Secrets Aldi Doesn’t Want You to Know
1 There’s a reason they keep the boxes
You might have noticed that Aldi’s aisles have a somewhat Costco vibe. But don’t be mistaken, the boxes on the shelves have nothing to do with the employees being lazy.
It is rather a tactic to stop spending so much time and money on presentation and optimize productivity.
Imagine the time employees save by not having to empty all the boxes to put the products on the shelves!
2 They have very little staff
One of the reasons why Aldi’s prices are so low and why they keep the boxes on the shelves is because they keep the staff to a minimum, which allows them to save money.
In doing so, they can afford to offer some of the lowest prices on the market.
After all, fewer employees means huge savings, which in the end benefits the customers!
3 The staff isn’t necessarily thrilled about it
As a result, you might notice that employees sometimes seem a little stressed. This is because, by keeping the staff to a minimum, they each carry more responsibilities and have to do more in less time.
That being said, ex-employees have reported that paydays, benefits, and opportunities are good.
It must certainly be more demanding for the employees, but if, in the end, their working conditions are good, everyone is happy!
4 It’s best to go on Wednesday morning
Wednesday is Aldi Finds day. As soon as the store opens, employees place seasonal products on the shelves at very advantageous prices.
These can be as much patio furniture as a fresh rack of lamb. Anything is possible!
Since these products are usually in high demand, it is essential to get to Aldi early in the day, because once the quantities are sold out, they are not restocked.
5 Aldi sells several surprising products
Of course, Aldi sells basic products that we have always known and consumed, but if we take the trouble to dig a little deeper, we can also find products that we didn’t even know existed!
Indeed, one of Aldi employees’ favorite products, for example, is Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix. Did you know it existed? Did you even know that Red Lobster makes products for supermarkets?
There is also a divine Funnel Cake Kit with pitcher pouring spout that is really worth knowing!
6 There’s a reason they charge a deposit to use their carts
First-time shoppers might find it a little weird. But when you really think about it, it really isn’t a bad idea: the tactic forces shoppers to return their cart so they don’t have to pay an employee to do it.
So it does have to do with money, just not your quarter.
7 Their return policy is crazy
Aldi doesn’t do money-back guarantee, they do Double Guarantee. This means that if there is something you don’t like, you can return the remaining portion and they’ll replace it and reimburse you.
Talk about serious quality assurance… Pretty insane.
8 They only open during peak hours
Unlike most stores in the US, Aldi doesn’t do 24/7. As you know by now, the chain is all about efficiency in order to save money (and make it) and since an empty store at 2 am means they are paying staff while making no income, most Aldi only open from 9 am to 8 or 9 pm.
That way, they don’t have to pay a bunch of college students willing to go red-eye to afford university tuition.
9 Forgot your reusable bags? Aldi has boxes for you!
For the good of the environment and everyone, the use of plastic bags is now banned or restricted in many places. When we go shopping, we must, therefore, remember to bring our reusable bags if we don’t want to pay extra. But what happens when we forget them?
Don’t panic! At Aldi’s, you may have noticed that empty cardboard boxes are often lying around the store. These are boxes used in past shipments and any customer in the store can take them to put their purchases in!
10 Their bread-on-demand machines were at the heart of a controversy
In November 2010, German Aldi stores turned to “technological innovation,” to offer made-to-order freshly baked rolls in a matter of seconds with their in-store baking machine. But the German Bakers’ Confederation took it personal.
The whole thing ended up in court with Aldi’s team of lawyers and attorneys denying the court the right to inspect the machines and the raw dough…
11 There are two different Aldis
The Aldi banner is actually divided into two different corporations: Nord and Süd. In the 1960s, when the two founders couldn’t agree on selling cigarettes or not, they simply decided to split the company.
Nord’s logo is blue and white while Süd‘s logo is orange and blue. The southern Aldi is also a bit fancier.
12 Aldi products contain no artificial colors, hydrogenated oils and MSG
They removed questionable ingredients from their name brand products.
Good on them… And us! Still, don’t go canceling your health insurance.
