My mother shops at Aldi.
And, being her son, and respecting her opinion, I thought; OK, I should give it a try.
The first thing I noticed was I had to pay a quarter to use a shopping cart. I never thought my mom would pay to use a shopping cart.
The store is very unimpressive looking, but clean. And, the selection, well it wasn't great. It seemed to cover the basics, but not much more. No deli, no bakery, no food samples; this place is pretty spartan. Products are stacked on the floor in original cut out boxes. The prices are simply marked. I really don't recognize a lot of the brands.
What I do recognize are the prices. They are low. As I move through the aisles, I can find most of what I want, even a few luxury food items. I modify what is on my list to what they have. And, as I spend more time there, I start to "get" what they're doing.
Well, it's time to check out. I grab a bag. They charge me for it!! How could they do that? Aren't bags free? Apparently, at Aldi, they're not. So, I change my behavior, no bag. The checker goes through my stuff and I have money ready. I estimate what's there and wait for the total. $16. I've got a lot of stuff here. Are you sure, $16? Yes!
I pull my $.25 cart out the door and head to my car. I unload my stuff, reminding myself to put one of those fabric bags I have in the back seat next time. I return my cart to the cart area and put it back. I see someone link their cart to the one in front with this chain deal and get their quarter back. And then I look at the parking lot, no stray carts anywhere.
Efficiency, it's everywhere at Aldi. They put out less bags, less dents in cars, and reduce overhead. They stock their shelves in an efficient manner. There is no wasted energy. They make you a partner in saving money. This is a business model that makes sense.
Aldi is pretty smart, and so is my mother. Brilliant!!