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The Aldi Observation

I went to Aldi for the first time the other day.

Aldi, for those of you who have never heard of it, is a discount supermarket that came out of Germany. It's discount because the store has done away with the unnecessary things such as, y'know, shelves and staff. Instead, it runs on a skeleton staff, and the items inside are dragged out on the pallets that they arrive on and then pushed into the 'isle' and left there. Aldi doesn't have a lot of variety--a lot of brands aren't carried by it, and they have knock off Mars bars and the such--but you can buy things like household items, dog food, buckets, and the like. All your household needs. There's a line of freezers on the side for things such as ice cream, and meat products are slapped into what appears to be a fridge area, but basically the boxes that meat comes in have just been cut open and the food stashed in a cool area. It's pretty ugly, but you're looking at a couple of bucks off everything in the store, compared to what you'd pay for in a store with, like, shelves.

Overall, I saw three guys working in Aldi. There was a guy on the cash register and another two guys in the store, dragging pallets out. That was it.

Next door was a Coles, and on the three or four cash lanes in operation, there were women. The store was clean. I could see women moving around the store, fixing shelves and whatnot. There were a few guys, too. Young, mostly. The Coles was very ordered. It had shelves. It looked quite inviting, from a go in and shop in a supermarket point of view. But what struck me most was that there were women and men in Coles and they were all uniformed up and putting on happy faces; and that there were three guys working in the Aldi and, well, it looked exactly like the kind of supermarket that three guys would run. Especially three guys who didn't give shit about their jobs.

Three guys just like me.

Well, the thought made me laugh, anyway.

Comments

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paulhaines
Nov. 29th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
I dunno how good the work is at Aldi, you may get better award rates and overtime at Coles. Still, it's much easier to knick stuff at Aldi if you want a little compensation for the poor hourly rate.
benpeek
Nov. 29th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)
according to one of my friends (who works in coles and went for a job at aldi), the money at aldi is better. they make you sign a contract, tho, not to work at other supermarkets or some such thing.
ataxi
Nov. 29th, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
There's an Aldi at our local complex. It's a weird place. It has the budget camp chairs stacked up in a grotty pile next to the premade spaghetti bolognese and the brand-you've-never-seen-before confectionery.

The protocol at checkouts is pack your own stuff, pay a toll for their special bags, and no sympathy for confused first-timers from the dour-eyed staff. The trolley model is check out for $1, and get your $1 back when you return the trolley to the queue as per an airport.

Visiting this shopping centre just once made me realise how many details I've come to expect from the whole lots-of-stuff-piled-in-one-place experience. It's far more alien to visit an Aldi in Canberra than it is to visit a run-of-the-mill hypermarket in France.

We now use the growers' market down the road, which is far more congenial.
benpeek
Nov. 29th, 2006 05:34 am (UTC)
The protocol at checkouts is pack your own stuff, pay a toll for their special bags, and no sympathy for confused first-timers from the dour-eyed staff.

yeah, i got to admit, i got caught on that.
black13
Nov. 29th, 2006 09:32 am (UTC)
That part is exactly like Germany.

Other than that, Aldi here is like a real supermarket. What you might want to look into: a lot of brand product makers are under contract to repackage their products into non-brand/Aldi brand packaging. Meaning that the Mars knockoffs sold by Aldi in Germany may actually be Mars bars, produced by Nestlé, under a different name -- and cheaper.

Akiko likes the fruits and veggies they sell at our local Aldi. Same quality as elsewhere, but cheaper.

Aldi DU (Down Under) sounds like a downgraded version of the real thing. Perhaps that's because we have a lot of competition among discount supermarkets here in Germany?
benpeek
Nov. 29th, 2006 10:55 am (UTC)
yeah, aldi is real stripped back here. there's nothing like it--which is probably how they got a foot in the door.

the knock of mars and such are probably made by the same company. it's fairly common for a number of things here.
ninebelow
Nov. 29th, 2006 10:46 am (UTC)
The trolley model is check out for $1, and get your $1 back when you return the trolley to the queue as per an airport.

Is this rare in Australia?
benpeek
Nov. 29th, 2006 10:53 am (UTC)
it is in sydney, at least. a couple of places have had it--usually 'bad' neighbourhoods, where trolley trashing passes a bit of time. but even then it's a rare thing.
ninebelow
Nov. 29th, 2006 11:31 am (UTC)
I can't remember when they introduced it in the UK - at least a decade ago - but it is universal now. I guess we are more lawless than you civilised lot. (Apart from the people from Perth obviously.)

PS If you have a Lidl (an Aldi rival) near you Excelsior is the best value lager going.
benpeek
Nov. 29th, 2006 11:59 am (UTC)
perth is the last part of the penal colony to be settled, i believe. soon it'll be back tot he stockades for the bastards.

no lidl, least that i'm aware of.
ataxi
Nov. 29th, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
Ha - you only need to bag other towns because living in Sydney makes you so stressed and insecure (I made the mistake of driving through the centre of Sydney without a map the other day, so I know)
benpeek
Nov. 29th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
haha. that'll teach you. the centre of sydney was designed by blind satanists.
ataxi
Nov. 29th, 2006 10:58 am (UTC)
It's pretty much unknown in my home town (Perth). Our pattern is buy stuff, wheel it home in the trolley, park the trolley in your front yard, get smashed on a case of beer, and then have your mates spin you round in the thing until you flip out and smash your jaw on something hard, requiring a couple of stitches. Well, that happens more often than paying $1 to get a trolley anyway.
ex_chrisbil
Nov. 29th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)
> "Next door was a Coles, and on the three or four cash lanes in operation, there were women..."

Heh, I love how the typo makes the sentence completely different! Those sinister women... wait - unless it was meant to say that! Fuck!

(another t-shirt)
benpeek
Nov. 29th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
i must be blind today. what's the typo?
ex_chrisbil
Nov. 29th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
!

Nevermind, perhaps it wasn't. I am considerably drunk, so keeping that in mind I thought you meant to say three were women. I kind of read "there were women" as "there were women"!

Nevermind. Ignore the drunk. I couldn't even pass myself as a paleontologist today...
macdibble
Nov. 30th, 2006 06:45 am (UTC)
When I lived in Frankfurt am, the checkout chicks all had bad attitudes, I just thought Aldi here trained them 'the German way'!

Some of us have to buy 24 litres of milk a week just to keep the kids going. 99c/litre at Aldi for UHT (no storage problems) and they are still in the box, for easier carrying. And the chippies are cheaper and the muesli bars are healthier and cheaper. Aldi is my favourite crummy boring supermarket. I don't care if they're rude, I hate shopping more than they hate serving so the vibe is mutual.
macdibble
Nov. 30th, 2006 06:53 am (UTC)
You know when you go into a supermarket, you always avoid the male check out chicks because they're slow... you couldn't do that at your Aldi. Luckily my Aldi's are all girls.

Supermarkets in NZ resemble Bunnings, everything is stacked on the shelves by forklifts, and there are huge bulk bins where you just fish out the amount of cornflakes or oats yourself. You'd lose about a kilo just walking around to fill up a trolly AND they have wonderful barrels full of still alive mussels with water running over them, so basically you murder them as you pick them... mmmMMMmmmm...
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