When I walked in for the first time I wasn't quite sure what to think. It's a little like a Costco with all of the items on the shelves still in their bulk packaging and boxes. However, it's much smaller. Plus, most of the brand names that they sell are unknown. I wasn't quite sure about these aspects, but then I discovered that all of their prices are very cheap. Since I've shopped there I've discovered several items that you can get a great deal on and quite a few misses-things you really shouldn't buy that cheap because the quality suffers. So, if you know what to get, you can get some great deals.
There are also some interesting quirks which make shopping here a bit different. These quirks are in place to further keep the costs low for us. For example, you have to deposit a quarter to use their carts to save money on hiring someone to retrieve carts from the parking lot. My son loves the responsibility of holding the quarter and sticking it in the slot to get the cart. In addition, you have to bring your own bags and bag the groceries yourself. They do have some bags, but you have to purchase them. Finally, you can only pay with cash or debit, so make sure you have that when you shop there.
What we like: The prices are great. Aldi can beat our regular grocery store prices on milk, ground beef, cheese, some canned goods, graham crackers, common spices, broths, flours, and sandwich bread. It has fabulous prices on produce, but the selection is limited and sometimes the produce goes bad more quickly than expected.
What we would change: As we've said, the quality is hit or miss. We have found that many of their boxed goods like mac and cheese, cereals, and chips don't measure up as far as taste. You really just have to give things a try and judge for yourself. In addition, for your organic purchases, Aldi is not your store. While they don't have organic selections, they do have their fit and healthy brand for a healthier option.
After shopping at Aldi for this long, I still don't quite know what I think, and I'd love to hear your opinions. I think I've settled on shopping at Aldi for certain things each week like milk, fruit , and sandwich bread. However, I still stop by Harris Teeter to find those more unique items I cannot get at Aldi. Going to two different grocery shores can be a bit of a pain, but it seems to have lowered our monthly grocery expenses. (Oh, and Aldi doesn't take coupons.)
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