ALDI Shopping: tips from the Other Side of the Register.

With the growing popularity of ALDI stores, it seems everyone wants in on the fun. However, in order to really consider yourself an ‘ALDI expert’ there are some things your cashiers wish you knew. Things they can’t necessarily tell you, and still be providing top notch customer service. Things that go beyond the basics.

I want to help to close that gap between cashier and consumer, by sharing with you some real tips from real ALDI employees.

Remember, these tips are for the ALDI expert, so they are not for the faint of heart. However, it is all in good fun. If you can’t handle the pressure, stay out of the aisle of shame!

PRODUCT INTEGRITY

People tend to make assumptions about the integrity of ALDI products. The prices are so low, so the product must be sub par. Right?

Wrong.

The products inside ALDI are not expired; nor are they some sort of duds that got rejected elsewhere. The products are labeled with an ALDI exclusive label, which is why you haven’t seen these brands in other stores.

Bentons is to ALDI; as Spartan is to Martins
Chefs Cupboard is to ALDI; as Equate is to Walmart

You get the idea.

ALDI guarantees the product is just as good, if not better, than its equivalent national brand. In fact, they have a policy in place to protect that reputation.

It’s called the Twice As Nice Guarantee. (I’ll tell you more about that later).

NO QUARTER FOR A CART?

Everyone thinks they are going to run into ALDI for just a few items. Your cashiers tell me that 95% of the people that think that, end up at the register with a box that is overflowing with products.

The first thing those people say is “I should have gotten a cart, but I didn’t think I needed one”. Or they say, “I didn’t have a quarter for a cart”.

Your cashiers want you to know that if you need a cart, GET ONE. Go back out and get one. If you don’t have a quarter, ask the cashier for one. They will, believe it or not, just give you a quarter.

It’ll be easier for everyone in the end.

THE ELUSIVE BACKROOM

Despite what everyone thinks, the ALDI backroom is not a vast expanse of product, just waiting to be asked for.

They are actually rather small.

Designed to hold minimal product.

Just enough room to keep the gears moving behind the scenes.

If your cashier tells you that there isn’t more of something in the back, then there isn’t more in back. At least one person in the building does in fact know what products are in the backroom, because they can see everything back there in less than 5 minutes.

ALDI FINDS

Products that we find in the ALDI Finds aisle, also known as the AOS (Aisle of Shame), are first come first serve.

They cannot reorder these products.
They will not receive more of these products.
They will not hold these products for you until next Friday.

They only receive ‘x amount’ of each product. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

This includes the much desired Wine Advent Calendar.

RETURNS – ALDI FINDS

If you purchase something the AOS, for heaven sakes, keep the receipt. If you want to return one of these items without your receipt, they will return it for you, but only for store credit. AND if they marked it down after you bought it, you will only be returned the lower price.

If you have your receipt, you will be able to get a refund for the full purchase price that you paid, in the same form that you paid for it (cash or card).

**Your cashiers are begging you to stop trying to return items months, or even a full year after you purchased it!!! The items codes for these products only stick around for so long, and eventually the product will no longer scan, making the return process harder for everyone.

In fact, a return after 60 days can be refused by the manager, with or without a receipt.

RETURNS – TWICE AS NICE

If you purchased an ALDI brand item and didn’t like it, or maybe you bought a watermelon that wasn’t good, you can return the product to the store, and receive a twice as nice guarantee.

**In respect to perishable items (meat / produce), it isn’t necessarily required that you return the product. If you cut into a cantaloupe that was bad, you don’t have to bring back the rotten, smelly, probably liquified cantaloupe. They will honestly take you at your word. It’s not like you are making bank from returning a cantaloupe that costs $1.99

This means that not only will they give you your money back, but they will also let you get a replacement product, at no charge.

They want you to return these kinds of products. That’s how much they believe in them.

CHECKLANE PROCEDURES

I think this is the area that your cashiers get most frustrated with you. They have a distinct system in place for their checklanes, a system that allows them to have the fastest cashiers around. Apparently, it’s annoying when you stray from the system.

  • Step 1: unload all your items onto the belt. This means empty out your bags and your boxes. It would seem impossible to scan items that they can’t get to. **pro tip #1: bottles of wine, oil, soda, etc. should be laid down on the belt. They have a tendency to fall off the checklane and break. **pro tip #2: put your heavier items onto the belt first, and your chips, produce, bread, and other delicate items last. It keeps the scanning process moving efficiently, and makes it less likely that these items will be crushed.
  • step 2: let your cashier do their job. stop trying to bag your groceries as they scan. The bagging counter is there for a reason. Bag your groceries there, or risk getting hit in the hand with a canned vegetable.
  • step 3: Remember to buy bags when you’re at the register.
  • step 4: pay for your groceries, and then MOVE ON.

WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS IN THE CART

If you have your kids in the cart, you should expect to need to move them to the other cart. The system of switching carts is not a secret. If they’re not busy, or you don’t have a lot of groceries, ask the cashier if they can use your cart.

Most of the time, they will be happy to assist you in any way they can.

If you have a child, or baby in a car seat, in the bottom of your cart, don’t ask them to use your cart. They will not put your groceries in the cart with a child in the bottom.

It’s a safety thing.

Likewise, don’t let your kids stand on the side of cart in the line of fire of groceries. Or where they risk getting elbowed by the cashier.

A few more kid related issues that you should know:
~~ don’t let your kids run wild through the store. Seems like common sense, but apparently it happens often.
~~ don’t let your kids be annoying with toys from the AOS. It really irks the nerves of your cashiers when your kids bounce the playground balls.
~~ don’t let your kids run, stand, or sit on the bagging counter.

NEED A LARGE AMOUNT OF SOMETHING?

Your ALDI managers reserve the right to limit the amount of something each customer can buy. I can tell you, they will not let you walk in and buy all of the BBQ chips they have on the shelf, or all of the lettuce they have in store.

If you want a large amount of something, they ask that you place an order ahead of time.

Also, they have a limit of 6 on milk, butter, and eggs. If you have a need for more than 6 units of these items, ask the manager. Chances are, they will let you.

Seasonal Items, mixed cases, discontinues products, and other misc. information:

I know how frustrating it is to want an item, only to be told that it was discontinued. Or only a seasonal item. Or maybe that it comes in a mixed case, and unfortunately, the variety you want is already gone.

Each ALDI can only carry a certain amount of items. Therefore, some items that don’t sell as well have to go out the window, to make room for new ones. Sometimes, there are 2 or 3 different flavors of something in one box, that way it counts as one item. Sometimes, some items go away in the season they don’t sell as well, to make room for ones that sell better at that time of the year. Example: ice cream cones are offered in the summer, and they go away in the winter to make room for lasagna noodles.

Sure it doesn’t seem fair, but remember, your ALDI cashiers don’t have any control over this. You know what else they have no control over? PRICES. Stop complaining to them because the price of something went up, or because it costs less somewhere else. They can’t do anything about it.

If something really bothers you THAT much, call the customer service at the bottom of your receipt. Tell someone that can actually pass the information along to someone who makes those decisions.

Likewise, have you found a really awesome cashier? One that goes above and beyond the call of duty? Call the customer service number at the bottom of your receipt and pass that information along as well. Remind that cashier that the good deeds they do for you don’t go unnoticed. They’re more likely to keep doing them!

Opening additional registers:

We all know waiting in lines is annoying. When the line gets too long, ALDI does a pretty good job of opening additional registers. Remember to be understanding while you wait for that cashier to make their way to the register.

Chances are, they were off doing something important. Maybe filling meat. If thats the case, they have to put it away before they can come to ring. You really want them to leave that cart of chicken sitting in the middle of aisle getting warm?

Maybe they were in the freezer. It takes some time to get up front from the back of the freezer, considering they have to walk the full length of the store twice to do so. Or maybe they should just slide down the ice cream shelf and magically come flying out of the freezer doors?

Maybe they were taking out the trash. That means they were OUTSIDE when they got called for. They can’t just leave the trash in the middle of the parking lot.

Regardless of what they were doing, I can assure you that they were not just sitting idly by, waiting to be called upon.

Off the clock employees

Leave employees that are obviously off the clock alone. Ya know, that cashier that is obviously shopping the end of their shift? Don’t ask them to get you fresh strawberries from the back. That cashier with a cart full of groceries, that looks exhausted, and is waiting in line, just like you; yeah they are not going to open another register for you.

Your ALDI cashiers know that you, the consumer, are what makes the business world go round, but I thought that it would be nice for you to take minute to think about how the world looks from the other side of register.

Be nice to your cashiers. Think about your frustration in the store when its busy. Now think about being in the chaos for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Happy customers and happy cashiers make for a pleasant shopping experience for everyone!

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