While Aldi may be winning the hearts (and wallets) of more Australians every day, there are still many who have yet to venture into the unknown of this German-owned supermarket.
Put off by tales of strange products, some shoppers are still reticent to embrace the adventure that accompanies a weekly shop at Aldi. Determined to undertake the shopping experience for myself, I packed my bags (literally) and headed for my nearest store.
If I’m honest, I’m no stranger to Aldi, but I am usually reactive to the specials advertised in its weekly catalogue. I spend many a happy summer’s evening with my nifty outdoor setting that I had to get up early one Saturday morning to secure. At $99, it was an early trip worth taking.
Think of taking a trip to Aldi like visiting a new country – do your research and be prepared. As you would if you were looking for a deal on a specific destination, sign up to Aldi’s newsletter and get the specials delivered direct to your inbox.
Make a list of all the attractions you want to see
In other words – write a shopping list. Don’t be too specific about brands, rather wait and see what’s on offer once you get there. A streamlined product range means that you won’t be overwhelmed by choice and while you’ll still find some of the big brands, this is the perfect time to try something different.
Pack your bags
Although shopping bags are offered at Aldi, they will cost you 15 cents each for heavy-duty plastic bags or 99 cents for a fabric bag. It’s better to be a responsible ‘traveller’ and take your own.
Don’t forget the local currency
Or at least a dollar for your trolley. There are no shopping baskets on offer so unless you have someone to help carry your shopping as you tour the aisles, you will need a trolley. And you might want to consider using cash to pay for your goods. While EFTPOS payments are free, you will be charged a percentage for using tap and pay cards and credit cards.
Try the exotic
Enjoy the local produce, but don’t be afraid to try something more exotic. While you may not recognise some of the brands on offer, you can take comfort that there is a likelihood they will be from Australian suppliers. However, this is your opportunity to try some overseas delicacies that don’t come with the same expensive price tags that you find in your local deli.
Don’t be swayed by the souvenirs
Yes, you can find some weird and wonderful products in the centre aisles of Aldi. On the day I was there, I had my choice of power tools, exercise equipment, gum boots and even a model kit of the Cutty Sark. Aldi has recently expanded its range of natural and environmentally friendly products that hold their own against some of the more expensive brands – both in looks and performance.
Don’t worry if you forget your favourite toiletries
Whether you need a new mascara, wrinkle cream, cotton buds or even sun screen, the Lacura range has you covered and at a fraction of the cost of some high street brands. Many of the Lacura products have won awards and with slick packaging, you won’t be embarrassed to have them on display in your bathroom.
Relax with a glass of award-winning wine
Ok, I don’t mean actually sit down and drink it in the middle of the store, but at $6.99 for the award-winning, South Australian One Road Shiraz, you’d be forgiven for being tempted. And if you would like to reminisce about a steamy, hot night drinking Rioja in Spain, then at $9.99, a bottle of Baron Amarilla Rioja Reserva shouldn’t break your budget. If wine isn’t your thing, then let’s not overlook that Highland Black Eight-Year-Old Scotch Whiskey ($34.99) has just been awarded the Double Gold prize at Melbourne International Spirits Competition.
Don’t get lost, follow the signs
You really don’t need a map to do your shopping at Aldi. The height of shelves means that from just about anywhere in the store, you can see the clear signage of where products are. No more wandering aimlessly looking for eggs!
Talk to a local
But talk quickly, as you won’t be at the checkout for long. No, your bags won’t be packed for you and yes, you will have to have your trolley unpacked and ready at the other end to catch your items, but you won’t spend ages waiting in long queues. There are no self-service checkouts at Aldi and if the line at one of the registers becomes too long, another checkout will be opened.
And as you load your shopping into your car, relax in the knowledge that you have conquered the great unknown, and most likely saved yourself a tidy sum of money. Oh, and don’t forget to return your trolley and retrieve your dollar coin!
Not sure where your nearest Aldi store is? Find out at Aldi.com.au
Debbie visited the Aldi store at Moorabbin Airport, Victoria