Thursday, June 11, 2009
I went to the super-discount grocery store ALDI this evening. It's kind of like part grocery, part welfare office. There are giant propaganda signs, printed in pleasant colors and put up all around, explaining how you are saving money by bagging your own groceries, and how they have such low overhead. Note, however, that printing giant colored signs and purchasing hanging hardware and hiring labor is all part of the overhead. You see what I mean? That's like when a radio announcer says his station is "LESS TALK." Yeah, well you just talked when you said that. You could've talked even less.
In case you've never been, if you want to get a grocery cart, you need to bring a quarter. The carts are equipped with a locking system, and they're all neatly chained together outside the store. To unlock one, you use your quarter as a key. Stick it in the slot, and it grabs your quarter but you can still see the edge of the quarter poking out of the device. This is important, because it's a reminder: you get your quarter back. When you're done shopping, you lock the cart back up neatly and your quarter pops out, and you go along your merry way. There is a big sign, orange with white lettering and a giant photo of a quarter, explaining that you get your quarter back, and that this system helps keep the carts organized and the parking lot clean.
ALDI's cans of Happy Harvest brand Mixed Vegetables (think Veg-All) are running 62 cents a can here. I was hoping for something like 45 and 59. Regular grocery store brands are running around 75 cents a can, and premium brands, like LeSeur Peas, are running $1.30 and up, just for context. Comparing the 75 cent grocery generic with ALDI's 62 cents, that's 13 cents difference. You, the wind tunnel, better be buying a lot of cans if you're going to really see any savings, especially if you have to drive or take a bus out of your way to get to ALDI. I am now building up a modest Emergency Food Supply, so I will be buying a lot of cans. Of course I don't prefer canned dinner, but there may come a spell when we can't get fresh. Example: gas shortage. Trucks won't drive tomatoes up from Florida; I've got a can of diced tomatoes.
If you want to see a great blog post about ALDI prices, check out Frugal Mom at Everything Alabama:
Tonight, I only bought about six cans because I showed up at 7:55 and they close at 8:00. I didn't even get a bag, I just threw everything in my trunk.
In spite of what you hear on the TV, times are actually really good right now. We're just into June and my tomato plants are already five feet tall and bearing fruit. Gasoline is plentiful, and we have our choice of stores at which to purchase cans to stock up for the bad times.
Posted by Andy Hopkins at 11:10 PM