13 Aldi and Trader Joe’s
In the US, Aldi Süd is simply known as Aldi, while Aldi Nord operates as… Trader Joe’s. Incredible, right?
But yes, Trader Joe’s is basically an Americanized version of Aldi. It’s actually now managed by businessman Theo Albrecht, the manager of Aldi Nord. Now the emphasis on private labeling and a definite lack of advertising all makes sense, doesn’t it?
14 You’ll be able to get your groceries at Kohl’s
Kohl’s will be subletting space in their stores to Aldi. A great way to save time and shop for everything in one place.
Not only will you be saving money, and better afford your mortgage, but you’ll be saving time as well.
15 The product test process is intense
Aldi takes the idea of quality very seriously. In fact, their test kitchens have very strict policies. Each product is tested 30 times before it makes it in the store.
They are also re-test at least once a year as well as every time one of their competitors launches a similar product.
16 They are all about verzicht
There’s no direct English translation, but the word would mean a combination of “doing without” and “giving up.” Basically, it’s all about simplicity and thriftiness.
No employee will tell you this, as they are not allowed to talk to the media, but when a regional manager published a book that revealing Aldi’s business plan, we all learned that their philosophy is all about keeping things simple. It all boils down to setting a goal and getting rid of everything else.
17 There’s everything in place to make checking out as fast as possible
Aldi has everything in place for you to be able to get in, get out, and get home as quickly as possible. Unlike Whole Foods, the grocery store’s approach isn’t to create a special shopping experience, but rather help their custumers get things done as fast as possible while purchasing more for less money.
To do so, they use a few tricks to keep things moving such as the perfect length of conveyor belts and multiple barcodes.
18 Their website announces all their discounts
Aldi is known for its low prices every day of the year, but by visiting their website regularly, you could save even more money! Just go to their site, click on the “Weekly Specials” tab, and select your store to make sure you don’t miss out on any discounts.
That’s not all Aldi’s website can provide you with, however! Indeed, if you go to the “Corporate Info” section, you can access Aldi’s entire Corporate Responsibility Policy. This is what we call a transparent company!
19 Aldi specializes in offering private label brands
Most stores have their own private label, allowing them to offer even cheaper quality products. In this respect, Aldi is no exception, quite the contrary!
While other chains are satisfied with just one private label, Aldi has over 10, accounting for 90% of the products they sell! These include Oven Frech, Casa Mamita, Mama Cozzi, Never Any! and LiveGFree.
20 You can get money back on your purchases
Several stores do business with the Ibotta cashback application, but this is not the case with Aldi. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get cashback while shopping there!
Aldi does business with Checkout51, a cashback application that works the same way Ibotta does. Simply download the application, save your favorite offers on your shopping list, then download a copy of your invoice to get your discount!
21 Employees can give you buying advice
Aldi’s employees work at this store, but not only! Most of them are also customers of the chain, so they know the products even better than a simple employee who is not a seasoned consumer.
As a result, no one is in a better position than the employees to advise you on the products sold at Aldi. If you are hesitating to buy something, find employees and ask them what they think!
22 Aldi gives food back to the community
As we know, food waste is a huge scourge of society. Tons of food are thrown away, especially in restaurants and grocery stores. However, Aldi is not contributing to this scourge!
The chain is in partnership with the non-profit organization Feeding America, to which it donates the leftover food that has not been sold. What a nice gesture!
23 It’s cheap, but not as cheap as they claim
Aldi has mainly built its reputation on its low prices. And this is no scam. Their prices are a lot cheaper than their competitors’.
However, if you compare their name brand to other store brands, while Aldi’s are still the most affordable option, the difference is not as high as the chain claims it to be. We have to blame (or credit?) their marketing efforts for that one.
24 They won some major awards
Unlike what people used to think, Aldi’s low prices don’t mean low quality. The corporation has the awards to prove it.
They placed second in the International Wine Challenge for rose wines in a blind taste test and some top honors at the International Spirits Challenge and some 25 medals in the Grocer Food and Drink Own Label Awards.
