After All It's Just a Name - The Sequel

I am an unapologetic Aldi shopper.  If you don't have these stores in your area, let me explain.  It's a no-frills grocery store.  The food is stacked along the aisles in the same boxes in which it was shipped.  There is little to no variety.  Want salt?  You get the Aldi brand.  Want barbeque sauce?  You get the Aldi brand.  (Although, lately they do also carry Sweet Baby Rays.)  The prices are ridiculously cheap because you aren't paying for names.  The quality is excellent on most things, and even if it's not, you're only out a fraction of what you would have paid to try it at a "real" grocery store.  You also aren't paying for a bagger to bag up your groceries and help you out to the car, because they don't have them.  Or bags for that matter.  If you want those, you pay 5-10 cents each.  You also pay a quarter desposit on your cart that you only get back if you return it to the corral on the side of the store.  It might sound like this isn't a great place to shop, but I love it.  I can cover the entire store in under 30 minutes, with all the kids in tow.  I don't have to make decisions (like, "Ugh!  Which barbeque sauce is the best deal?").  I don't have to coupon because they don't take them and you don't need them anyway.  But best of all, I don't have to hand over my firstborn child as payment after I purchase a full cartload of groceries.  I went to the grand opening when our local store opened because I was so excited it had made it down here.  I grew up with my mom shopping at Aldi, so I was familiar and so grateful when I became a mom to five little mouths that I have this store nearby. 

You might need to know this about me - I am not a name dropper.  I'm an unapologetic bargain hunter, a trait I learned from my mother.  In fact, I might go so far as to say that I get a little pit in my stomach when I think about the amount of money people waste on names.  It's all perspective, I know.  People probably think the same thing about our travels.  At least, when we travel, we see things and experience things that broaden our world.  I might contend that placing a huge significance on branding ourselves with designer labels does the opposite.  (How to say that without sounding like a jerk, I'm not sure.)  I get wanting good quality, but good quality at a good value is very important to me.

Anyway, as a mother of five children, I am no stranger to the fact that kids these days place the utmost importance on brand names.  This is not a new phenomenon.  I've written about my seventh grade branding experience before.  It's a good one (in my not-so-humble opinion).  Maybe it's because it's Christmas, and I'm being inundated with advertisements for insanely expensive crap toys, clothes, and video games.  Maybe I'm just a grumpy person.  Maybe it's because I'm tired of my son getting grief because of where his mother grocery shops.  Or maybe because my perspective is slowly shifting to things eternal, but I'm just weary of the name dropping. 

Seriously.  Who cares?

Let me tell you about the people who shop at Aldi.  I have met and spoken with each of these people at the store.

The Mennonite families who drive an hour each way to do their shopping because the savings in groceries far outweighs the money spent on gas.

The immigrant who speaks broken English who paid in change and had to put back items because she went over what she had in her wallet.

The elderly couple who spends a fortune on prescription medications each month but was thrilled to find a way to save on groceries.

The man who paid for the groceries of the stressed out mom in front of him.  Because he could.

The Vietnam War Vet who gives his cart away to the next customer, every time, with a wink and a smile and insists that they don't give him a quarter in return.

Large families.

Small families.

Rich families.

Poor families.


They shop there because it's smart to shop there.  And if some smart-mouthed tweenaged boy has a comment about my grocery shopping choices, he ought to come say it to my face.  Because apparently, that chaps my hiney.  My pragmatic eleven year old has no trouble listing out the benefits of practical spending choices, but geez.  Is this really what eleven year olds talk about these days?

Please, please, please, let's teach our kids about the things that matter.  And the things that don't.  I mean, really don't. 

Because we ALL have so much more than we deserve.
P.S. - I received no compensation from Aldi for this blog post.  I really, truly am grateful for this store.  That's it.


Sharon said...

We don't have Aldi on the West Coast, but sounds like my kind of place. Name brand shopping is crazy expensive, isn't it? Reminds me of when my son used to work at a highly-overpriced department store. He nicknamed it Needless Markup.

I guess there's really only one brand name that I care about wearing. Christian. And boy oh boy, sometimes THAT name brings a host of back-biting snarky comments, too. But, we wear it proud because we know what it cost Someone to give it to us.

Might we all just remember that "things" are just things. So, let's be wise with our money, endeavor to teach our children something of value, and do our best to reflect the One who is the best bargain of all! He dies, we're saved? Yup, a pretty terrific deal.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


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