethD says:

    @Sir Winston Thriller:

    Sir Winston, do you live on one of the islands? I’ve taken that ferry.

  81. No, South Burlington. We pick up the ferry on Grand Isle.

  82. ekthesy says:

    @Mr. Guy:

    There’s also one in Bennington, VT should you be out that way. When I moved there I was shocked to find an Aldi, but when I started to meet my fellow townspeople the shock quickly dissipated.

  83. SpenceMan01 says:

    We’ve had good luck with Aldi’s produce, peanuts (in the jar), and other canned/boxed items. They have 1 pound rolls of ground turkey for $1 which is half of what our other stores sell it for.

    We avoid the milk, though. Tried it twice and tasted nasty both times.

  84. LankanDude says:

    I regularly shop at Aldi and another thing I don’t buy the brand name hype.
    After reading an article on internet about coca-cola vs sam’s cola, we tried to see if we can identify them by taste. But guess what, we couldn’t.
    So instead of spending $1.29 for a coke bottle we buy sam’s cola for $0.67.

  85. parvax says:

    I’ve been shopping at Aldi for a while, I’ve never been disappointed. I think the quality of their private label is better and cheaper than a lot of grocery stores. The only thing I’m not crazy about is their half-and-half but the knockoff Coffeemate is awesome, the ground turkey is great, and I’ve always been pretty pleased with the produce and baked goods. Give it a shot, haters!

  86. gibbersome says:

    I’ve had good experience shopping at Aldi, especially with the meager selection and plain layout it cuts down on my shopping time.

    I’ve found their vegetables and fruits to be especially fresh, more so than other stores around my area (with the exception of the farmer’s market).

  87. Snarkysnake says:

    Aldi is great. It’s stores like them that keep the bigger guys honest. They are actually based in Germany and the reason that you don’t recognize a lot of their brands is because they source them in Germany, Holland and Belgium.They only stock about 7,000 items whereas the typical supermarket stocks over 40,000. (One manufaturer/one size for most products). They typically employ no more than 3-4 people on a shift and the phone number is not listed in the book (Managers are expected to work,not yak). Don’t think that the managers are mistreated,though. I know one in my town that says that he makes much more money working as a manager at Aldi than he ever could elsewhere. The clerks and stockers make good money,too (according to a couple that I know). These guys just have a different business model than other chains. They are not scared of WalMart.All of you “brand whores ” (Love that phrase- thanks, Rten) just go on shopping somewhere else- that means shorter lines for me.

    Sav-A -Lot is another no frills outlet that I love. I wouldn’t buy some things there,but their cake mixes, sugar, bread and frozen prepared foods are better than most national brands.On “check day ” around here (when EBT money is available for food stamp recipients), you can’t get in Sav-A-Lot to save your life. You see families with twoor three carts of basics and staples loading up for the month.

  88. peggyhill says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: go to another one.

    Aldi has not let me down yet. I go regularly as it is. Most of the Private Label food products are generally run-offs from mainline suppliers (Once the ‘name brand’ order has been met for the week, the rest go to generics). Baked goods, dairy, and canned anything are all great values.

  89. Mom2Talavera says:

    I went to Aldi’s website to find a location.The only location by me is in the next town over in the ghetto. Too bad because it looks like an interesting store….but I rather not get mugged.

    I never heard of putting a quarter in the cart…

  90. colorisnteverything says:

    The Aldis around here are very nice. My family shops there regularly, but not exclusively. There are things I will not buy there like Mac N Cheese and Spaghettios (yeah, broke college student), but my family buys our paper products, frozen/canned veggies, milk, eggs, and all our baking supplies there. Their baking stuff is AMAZING. You can’t get better quality for the price. You can literrally cut your bill in half if you buy staples there. Fish there is good, too.

  91. Apeweek says:

    Of course smart shoppers track prices across multiple grocery stores. But Aldi’s is one of my favorites.

