As you all might know, the Northeast isn’t too fond of Wal-Mart. Furthermore, they are less fond of putting Wal-Mart Supercenters every 4 miles around the neighborhoods. As a result, the nearest Wal-Mart Supercenter is 10 miles south (so about 30 min in the Northeast traffic) as opposed to in Virginia and Arkansas where I last lived, where there were two Supercenters within 3 mi of my house. Irregardless of your opinion of Wal-Mart, the store, because of its influence, can be the source of some interesting comparisons.
So, with the Wal-Mart Supercenter 30 minutes away from my house, I have been going to the local grocery stores (Genuardis, Giant, Weigmans, etc) to get my food, and just going to the local regular Wal-Mart for household items.
However, tonight, I decided to give Aldi a try. They have a store that is only 2 minutes from my house, and I hadn’t been to one since sophomore year of college.
When I arrived, I quickly realized that I was totally unprepared because everything about the store translates to savings for the consumer.
First, when you park in the parking lot, you notice that there are no stray shopping baskets taking up spaces. Why is this? Because you have to place a quarter deposit in to the shopping basket in order to get a shopping cart. You get the quarter back when you return the cart, but this very act eliminates numerous jobs that are occupied at all other grocery stores and Wal-Marts across the country. Genius!
Second, at the entrance, it says in big bold print that they don’t accept credit cards or checks!!! haha Amazing! However, they do accept debit cards or cash. This just further decreases their expenses.
Third, there are no shelves in the store. The goods/products are merely stacked in the boxes they arrive on. What does this mean? You got it. You don’t need a Wal-Mart representative whose sole job is dedicated to negotiating where the Pringles can will sit on the shelf. Genius!
Fourth, Aldi almost absolutely (with only a few minor exceptions) sells their private label that they themselves distribute. This would be the same if you could imagine Wal-Mart only selling their Great Value label. Genius!
Fifth – the number of employees. The entire time I was there, I only saw one Aldi employee, and that was the one guy checking people out.
Sixth, Aldi doesn’t refrigerate items that don’t need to be refrigerated (This includes certain lettuce and other vegetables that don’t need to be kept cool).
Seventh – the check out process. Like I said before, you can’t use a credit card, which further cuts down Aldi’s costs. Next, you have to purchase your own bags or bring your own. Finally, the cashier does not bag or containerize your items. You have to do that yourself.
So, with all these potential areas for savings, how does Aldi stack up? Well, according to the article at the link below, they are 29% cheaper than Wal-Mart and 86% cheaper than the local grocery stores. I now believe this, having taken a trip there.
Grocery Price Comparison Article
The following is an excerpt from the article – “Here is where Aldi really shines, with rock bottom prices even cheaper than Walmart’s store brands. Nearly 29% cheaper than Walmart and 32.5% less than Target. The two supermarkets were 86% and 76.3% more expensive on these private label products than Aldi.”
Looking over my receipt today, here are several of the purchases that amazed me the most:
- 10 lbs of potatoes – $2.50
- Tropical Fruit Salad – $0.79 – I know this is $1.00 or more at Wal-Mart
- 5 lbs of lasagna – $2.69 – wow!
- 4 lbs of fuji apples for $3.12
Given the evidence, what’s the bottom line?
Aldi definitely saves you money if you are willing to work a little extra for your groceries and pass up getting “name brand” items. However, in a tough economy, it just might be the thing to do!
Keep on learning!
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