Reglar Wiglar Economic Survival Guide

Tip #1
Shop at Aldi or How I Swindled an Old Lady Out of a Quarter

Ever been to Aldi? You know Aldi, those ugly stores with the orange and blue logo you've seen scattered about the city--and the world, actually. Aldi, which started in Southeastern Iowa in 1976, is an International Conglomerate with stores all over our globe, although in Slovenia the stores are called "Hofer". Maybe Aldi means something nasty in Slovenian. You are to please excuse the digression.

I think I've been to Aldi four times in my life. The first time I ever set foot in an Aldi's was at the Uptown location (the one on Broaday near Montrose, not the one at Clark and Wilson which is now a Staples). I didn't know anything about the place. I just knew that poor people shopped there. My first tour of Aldi was over pretty fast. There was not a large variety of goods for sale, and nothing that looked all that palatable. I don't happen to like my potatoes peeled, boiled and stuck in a can, you know what I'm sayin'? So yeah, I high-tailed it out of there right quick, but not before I was accosted by the raggedy security guard posted at the door. He gave my backpack a pretty thorough going over lest I be makin' a dash with a bag full of canned lima beans.

My next Aldi experience went a little more smoothly. It was at their location on Milwaukee Avenue in Bucktown. I had to check my bag at the door this time and I took a little more time to peruse the aisles. I ended up buying a few items; tomato soup, saltines, etc. I'm not sure what I bought exactly, but I do know that I was shocked when the total came to just over five bucks. That seemed too cheap to be true. I also didn't know that you had to pay for your own grocery bags. I was over budget. Luckily I was able to carry my groceries in my arms until I could reclaim my backpack.

Third time I visited an Aldi store was in Mayfair, on Pulaski just south of Foster. I planned on buying enough food that a shopping cart would be required. However, a quarter was needed to free the cart from the rack to which it was chained. I didn't have a quarter. I passed on the panhandling option and was again forced to load up an armful of goods and then stuff them in my backpack after I got through the check-out line.

The fourth time I visited Aldi, at the same Mayfair location, I felt like I was ready to master the Aldi Experience. I had, after all, earned a college degree some years ago--a degree that until this day had served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Maybe this was the day to test all that knowledge. And, I had a quarter this time. What I didn't realize at this point, however, was the that the quarter was merely a deposit for the cart and that I would get my twenty-five cents back once I returned it and inserted a metal key into the plastic box on the cart's handle thereby releasing the quarter. So when an elderly woman approached me before I even made it to the cart rack and offered me her cart, I thanked her, took it and turned tail, not understanding that I could merely give her my quarter and reclaim hers in exchange when I returned the cart. I ripped off a poor old lady in an Aldi parking lot.

So yeah, I f*cked it up again. Anyway this is what I bought:

1 jar of Great Gherkins Kosher Dill Spears, $1.49
1 can of Happy Harvest Cut Green Beans, $.49
1 can of Diomede large pitted black olives, $.99
1 can of La Mas Rica (The More Rich?) Black Beans, $.59
1 box of 100 individually wrapped tea bags from the good folks at Benner, $1.69. (I really splurged on that one.)
1 bag of Clancy's Crispy Crunchy Corn Chips. $.99
1 box of Millville Crispy Oats, S1.59

Total with tax $8.01

Not a bad deal, you can't argue that, however, with the exception of the Clancy's Crispy Crunchy Corn Chips which are actually tastier and crispier than Frito's Corn Chips, the overall quality of these foodstuffs was sub par. This is to be expected. What Aldi lacks in frills (like free paper bags and non-deposit shopping carts) it also lacks in quality. But again, this is where poor people shop and I'm poor people apparently, and next time I go to Aldi I'll be ready. I'm gonna to crush Aldi next time. High five!

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