Friday, 9 March 2012

My Aldi adventure

In a bid to cut back on our grocery bills, I decided to venture into Aldi, which sits right opposite the Sainsburys I have been going to for years.

I was so overcome with the ridiculously low prices, I ended up with a mountain of food that I did not need, or even want (sort of like what happens when I go to Ikea). So with my trolley laden with fifty different types of breakfast cereal, each box costing about 10p, fifty bars of chocolate, and fifty loaves of bread, I headed for the tills.

I quickly learned that at an Aldi till it is a very different experience to what you get at, say a Sainsbury's till.  You seriously have to have your wits about you. If you stop for even a millisecond, to scratch your nose, or indeed breathe, you get seriously scowled at by the cashiers, who I swear must be monitored on how fast they can scan food. And forget trying to pack your shopping into bags in any civilised manner.  Nope, if you are too slow, which I was, the cashier just hurls it into your trolley.  And not only do they scan fast, but they also talk fast too.  'Thatwillbe£12.49please'.  So despite the trauma of speedy scanning, the low bill more than made up for it.

I spent the next couple of weeks perfecting my till performance at Aldi by mentally preparing myself beforehand, bracing myself, and trying to be really really fast.  I couldn't have any distractions from kids slowing me down so on my second trip to the shop I had to leave them at home with Tom.  

I became a bit of an Aldi bore. Betty and Dolly were pretty surprised by some of the new 'treats' I was offering them but I didn't get any complaints. Also I made sure Tom was kept updated about prices. 'You see that packet of crisps you are eating? It cost 2p.' Or, 'Do you know, Aldi do the best chocolate in the whole entire world, and it only costs 4p per bar.' Tom wasn't convinced about any of it, and was not overly happy about my new found passion for Aldi.  He told me the bread was revolting, and that the mozzarella tasted weird.

Things came to a head on Tom's birthday. Normally I lay on a feast fit for a king to celebrate.  He didn't say anything because he is far too kind, but I could see his shoulders sink, and his eyes well up when I served up his birthday breakfast, lunch and supper, Aldi style. He looked like a broken man.

Sadly the Aldi honeymoon period is now over for me. While Aldi may be cheap, and certain things like their mini-magnum ice-creams, pitta bread, and salami may be perfectly ok, their fruit and veg is utterly tasteless, so much so that it is almost impossible to distinguish between their carrots, celery, green peppers and apples.

And although you can't buy a circular saw in the cake aisle at Sainsburys, at least you can get your bags packed neatly for you, and pass the time of day with a  cashier who is not on speed.  


sadie said...

well, I've never shopped at Aldi and have no plans to try it, despite rising prices in Sainsbury's each week.

My mum once fed me a - and I'm quoting the packet here - 'chicken pie' , but all I got was a mouthful of gristle and white sauce. Never again. Never again, I tell you.

And I've noticed an Aldi near our Sainbury's too, but despite my mother's ramblings of 'their veg is well priced', I'm sticking to what I know, with Waitrose as a treat every now and then.

I'm just trying to buy less each week!

Mel x said...

I'm pretty sure Aldi is only good for there amazingly cheap & good nappies, honey roast peanuts and their cheese twists. The rest is rubbish!x

legs21 said...

what you are looking forward to the most; the Olympics

legs21 said...

I'm looking forward to reading of the chaos that results and then watching the news describing the inevitable tube strike and the utter breakdown of the ticketing system and the 20 mile long queues from the comfort of 200 miles away.

Iota said...

Aldi is cheap, but if you read the sides of the packets, you'll see it's all chemicals and additives.

Lorraine The Party Times said...

never tried Aldi - waitrose shopper for life me! However have always been intrigued...well no longer - their staff costs are obviously cut in order for them to sell food so cheaply!!

Missing Sleep said...

I have to agree with you I always end up with loads of interesting cake but nothing to make a meal with, so then spend loads more elsewhere to buy proper food! x

Lindy said...

If Aldi is right across the street why not do some of the shopping at Sainsbury's and but the things that are OK at Aldi. I stopped shopping at Sainsbury's and started shopping at Morrison's because the prices were soo low. Food, utility and petrol costs are all going up so we all do what we have to to make our ££ go a bit further. Not all of us can be Waitrose shoppers for life and although I do pop in there on occasion I wouldn't dream of doing all my weekly shop there. You're a lucky girl Lorraine!

luckmey said...
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Bogger Blogger said...

Sadly, a lot of us don't really have much of a choice.

Heidi said...

Writing from the U.S. here...I find ALDI good for some things, not so good for others. I buy cheese, sour cream, and milk there (mine sells excellent milk from a local dairy very cheaply), and some packaged foods like cereal, crackers, juice, and some canned goods. I do have to read the labels because sometimes they use additives. They do have some products that do not. And the chocolate is amazing! I go to other stores for produce and also belong to a food cooperative and a CSA farm in the summer.

Love your blog...I am a mum (mom as we say in the US) and an is nice to read about life in England, and I hope to return again someday!

Unknown said...

I actually shop at Aldi because their fruit and veg taste better and stays fresher for longer. Their carrots our the brightest and sweetest I've ever tasted. you carry on sporting your Sainsbury bags with your noses to the sky . More fool you I get an extra holiday a year out of it.