You might have read about Shannon's experience with Aldi's. I've also been spending some time reading up on the Aldi Queen and her seasonal planning menus! Wow! Well, on Friday I went back to Aldi's to go grocery shopping. It was a different Aldi's store that I had never been to. The one we have gotten stuff from before is the one that is on my husband's way to/from work.
I was armed with a list, but since I wasn't sure what it would be like, it was mostly a list of meal ideas I had for the week and ingredients I needed. I normally do my grocery shopping at Publix. When I shop at Publix, I make a menu, then make my shopping list with the store layout in mind.
I made sure to have a box in my car and also took some plastic Publix bags and a quarter for the shopping cart.
My son thought having to "pay" for the cart was neat. I understand the idea that it keeps them from having to pay someone to gather carts, but I thought it was annoying.
First impressions: The store was small and looked like a warehouse. There was no ambience to speak of. It was very bright. There were not many people there. There were probably less than 15 cars in the parking lot. I was surprised because it was about 4:40 p.m. on a Friday. I never shop at that time at Publix because the place is packed.
Even though, there were not a lot of people shopping, it was a little crowded in the aisles. I guess it's because the store is small, so it just feels more crowded.
Maybe this is where I should tell you, I didn't like shopping at Aldi's. When I go to my Publix store, I know where everything is. There's a nice smell (especially around the holidays!). People are friendly (Aldi's employees were not friendly, not even to say hi or thanks when you check out). At Publix you feel like exploring the aisles, finding new products, trying new things. At Aldi's I was just trying to get ingredients I needed. There is no selection at all.
Would it be harsh to say it felt like I was shopping in Communist Russia?
Okay, I've never shopped in Communist Russia, but when there is only one type of canned pinto beans, it's a little shocking to me.
I've lived a pampered life.
Here's the thing, though. I spent $85.44 and I got a lot of food. I bought 4 pounds of ground beef, two pounds of frozen ground turkey, one pound of sausage. I got 2 lbs. of thin spaghetti, two jars of spaghetti sauce for $.99 a jar, and 4 cans of condensed tomato soup for $.49 a can. I bought 2 gallons of milk for under $5 and a box of frozen waffles for $1.15.
I got other things too. Cheap bread and hamburger buns, eggs for $1.19 a dozen. I got icing for vanilla cookies I will be making this week. Baking cocoa, chocolate chips, vegetable oil, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, and a five pound bag of white sugar. The flour was $1.79. The sugar was $1.89. I haven't paid prices like that for a very long time.
I picked up 9 various canned goods, pickles, ketchup, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, orange juice, hash browns, sweet peppers, bottled water, oats, tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, tissues, disposable containers, and a fresh pineapple. My son has wanted a whole pineapple for a long time and I never bought one because of the price. The pineapple was $1.49. I got a 12 pack of chicken flavored Ramen noodles (my son likes it) and a box of instant mashed potatoes.
I think that's everything.
I was amazed at how little I spent and how far it will go.
So to sum it all up. I did not like shopping at Aldi's. I felt like I was shopping at a warehouse. The store had no personality. I missed my Publix!
But I can't believe what I spent, or rather what I saved. There was no fear of wasting money on frivilous items, because there are no frivilous items to buy.
What I am hoping to do (perhaps after Thanksgiving) is go back to Publix, with my receipt from this Aldi's trip, and buy the same stuff. I'll buy Publix brands where I can (the Publix brands are always as good as the national brands) and I'll use what coupons I can too. Then I'll see if I'm actually saving money.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Aldi's is farther away. Publix is just a few miles away, but Aldi's is about four miles farther than that. Of course, my husband drives past Aldi's every day, so it's convenient for him.
If the shopping experiment works in Aldi's favor, maybe I can just give him a list once a week and have him do the grocery shopping.
Then I won't have to go into that store again!
Somehow I don't think that will happen, but a girl's gotta dream!
5 years ago