Do y’all have an Aldi near you?
If you know, you know. If not, Aldi are low-cost grocery stores. You put a quarter into a little mechanism on the cart to borrow it for your trip. You get the quarter back when you return the cart, so they don’t pay anyone to round up all the carts in the lot.
The stores are small, usually four or five aisles in my experience, but they have most of what you need. There are only a few aisles because they only have one variety of most products. My wife prefers to shop there because (a) they don’t play music and (b) she dislikes grocery shopping and the lack of options make it a quick trip. I like it because I’m a little tight, and the prices are low.
Another reason to love Aldi is their special purchases. Every week they have a few products that are seasonal or that they happened to get a deal on. We got our camping cots there one year; another time we got a pour-over coffee maker that we use most mornings.
Last night, I swung through to pick up a couple of things. I got this habit from my dad; he loves to run to town to grab a couple of things instead of waiting to do a full shopping list. He’s retired; he has time to do stuff like this. I generally don’t, but I had a few extra minutes last night.
I stuck my quarter in the slot (even though I was only buy a couple of items) because who knew what pleasures Aldi might hold. My first stop was the fresh flowers. They always have these small bouquets for $3.99; last night it was half a dozen roses. For some reason, their flowers last longer than the ones we’ve gotten from the florist’s. Aldi’s vegetables don’t always keep very long, but their flowers do.
I grabbed the couple of items I actually planned to buy, and then I went to the “special buys” aisle. Some yummy looking cookies, lots of Easer candy, some funky-flavored popcorn. Oh, I saw an oatmeal-muesli mix that I will add some complexity to our morning oatmeal, so I tossed that into the cart. Nothing else really stood out to me, so I pushed the cart across the bumpy red tiles.
I’m not sure if the quarter rent-a-card is the cause, but their cards almost never have those wobbly wheels that make the carts at the big chain such a pain.
I rounded the corner and headed for the refrigerated section. I wanted to get some cheese to share with a couple of vaccinated guys I was going to hang out with later. (I felt like I needed to let you know the three of us are vaccinated.) Aldi has cheap cheese, but it also has some fancier cheeses. Their aged cheddar is a mainstay in our house.
Last night, they had a special cheese left over from their St. Patrick’s Day stock. It was a cheddar infused with porter. It looked kind of funky, but I thought it would be fun to try. (It was delicious!)
With that, I rolled toward the checkout. There was only one lane open, but their checkout is always quick. They don’t bag your purchases. They just swipe it over the scanner and place it in a different cart beside the checker. (Don’t worry; there’s a quarter in this cart too. You won’t lose your quarter.) As she scanned my few purchases, an couple of old ladies behind me in line were checking out my selections.
“Oh, looks like someone’s getting a happy surprise tonight,” biddie number one said. The other one gave a confused glance. “The flowers,” biddie number one clarified.
Aldi always has a few happy surprises. I hope you have a grocery store like it near you.