25 They have a new plastic bag strategy
Since February 24, 2020, Aldi has banned plastic bags from its stores. Indeed, the chain takes the environment and climate issues to heart and tries as much as possible to promote recycling and reusable bags.
It’s a trial run in 100 stores across the Midlands. Aldi will continue to offer its low cost compostable bags, but will encourage the purchase of reusable drawstring produce bags, reusable fruit and vegetable bags and flexi-loop bags for life.
26 You have to pack your groceries yourself
Unlike other grocery stores where packers put your products in your bags for you, Aldi does not offer this kind of service. You have to pack your purchases yourself.
To speed up the checkout process, most stores have a packing area where you can take as much time as you want to pack your purchases before you leave.
27 Aldi doesn’t accept manufacturers coupons
If you’re the type to look for every possible manufacturers coupon to get discounts on your purchases, give up now, or avoid shopping at Aldi. They only accept their own coupons.
Aldi wants to optimize its service at the checkout in order to reduce its customers’ waiting time and maintain a good turnover, which is why they will refuse any coupons you may present them.
28 They deliver!
It all started with Dallas, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. These lucky Aldi customers can order their groceries through Instacart and have it delivered to their door.
This time-saving solution is said to be expanded to many more cities. So keep an eye out and conference call your entourage once they offer it in your city.
29 You Can Borrow A Quarter From An Employee… Maybe
Okay, so you know how you have to put a quarter in the cart at Aldi in order to use it, right? Well, if you don’t have one, you might be able to borrow one from an employee. The reason I say “might” is that while some Aldi employees would rather you borrow a quarter at the register and return it when you’re finished shopping instead of just leaving the store because you can’t unlock a cart, other employees try not to give out quarters at all because they come out of their own registers.
“So if we don’t get them back, we end up losing money out of our own drawer. If it’s a first-time shopper, I gladly give them a quarter and explain to them why we have this system in place, and pretty much every person is very understanding on why we do it,” Kyle, an Aldi employee in Virginia, told Mental Floss.
30 Aldi Uses Tricks To Get You To Spend More
Aldi, just like any other store, incorporates various tricks to get customers to part ways with even more of their money. For example, Aldi stores use a darker background to make customers focus more on the products. In other words, when the signs, shelving and other features are darker, the products stand out more. Then, there are the front doors. They are designed to purposely slow customers down when they come inside the store.
Additionally, Aldi loads the middle shelves with the most expensive products because they know shoppers tend to look for stuff on those shelves more than on other shelves. Lastly, Aldi places the essentials (milk, bread, etc.) in the back so shoppers will have to walk through the entire store to get to them, in the hopes that they’ll pick up other stuff they don’t need along the way.
31 Not All Locations Offer The Same Sales
Aldi sales vary by region, so you will need to check with your local store before heading there thinking something is on sale when it isn’t. So, what’s the reason for the different prices?
According to an article published by Yahoo, Aldi says that “production and operating costs, market conditions, local regulations, consumer demand and the competitive landscape” can affect prices at each of their locations. Additionally, Aldi says it doesn’t price match because they are generally able to negotiate the best prices for their customers.
32 Their Shelf Labels Contain Hidden Codes
Chances are you’ve seen the letter “D” on a shelf label at Aldi and simply just dismissed it as some random writing. The truth of the matter is, it’s a hidden code that only Aldi employees know about—until now, that is.
That little “D” is code for the word discontinued. That means that the particular item marked with a “D” will be discontinued soon and will not be on the shelves anymore once the stock sells out.
33 You Can Always Ask The Manager For A Discount
Getting a special discount at Aldi is as easy as asking the store manager for one. Here’s how it works: if you ask the manager if or when something will be marked down, there’s a good chance he or she will mark it down on the spot just to move the product.
See how easy that is? This tip may not work every time, but you don’t lose anything by trying!
34 There Are Claims That Aldi’s “One Health Certified” Label Is Deceptive
According to Crate Free USA, Aldi’s “One Health Certified” label is nothing more than a sham. “At first glance, Aldi’s new ‘One Health Certified’ (OHC) label looks promising… But, peeling back the sticker reveals that OHC was the brainchild of Mountaire Farms: the nation’s sixth largest chicken producer, and Aldi’s chicken supplier,” the organization wrote on its website.
