The Aldi Experience: Supermarket Shopping with a Difference

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  • Topic: Aldi, Supermarket, Plastic shopping bag
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  • Published : February 20, 2013
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Special features Special Features to the Customer
The Aldi experience: supermarket shopping with a difference

No credit cards, no bags but loads of bargains – shopping at Aldi is different. Here's how to get the most from this unusual store Forget points, vouchers and money-off at popular pizza chains: Aldi has gone down the cutting prices route. According to the Grocer magazine, doing your weekly shop at German discount supermarket Aldi could save you a considerable amount of cash. On a shopping basket of 33 items the magazine found Aldi was 16% cheaper than Asda, 20% cheaper than Tesco and 40% cheaper than Waitrose. With the retailer to open 40 more shops in the UK in 2013, more consumers will get the chance to visit a local branch. If you've never been to one before, here's our guide to shopping there; if you have, please share your own tips below. Don't try to pay with a credit card (in England)

While shoppers in Scotland and some stores in Wales can put their shopping bill on credit, in England Aldi doesn't take such payments. Make sure you have your debit card or cash when you set off to do your shop. Take your own bags

As a Guardian reader it's highly unlikely you would ever leave the house without a bag for life, but just in case you do you should make sure it's not the day you do your shopping. At Aldi there is no such thing as a free carrier bag, so go prepared. Don't pack your shopping at the till

This is a big no no if you want to avoid scathing looks from other customers. Good form is to put the shopping back in the basket or trolley and relocate to the packing area where you can decant it into your bags at leisure. If you don't want to do that, you need to practise packing really quickly. If you like it, buy it

Alongside the usual food and household goods Aldi has a regularly changing array of bargains – as one reader said during our Store Wars series: "One week they're selling tents, another DAB radios, another ultrasonic cleaning baths". (Unusual goods)

Deliveries are on Thursdays and Sundays and it's a case of when it's gone, it's gone, so don't expect to be able to go away and have a think about whether to purchase that chainsaw/telescope/garden bench. The good news is the 60-day refund policy, so if you do change your mind when you get home you can always take it back. Among current offers are £2.99 pairs of ergonomic running socks. Forget about loyalty cards

You know how you are always complaining that supermarkets make a big fuss about loyalty cards when they could just be cutting prices? Well Aldi has gone down that path. Forget points, vouchers and money-off at Pizza Express, even if you go to Aldi every week you won't be able to get free dough balls. Buy the cold meats

If you buy one thing at Aldi, make it the cold meats. A few years ago food critic Jay Rayner wrote that "the sliced chorizo had huge depth of flavour and was pleasingly dry. A thin-cut salami from the same range had a big-fisted porkiness", and recently a reader sang the praises of the meat and the salmon.

Aldi is a German supermarket chain that first entered the UK in the early 1990's. They pride themselves on being the "..fastest, friendliest people in the business" and their company slogan is "Spend a little, live a lot". Founded in Germany by two brothers, it opened in order to meet the needs of a very poor and economically-beaten Germany after World War 2. It has since grown and established itself across Europe as a decent, discount supermarket. Although when it first arrived in the UK it was only assosiated with very poor families, it has all but shaken off this image and appeals to a wider section of society now. Aldi is an unusual shopping experience and an even more unusual place to work. First, I'll give you my perspective as an ex-employee and then as a customer. I should...
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