Aldi Shopping Tips
Aldi is a fantastic shop for low cost quality food. However it is far from the easiest to navigate, especially if you have a disability.
I had tried shopping in Aldi a few times but found it rather overwhelming due to my health issues. The store I was using would leave crates all over the place. Making it extremely difficult to get around and then the speed at which the checkout staff scan your shopping… I couldn’t keep up!
I gave up going to Aldi and went back to Tesco. Resigning myself to a life of spending more on my food bill each week, simply because Aldi isn’t particularly disability friendly.
I started to really think about it and decided it wasn’t right! If I gave up every time something was harder due to my health, I’d never get out of bed! Plus a lot of people don’t have the luxury of spending more to make life easier.
I decided to go back and experiment. To find the best and easiest way to manage and make the whole food shopping experience go as smoothly as possible. It has taken a few weeks of practise, but it is much easier to manage now.
My first top tip is shop around, try out a couple of different stores if you can. I have two Aldi supermarkets within 30 minutes drive from my house. The first is in a town I visit fairly regularly, the second is in a town I usually only ever pass through on route somewhere else.
After trying and failing in the first store a few times; I decided to visit the second. What a difference it is! It is clean and well maintained. Most importantly you can get up and down the aisles without fear of tripping and falling over carts and boxes left everywhere. The staff are more approachable and friendly and clearly take pride in their store.
Choose your time
My next tip would be to experiment with the day and time you visit the store. Certain times such as a Saturday morning are going to be much busier than midweek. Personally I cannot cope with the hustle and bustle of a busy store. I find a weekday evening the best time for me to do my shopping.
Plan your route
Just because a supermarket has a natural path around it, doesn’t mean you have to always start with aisle 1. Near the front entrance is usually where delicate foods such as fruit and bread is kept, whereas heavier things like 2 litre bottles of fizzy pop is found further away. I’m very clumsy so it’s best I get the heavier stuff in my trolley first. Otherwise I’ll end up with squashed bread and bruised fruit.
Ask for help
In the Big 4 supermarkets like Tesco you will find that products are split into sub types for example fizzy pop will be grouped by flavour. In Aldi all flavours of the same product are stacked onto the same pallet or shelving unit.
This can cause a couple of issues. I really like the Elderflower fizzy drink but it seems to be a really popular flavour in my local store, you often have to hunt through the pallet to find it. Often there will be a couple of layers of other flavours on top. I find that it is then very heavy or worse makes the pallet unstable.
The best thing to do is just ask a member of staff or even another customer for help if you need it. Don’t feel silly about doing so, most people are usually very willing to help.
Pick the longest queue
Always pick the longest queue when you are ready to check out. The cashiers are very quick so this way it means you have time to get your shopping on the belt, before you then have to offload again.
Sometimes if the queue is particularly long they’ll open another checkout for you to load onto and call another member of staff to come in to scan. That empty til might seem tempting but I always find it better to stay put that way you have a little breathing space and time to get things sorted.
Avoid tills staffed by management
One of the ways Aldi keeps its prices so low is that its till staff are trained to be as efficient as possible. Their staff work tills and stock keeping. Where Tesco would employ two people one on tills one on stock keeping Aldi only employs the one keeping their overheads low.
There is rumour and whistleblowers have stated publically that Aldi hold employees to a scan rate and that this is the real reason why you shopping is scanned through at break neck speed.
The reason I suggest you avoid tills staffed by management, if possible, is that from my experience they tend to be the fastest of the lot! If they want to instil speed into their employees their own scanning efficiency needs to be particularly high.
Have your bags ready
A benefit of using the longest queue is that I find I then have enough time to open my big bags in my trolley and have them ready to pack straight into. With Aldi checkout the idea is to throw everything back into your trolley, move to the tabled area and pack them into your bags at leisure. Whilst this might work brilliantly well for most people. When energy is a severely limited resource the prospect of having to empty and reload your trolley one more time is horrifying! It takes every bit of energy I have to even make it around the supermarket so being able to just chuck everything straight into the bags is a godsend.
The flat bottomed large reusable bags sit nicely open in your trolley to allow easy access. I have spotted a lot of shoppers using the concertina trolley bags* and have to say they look really handy! They fold up one end of your trolley and easily pull across for packing. They are £19.99 on Amazon at the moment so not exactly frugal. When I have a spare £20 I am going to give them a try. I will let you all know how I get on.
What are your top tips for shopping in budget supermarkets?