    Their store brands are very high quality. I was budgeting when we started shopping there, and I was able to see a clear 20% drop in our shopping bill.

  92. phairphair says:

    I’ve been an Aldi employee for over 10 years, and am surprised at some of the misconceptions about the company I’ve been reading in the posts. I’m no cheerleader for the company, and have plenty of criticisms, but one thing I can’t stand are people who assume that national brands=quality.

    First of all, separate the “shopping experience” from the food quality. The food is all first quality product bought directly from the best American manufacturers. No quality shortcuts are taken to reduce the cost. This is all done at the store operations level (no special services). Only a very few products like some candy, chocolates, and coffee are sourced in Europe.

    The national brands have to support their huge ad and marketing budgets to keep the consumers brainwashed, so they cut into product quality when times are tough. Don’t believe me? Compare any Kraft product next to any store brand product. 9 out of 10 times the Kraft will be distinctly lower quality. If you feel compelled to buy national brands and “just don’t trust” store brands, then you are a walking example of why the big brands spend millions on advertising.

    Some things, like milk, are commodities and exactly the same no matter who makes it. The USDA makes this so. You’d never tell the difference if you did a blind test.

    Aldi does not sell manufacturer overstock, short dated product, damaged product, etc. Everything is made especially for us. If you see something close to out of date in the store, it’s because an employee wasn’t paying attention.

    The pay and benefits are excellent. That’s why we’ve never been unionized. There’s no point for the employees.

  93. Mom2Talavera says:

    Kraft food?…quality?

    thats funny.

    Kaft is crappy
    ConAgra is crappy
    unilever is crappy…

    ect…

  94. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    I don’t really have any major bones to pick with Aldi’s marketing tactics or corporate model, however I do not like their generic brand Chef Boyardee-type canned spaghetti and other faux-Italian food products. The Aldi’s brand is way, way too acidic and makes my stomach hurt like something fierce. As for buying a computer there, I too have a Medion, a bastardized one at this point as it has been rebuilt at least 5 times now, but I bought it at Best Buy in 2003. It’s a media center PC and I love it but I really couldn’t imagine buying it at a store like Aldi’s, not too mention since it was imported Best Buy did the tech support on it, can you imagine having Aldi do your tech support?

  95. halo969 says:

    I don’t shop at Aldi’s for most things, but I really like their brownies, spaghetti sauce, garlic bread, and ice cream bars.

  96. rdldr1 says:

    I threw a huge barbecue party and bought almost everything from Aldi. All compliments and one complaint on the food — Aldi potato and tortilla chips were way too salty for anyone’s taste.

    My complaint with the store itself is that they are cash or debit card only. But thats not a big complaint. Forget being priced out of Whole Foods, Im beginning to get priced out of Jewel. For an even better deal than Aldi, check out Asian grocery stores!

  97. azntg says:

    It must be because of high real estate prices.

    Don’t see much of those chain discount stores here in New York City (the nearest ones are either deep in Long Island or in Central New Jersey).

  98. mbz32190 says:

    I would shop Aldi if it was near me, but I would waste more gas getting there than it would be worth. I am a heavy coupon user and do shop between several different stores. I buy generics all the time (except soda and certain kinds of cereal) unless the name brand is cheaper.

    The quarter for a cart thing is a great idea…many large supermarkets had a similar setup in the early 90’s (at least in the Philly area), but people complained and they were scrapped. I hate people that leave carts wherever they please, especially when there is a corral right behind them.

  99. ryan_h says:

    I dont know, some of their stuff just dosent look like it would be good for you. not to mention the fact that when I went in there, there were kids playing in the freaking giant cardboard boxes of melons and other assorted fruit. but hey, the off brand names are funny! instead of “i can believe its not butter”, you get “its really not butter!!!”

