On March18th 2010, ALDI Stores began opening in Texas. For weeks I wondered what the heck ALDI was. A large sign that said "ALDI coming soon" was posted and I saw it daily on my drive home. The store near me is in a shopping strip in between a nail salon and a bank. It’s about the size of a Walgreens or CVS.A week before ALDI opened they had put the sign on the building and it read ALDI - Food Market.
I received a mailer and decided I had to check this out. The ad stated how much cheaper ALDI was than traditional stores and was geared toward being "GREEN." I happened to pop in during the Grand Opening, and this place was PACKED! I think it peaked everyone’s curiosity. Before ALDI, local consumers did most of their grocery shopping at large grocery stores with tons of variety.
This store is different from your typical grocery store and I was in for a surprise. They have an interesting Shopping Cart system that requires you to insert a quarter in the slot on the handle. This serves as a deposit for using the cart. Upon returning your cart, the quarter is refunded. I think this is an incentive to bring the cart back. Great Idea, but I didn’t have a quarter with me on my first shopping trip. The store was nice enough to pay my deposit for me since it was their grand opening. The shopping cart is large enough to put two kiddos in the front of the cart which I thought was really cool.
I entered this place and the organization was incredible. Employees were everywhere. I didn’t recognize a single "Name Brand" product which concerned me. I thought this place was filled with cheap imitation items you would find at a dollar store. Since this was my first time there, I thought, I would give it a shot anyway. I bought just about everything on my shopping list. I was so excited to find a gallon of milk for $1.79 which is the everyday price. I picked up tons of meat and fruit and veggies. I bought jalapeno peppers that were pre-packaged in packs of 8 for .29 cents. I also bought HUGE avocados for .39 cents each. HUGE savings!!
Though 90% of the items were not from a brand that I recognized, I did see something’s that were familiar like Nabisco, Libby’s, Tyson....etc. I looked at the back of the boxes and everything is from the ALDI distribution center in Illinois. That made these items seem a little better to me.
I made my way to the checkout stand and didn’t see any bags. The checker was placing my items in the basket like they do at Sam's. I asked if they had bags or boxes and she informed me that customers need to bring their own bags or purchase their bags. 10 cents for plastic and 6 cents for paper. This was their Incentive to be GREEN. Again, since it was the grand opening she hooked me up with 3 plastic bags. They were HUGE heavy duty bags and everything fit! I spent $92 and had a ton of stuff. I've reused these bags and they are great! I probably won’t have to throw them away for a long time.
Now that my first ALDI shopping experience was complete, it was time to put the food to the test. Through out the week, my family and I used the items that I purchased and have been pleasantly surprised with EVERY single item. I am a huge skeptic, not to mention very picky especially if I've never heard of the brand name. The biggest test for me was their frozen pizza. I don’t like frozen pizza but its a quick dinner for the family if we are short on time. I bought buffalo chicken pizza and it was AMAZING. It even had blue cheese crumbles and purple onions. We've made tacos with their taco shells, taco mix, refried beans and Spanish rice. The ingredients were better than the name brand ingredients.
One thing to keep in mind is that the variety is limited and the store is quite a bit smaller than your traditional grocery store. You need a quarter for the buggy and bring your own bags. To me, this store is wonderful and I cant wait to plan my grocery trip.
One more thing, this store does not accept Credit Cards or Checks.
Food stamps, Debit or Cash Only!!!
I cant wait to go back and find more deals.