A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shopping at Aldi

So I'm a kind of El Cheapo... which is why I make my weekly 4 km plus pilgrimage to do a significant portion of my shopping at Aldi. I am still waiting... waiting... waiting (hopefully not before I run out of oxygen) for one to pop up nearer to home. Why do I make the effort, you ask. It's simple... fruit, vegetables and meat are a fair bit cheaper there (when it all adds up) and occasionally they sell the odd variety item that you didn't know you needed, at an irresistible price
For a myriad of reasons, I would prefer not to shop at Aldi with children. As much as it pains me to say it, it's not particularly child friendly place to shop. Aldi and children... rather like water and oil. Like me, Aldi is cheap (or if you indulge in euphemisms, budget conscious). Management obviously doesn't believe at all in enhancing the shopping experience with the barest creature comforts. Everything in the store screams out to patrons that they are to whizz in and out in a space of 20 minutes or less which is quite doable if they bother to service more checkouts, and if there aren't half a dozen trolleys in front of you all trying to get to the edible-looking bananas. At my local Aldi, the shopping trolleys are ridiculously high and discriminates against those of us who have the misfortune of being under 175 cm tall. How they expect some one that doesn't meet their height requirement to lift a child over 12 kg onto the child seat without getting a hernia is beyond me.
Then of course, when the Aldi "experience" is all but over, one is expected to return the aforementioned trolley to it's inconveniently placed resting place, child in tow... or the $2 trolley fee becomes a gold coin donation for the skeleton crew that minds the store. To make things more interesting for customers, just in case they're hankering for an obstacle race while maneouvering precariously around the store, floor staff insist on parking these motorized pallette jacks in the middle of dem  uncomfortably narrow aisles.
Oh yeah... erm.... did I mention the reverberating screams of young malcontents in the narrow confines of an Aldi store?

There's a carthatic feeling about other people's screaming children. It makes you feel that little bit better that yours aren't there to embarrass you instead although (if you have any shred of decency) you will feel an unspoken comaraderie with the poor woman who's trying desperately to keep her head while trying to keep the noise level down and getting the shopping done while avoiding the the murderous looks of her fellow customers in closest proximity.
Child-free shopping is another day in paradise.

Today, I made the mistake of going back in a second time for some zucchinis. I could have sworn that they weren't there during my first run. Noticing that the couple in front of me had a bag of them gliding down the conveyor belt, I chided myself for being as blind as a bat and then had the bright idea of returning to grab some while being in the vicinity instead of having to do it at another place at another time. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Have you noticed that the checkout you pick is always the slowest? There must be some mathemtical algorithim (waiting to be made into an iPhone App) that one can use a la Numb3rs to work out which one gets you through the fastest. How that would work, I have no idea. This time, I managed to pick the aisle where a newbie with card problems decides to spend roughly $400 on groceries and variety goods. Experiencing a Sherlock Holmes moment, I deduced from her initial (slow) movements and the way the groceries were arranged that she was new to the whole Aldi "experience" which was quickly confirmed when I noticed among her purchases 15 cent cooler bags and a couple of the enviro bags being waved through. (Hey, I was bored and there's not much to do at an Aldi checkout. Bah, not even a gossip rag for diversion.)

But I'm cheap... so I wait patiently, mentally chanting to myself that this is Aldi afterall. I heave a sigh a relief when my turn comes and hand my last $10 bill to the check out chick and collect my change, making for the exit without further ado. Outside, I take in a deep breath of carbon dioxide and jump into my car. Probably didn't do much to reduce my "carbon footprint" but at least I contributed plant food to the sparse number of trees in the car park. "Sparse" being the operative word.
Doing my routine inspection of the car park, I tell myself that my local Aldi desperately needs trees... lots and lots of trees. On a hot day, it steams forever...

1 comment:

  1. I love my Aldi shopping experience, and not just because I too am a cheapo. (My husband says he can give me a penny and I can make copper wire!:))- Maybe it helps that I am tall and have a toddler who loves shopping - most of the time. I find - at least at the Aldi I go to that the checkout lines move so quickly and efficiently. The fellow customers are always courteous and nearly always let those with just a few items go through first. - Anna


Let me know what you think!