  100. SmilingB says:

    You know how I save a bit of money on food and gas? I joined the US Army Reserve. I can go to the local Navy base and buy food and gas at 5% over cost plus no tax. That is quite a bit of savings. I am also allowed to join Tricare Reserve Select family plan for $253 a month which is the military health plan which is awsome. It has pharmacy benefits too. I am self employed and would be screwed without this benefit. Don’t get me wrong, it sucks being in Iraq for a year every five years without your family, but the government pays well (again tax free + they pay for all your meals and laundry for one year. No car insurance and all the other costs of living) I can handle the lack of beer, the bombs and bullets for one year to save quite a bit of money! Plus you come back a war vet which brings a ton of VA bennies!@Ash78:

  101. HomersBrain says:

    Aldi might be worth another look for some…a friend from Ohio told me Aldi was pretty trashy there, but they’ve recently opened stores in Atlanta that are clean, well run and have good prices and products. I think they’re changing for the better

  102. thelushie says:

    @ryan_h: That is a parent problem, though, not a problem of the store. The parent needs to stop that behavior or the manager could come over and stop it. You should have complained. Trust me, no manager is going to mad at being alerted to a safety hazard.

  103. algormortis says:

    @Serenefengshui: Yeah, I wish we had Aldi, too.

    Mostly i shop at the Ranch 99 Market, which has rock-bottom prices and if you compare your Grocery Outlets you’ll likely note that some are better than the others.

    Then again, i spent a week in NYC recently and as a direct result, when i returned to town at 1am i blew $40 at Safeway as i was amazed how much cheaper even the overpriced grocery store is here.

  104. TangDrinker says:

    At our local Aldi’s, you can get a fresh bag of “Fresh Express” spinach for $1.49. Sliced cheese is less than half the price at the Harris Teeter across the street. Baking soda is around 35 cents. Real vanilla is 1/2 the price of other grocery stores. Their whole wheat bread is HFCS free.

    I love Aldi’s. You can get in and get out of the store in about 20 minutes with a cartload of food. So what if you have to bring your own bags/rent a cart.

    The only bad food we’ve had there is the frozen tubes of ground turkey (too many “crunchy bits”) and the brown rice (cook time was wrong, tasted horrible).

  105. tenio says:

    a cheap place that i guess is similar to aldi is Big Lots

    tenio from Cbus

  106. Teapotfox says:

    @Captain_Collide: I agree entirely. I do a lot of my shopping at Aldi, in part because it is on my way home from work, but also because the food is significantly better quality than what you might expect from a discount grocery, it is run efficiently and my local store is always clean and tidy. I supplement my Aldi runs with higher-end meat and produce from local farmers’ markets and Amish-run grocers and bake shops.

    A lot of people look down their noses at Aldi, but I have only purchased one or two items that were sub-par, and received the double guarantee (replacement and a refund, their policy for everything they sell) without a hassle each time.

  107. Teapotfox says:

    @luckybob343: Way to look down on low-income pregnant women, single moms of young kids, struggling families and nutritionally at-risk children… WIC is a great program, and I’m really glad it exists. I’ve never had to use it and I never will, but I’m more than happy to have my tax dollars go into it. I certainly wouldn’t agree that a “WIC-heavy crowd” equals a sub-par customer mix. I think it’s a good thing when people are trying to improve the nutrition of mothers and their children.

  108. phairphair says:

    @ryan_h:

    It’s “Tastes Like Butter” not “It’s really not butter”.

  109. Oface says:

    My father in law used to work in the grocery industry and said that all private label brands come from the same places the name brands come from. That Kroger brand mac and cheese? Same thing as Kraft mac and cheese. And so on and so forth.

  110. aleck says:

    Aldi is a great store that more American chains need to follow to cut costs. I discovered it 20 years ago in college and still buy many things from there. I can’t understand the snobbery of folks who “can’t touch Aldi stuff”. The majority of Aldi products are of great quality and rival the name brands. And that’s not just my opinion. I know plenty of people who are drive German sports cars and are not ashamed being found shopping at Aldi. Bad times or not, it makes financial sense. But then there are no grocery bags and you have to walk to return the shopping cart back to the store, which seems to much trouble for many shoppers.

