Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Shopping on Mars

My idea of grocery shopping is to find the store with the best meat counter and start there. I load my cart up with the meats that I like and then I make my way up and down the aisles picking out the things that I think will go good with them. Up and down the aisles, grabbing things I need oblivious to the prices. That's how I do it, or should I say did it. Mark has been doing the shopping ever since he moved in with me. For seventeen years the only thing that I have had to do with grocery shopping is when Mark comes in the front door and announces, "Get the stuff out of the back of the car, and hurry before the ice cream melts."
Recently Mark took me grocery shopping with him. He took me to a store that I had never been to before. It's called Aldi, and it was sort of as if Mark had taken me to a different planet. It had a sign out front just like any other supermarket, it had a parking lot, and there were carts out in front of the store. It looked very normal until I tried to take a shopping cart. It was locked to the cart in front of it which was locked to the cart in front of that one, and so on, and so on.
            "Here", Mark said handing me a quarter, "Just stick this into the little slot".
So Aldi figures that if you make people pay a quarter to use one of their carts, homeless people wouldn't think of taking one off of the property. I guess it works, I've never seen an Aldi shopping cart sitting forlorn on the side of the street filled with smashed cans and rags. As we entered the store my first impression was that all the products looked just a bit off. They had the appearance of brand names, but the labels all had a twist. For example, when I saw Kellogg's Frosted Flakes for only $1.49 I immediately grabbed for it. However, upon closer examination it wasn't Kellogg's, it was something called Millville Frosted Flakes. Didn't matter, it was cheap and looked close enough for me, so I tossed it into our 25 cent shopping cart. There were soup cans that looked vaguely like Campbell's soups, dog food that looked nearly legitimate, and everything was super cheap. Over in the frozen food section I found something that would have made my dad orgasm. Ice cream in what looked like a five gallon tub for only two  dollars. My dad was the king of cheap, crappy ice cream. I never knew what real ice cream tasted like until I was over twenty one. Dad always brought home store brands that were gummy, and tasteless. He even tried to pass something called ice milk over on us once. Anyway, Mark was now done shopping and we rolled up to the checkout counter. I have never seen a cashier move as fast as that one did. The only problem was that she was tossing everything loose into another shopping cart. I frantically tried to put it all in the bags that they made us buy for ten cents each, but she was too fast and eventually buried my pathetic attempt at bagging.
            "No Alan, you bag your stuff over there.", Mark said while pointing towards a shelf at the front of the store. What do I know, I haven't been a bag boy in a supermarket since 1966.
            Other than the bagging thing, I have to say, Aldi has some pretty good bargains and that Millville Frosted Flakes taste every bit as good as the Kellogg's that cost twice as much. And the best thing about Aldi's, I made fifty cents in quarters returning shopping carts to the front of the store.


  1. My mother bought 20 mangos for $5 at Aldi while I was down visiting. She brought her own bags and told me to stay on point and not get distracted by the 5 gallon tub of rainbow sherbert. It was a weird store...

  2. It's a good stock up place, run by the folks who brought us Trader Joe's. There are Aldi's all around Chicagoland. Mark will feel right at home here!!

  3. Ice milk. What the... I vaguely remember that. Who's idea was ice milk? Disgusting. Also I've never set foot in an Aldi. I'll pay the 25 extra cents towards the baggers salary to not have to bag my own.

  4. Aldi's and Lidl's are taking the UK by storm. They've cut deeply into some of the other discount superstores because their food is cheaper and, actually, the quality is pretty good.