“Mountaire created OHC to greenwash, humanewash, and healthwash its grim record of environmental violations, workers’ rights issues, and animal cruelty. At best, Aldi got swindled by Mountaire’s deception. At worst, Aldi is playing along.”
35 You Should Avoid The Cola
Kitchen staples are the best things to buy at Aldi, but when it comes to other kitchen items, it can be hit or miss. Such is the case with Aldi’s cola. So, what’s the problem with the soda? Well, according to some folks, it’s fairly flat. Not only that, but the flavor, especially when it comes to the diet version, is way off.
“[My] least favorite is GT Cola. They really missed the mark on that (assuming they were trying to make it taste like American Coca Cola and not mop water.) There isn’t enough whiskey in the world to make it palpable,” an Aldi employee wrote on Reddit.
36 Many Of Aldi’s Store Brand Items Are Actually Name-Brand Items
It’s no secret that private label products are Aldi’s moneymakers, but what you might not know is that many of Aldi’s private label products are name-brand items. For example, it’s rumored that their Kirkwood Chicken is actually Tyson chicken, just under a different package.
Additionally, a guy on YouTube revealed that when he had an interview and tour of Aldi, the manager told them that the spices are made up of McCormick leftovers. Essentially, you’re getting name-brand items for a steal!
37 You Could Get Locked In The Store
Okay, so it might be a rare thing, but it’s possible to get locked in Aldi. In fact, it has happened to at least three different people on two separate occasions. An Aldi shopper in the U.S. once got locked inside the store and chronicled his experience on TikTok. In his video, he said the store was supposed to close at 9:00 p.m. but the doors had been deadbolted at 8:45 p.m. “During the pandemic, Aldi closed early and the cashier neglected to make sure no customers were left in the store,” he said, adding the hashtag #youhadonejob. Thankfully, he was able to call the police (who had a good laugh at the whole thing) for help.
In another instance, a woman and her boyfriend’s brother got locked in Aldi after the two went in to get some bread and milk. They went down every aisle, and when they reached the last aisle, they heard this annoying beeping. What they didn’t realize was that this was the store’s alarm. So, when they got to checkout and no one was there, the woman posted a video of the ordeal on TikTok. The boyfriend’s brother then dialed 111 (the emergency number in New Zealand) and the responder told them to find a fire exit door. “So, I’m crying like Gemma Collins, get that fire exit door, I’m out. We just shut the door behind us and got in the car like nothing happened,” the woman said.
According to an Aldi store manager, there’s a “Secret Sale” section on the discount supermarket’s website that most shoppers don’t know about.
38 There’s A Secret Sale Section On Aldi’s Website
Nash Varsani, who has worked for Aldi since 1997, spoke to The Sun and told them that on this section of the website, shoppers can find Specialbuys that are no longer on sale in stores. Not only that, but these items are even offered at lower prices.
39 Aldi Offers Discounted Bread Five Days Before It Expires
There are lots of ways to save money at Aldi. One way is to purchase bread that will expire in five days. That’s because Aldi offers deep discounts on this stuff. And get this: according to an article published by SourceExpert, the bread is fresh enough during this time that you can pop it in the oven for a few minutes and it will taste and smell great.
Even if you find that the bread is a bit too stale for your taste, you can always use it to make stuffing, croutons, or bread pudding. You can even put it in your food processor and make bread crumbs for recipes that call for them.
40 Sundays Are Also Good Days To Shop At Aldi
Aldi fans know that Wednesday is Aldi Finds day—the day when you can find amazing deals on the hottest seasonal items. But what they may not know is that Sundays are good days to find great deals at Aldi, too.
That’s because every Sunday the store restocks its Hot Deals section with heavily discounted items, i.e. Aldi Finds that they want to move out to make way for new stock. These items are marked with red shelf tags that show the discounted price.
41 Employees Can Speak Publicly About Aldi On Reddit
Unlike many other workers, Aldi employees are not sworn to non-disclosure agreements. This means that they can speak freely about the discount supermarket chain—and they often do so on Aldi’s Reddit page.