  111. phairphair says:

    American consumers still haven’t woken up to the fact that 40-50% of the prices of the food they buy at full-service stores (e.g. Wegman’s, SafeWay, Albertson’s, Publix, etc.) are for the additional services such as bagging and free bags, customer service counter, extra employees wandering the store, tens of thousands of items, lots of thrown away produce for the sake of building large attractive displays, etc.

    Credit card companies also charge the retailer a percentage of the sale as a fee, so all customers pay for this in the cost of the food.

    If you are really willing to pay an extra $50 -100 per month for these things, even if you don’t use them, then more power to you. But I believe that if most people knew why they pay so much for food, they’d reject the extra fluff forced on them by these larger grocery stores.

    Next time you shop look around you and try to identify the things that are obviously costing the store money, but you don’t take advantage of. Then remember that you are paying for it anyway.

  112. juri squared says:

    @betatron: Wow, maybe I should head down the road to your Aldi!

    Anyways, I know I’ve preached at the altar of Aldi many times in the comments. It saves us something like half our bill. I was skeptical at first, but now I am a true believer.

    The drawbacks to Aldi is the general disarray of the store (due to the stacked-pallet nature of the goods) and its limited selection on certain things I need (mostly anything that’s not a basic staple).

    People who poo-poo Aldi for its lack of brand names: fine, go ahead, spend an extra $80 on groceries elsewhere. That means one less person I have to get past in order to get my half-priced milk.

  113. dragon:ONE says:

    @boomerang86: And have a quarter for the cart unlocker.

  114. CyGuy says:

    Two concerns seemed to come up a couple of times that I’d like to address.

    Several people said ALDI’s ‘has long checkout lines’ I can definitely confirm that is true, especially if you shop there between 4pm and 6pm, or on Saturdays. However, try timing the lines in your regular market, and then in an ALDI’s. ALDI’s easily handles twice as many customers per register as a typical supermarket. This is due to several efficiency practices of the store: the customer has to bag their items away from the checkout area so the clerk spends 100% of their time running the register; the limited amount of unmarked items means the clerk usually can enter any produce codes from memory; the vertically integrated business model means they control the packaging and they have designed the packages with oversized barcodes that are almost always picked up on the first scan. Altogether, I can’t recall ever spending more than 10 minutes from the time I got in line, to the time I had finished paying – I doubt you can say the same about a typical supermarket.

    The second ‘complaint’ is that they don’t take credit cards. While I admit this has been inconvenient occasionally, once you are used to it and ALDI’s becomes a regular shopping trip, you plan on using ALDI’s as your ATM by just getting cash-back by using your debit/ATM card to pay for your purchase. It saves you a stop at your bank’s ATM or from paying a fee at another bank’s ATM as cash-back on purchases is usually not an additional charge (ymmv).

    On the down side, I do wish they had a couple of specialty items, particularly lactose-free milk, high-fiber bread, and whole wheat pasta.

  115. phairphair says:

    @CyGuy:

    Aldi does carry 100% Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Rotini and Penne Rigate. It is located next to the other pasta items.

    You aren’t likely to find 100% whole wheat pasta elsewhere. Most all of it is “made with” whole wheat and still contains bleached processed flour.

  116. RvLeshrac says:

    It should be noted that Aldi and Trader Joe’s use the same suppliers, regardless of the company, and sell many similar items under different brand names.

    A good example of this is the Jumbo Shrimp that both chains sell, which are sold in exactly the same box (same images, same design), save for the branding.

    Aldi is generally cheaper on these items than TJ’s.

  117. calquist says:

    I just went here for the first time a couple weeks ago. The prices were good, but I embarrassed myself by only having credit and while they take Discover, I always keep that card in my car, so I had to run out there and get it.

  118. Anonymous says:

    I shop Aldi semi-regularly. They have good soup and frozen goods – I especially like their Pocket Sandwiches. I even bought a Medion Desktop Computer for only $350 U.S.