In the buzzing town of Rolla, Missouri, there are several hot spots that come to mind: McDonald’s, Big O Tires, Waffle House, the Vacuum Factory, and Wal-Mart. What most Rolla residents, college students and townies alike, seem to overlook is my personal favorite hangout spot, Aldi. Nothing brings me more joy than perusing the four short aisles chocked-full of savings. In my weekly shopping trips, I have noticed more and more that the student presence at Aldi is severely lacking given the saving potential. The Rolla Aldi is my choice of grocer because of the store policies, the happy-go-lucky customers, and the quality products. Hopefully after reading this article, one will have the urge to experience the best food market south of Sonic.
More college students should choose Aldi for their weekly grocery trip over competitors of the likes of Wal-Mart and Kroger due to the innovative store protocol. Each Aldi visit begins with the forced system of consumer cart return. For a small loan of a quarter, each shopper is made responsible for his or her cart. This system saves the store from hiring cart attendants and those savings are thereby passed onto each appreciative consumer. This is practical for the modern grocery shopper; if one is responsible enough to buy off-brand popcorn, he or she should show the maturity to return a shopping cart. The bagging system is also practical and sustainable for modern shopping. The Aldi bag policy pushes shoppers to use reusable bags or even pull merchandise boxes from the aisles. Not only does this cut back on waste, but also this Aldi policy saves time at the checkout. The sooner I can get through checkout, the sooner I can dig into my generic cheese curls.
Aldi customers are far superior to those who shop Wal-Mart because the savings creates a certain unspoken bond between each consumer, a bond that you would not see elsewhere. When I meet an Aldi shopper in the parking lot to grab their cart, it feels as if a new, savvy friend is welcoming me. Just last Friday when I checked out with only a “Take-and-Bake” pizza and $3 bottle of chardonnay, a fellow customer smiled at me and remarked “big night?” Outside of the store, Aldi shoppers can be easily spotted and identified by the several barcodes and generic-sounding brand names. Each time I am offered a package of “dinos and sharks” fruit snacks, I instantly feel a connection towards the snack provider.
Possibly my favorite part about my trips to Aldi is seeing the bargains. From the “Cinnamon Crunch Squares” to “Red Thunder” energy drinks, quality can be seen throughout all Aldi products. Not only are the packaged goods just as tasty as those name brand products found at Kroger and Wal-Mart, but the produce is also fresh - and usually a fraction of the price. Of course, Aldi is an extra mile away from campus, but the trip is by far worthwhile for grapes that are $1.19 a pound. Along with the cheap and delicious food, Aldi sells high quality products. Most goods are seasonal, so Aldi sells six dollar laundry baskets just when consumers need them - mid-February - but maybe that is just me. I can proudly say that most of my gifts for my sorority little sister came from Aldi. When my little sister found out about all of the money I saved on her $8 throw blanket she was thrilled with my savings and our bond intensified.
Nonetheless, the average college student’s needs can be met with a quick trip to Aldi. Need a frozen pizza? Aldi has “Hangry Tomato Pizza.” Out of protein powder? Make a trip down Highway 63 to pick up a container of “Elevation Whey Protein.” Feel an inexplicable emptiness in your life? Take a stroll down the “Aldi Finds” aisle and let Aldi tell you what you need. Even if you have nothing to buy, Aldi is a great place to stop by and hangout among the thirty-cent cans of tuna -“Chunk light.” Just remember to BYOB (bring your own bags) and a quarter.