So, what does that mean for you, the customer? It means that you can interact with actual store employees to gain insight. This can be especially helpful when you’re doing curbside pickup or are looking for ways to get the best deal on hard-to-find items.
42 Lots Of People Hate Their Alcohol Policy
Did you know that Aldi will refuse to sell you alcohol if you come into the store with a minor? Yep, it’s true. Unfortunately, the policy has left some shoppers shocked and a bit angry. A mother in Melbourne took to Facebook to air her grievances over the store’s policy. She said that despite the fact that her teen daughter did not enter the alcohol section of the store, the cashier refused to let her purchase the bottle of wine. “Very inconvenient for any mother who wants to do groceries at Aldi and buy wine I must say,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, other parents also took to social media to vent. One shopper revealed how she was refused service after her 18-month-old daughter leaned over and touched a bottle of alcohol she was planning to buy. Another mother was refused service because she had her son carry a carton she was planning to buy. While the policy has its critics, others have defended the store’s position on responsible service of alcohol.
43 Their Banana Shipments Can Contain Illegal Items
Now, I must first start off by saying that this is not due to any fault on Aldi’s part. That being said, the company learned in 2014 that drug cartels were using their banana shipments to hide cocaine. The same thing happened again in 2015. The bananas were packed with $16 million worth of cocaine and shipped to 14 different Aldi locations around Berlin.
Then, in April 2019, six Aldi stores in Rostock, Germany, discovered that their bananas contained nearly half a ton of cocaine with a value of almost $28 million! And the crazy part is that no one even noticed the drugs until the supermarket workers found them.
44 Aldi Once Sold Horsemeat In Its Beef Products
Tests in 2013 revealed that beef products from Aldi supplier Comigel contained between 30% and 100% horsemeat. “We believe that the two particular cases of the frozen burgers from Tesco and the lasagna from Findus are linked to suppliers in Ireland and France respectively,” Owen Paterson, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, told The Guardian in 2013.
“We and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are working closely with the authorities in these countries, as well as with Europol, to get to the root of the problem,” he added. Both Paterson and the FSA advised consumers who had purchased the affected foods not to eat them.
45 Working At Aldi Is Physically Demanding
Anyone applying for a job at Aldi can expect to do just about everything, including unloading, stocking, cleaning, organizing the shelves, and working the register. In other words, there isn’t much down time. That’s because Aldi doesn’t have many employees to begin with, so the duties are spread out among the small number of people who work there.
Thankfully, the workers do get some time to rest. For one thing, they get meal and rest breaks. Additionally, they are allowed to sit down at the register while ringing up guests. This not only gives them a chance to get off their feet, it also helps them ring up items faster.
46 You Should Avoid The Produce
Most people rave about Aldi’s produce. They say that it’s fresh and super affordable. Still, others warn that the produce can be hit or miss. In fact, in a 2015 Consumer Reports survey, Aldi earned relatively low scores for perishable items like fruits and vegetables.
That being said, it’s a good idea to check your produce for signs of spoilage before putting them in your cart. It’s also a good idea to purchase only the amount you know you can consume within a few days. That way, you won’t have to worry about anything spoiling before you get a chance to eat it.
47 You Should Avoid The Meat
According to an article published by Showbiz Cheat Sheet, meat is one of the worst things you can buy at Aldi. They went on to say that chicken, especially, is a bad purchase.
Now, it’s not because they’re selling bad meat or anything like that. It’s because you more than likely can get a better deal at the big chains, which are often more competitive in this area. This is especially true when particular items are on sale.
48 Avoid The Toiletries Aisle
You can snag some really good deals at Aldi, but you most likely won’t find them on the toiletries aisle. That’s because Aldi usually sells name-brand toiletries and doesn’t put them on sale. What’s more is that you could even end up paying more for toiletries at Aldi than you would at other supermarkets.
That being said, you’re much better off heading to a store like Giant or Target to get your toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and the like. Not only are their prices cheaper, but you could really get some huge discounts once you factor in coupons, loyalty discounts, and such.