Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Art of Aldi

An Aldi just opened down the block from my apartment. Aldi is a chain grocery store that carries incredibly cheap products. Though, there is a hidden cost. Fatness to be exact.

According to their philosophy they carry “only 1,400 or so of your most frequently purchased grocery and household items, of which nearly all are ALDI select brands. As a result, we get the lowest prices from our suppliers—and pass the savings on to you.”

It’s interesting to walk through the store and see what the 1,400 or so products actually are according to what’s on the shelf. Upon entering I am bombarded with a whole aisle of different types of chips, good healthy choices. Along another aisle, cereal—all containing large amounts of corn syrup while none upon my searching included whole wheat. There is also the baking aisle with its many different kinds of frying oils, corn syrup in giant containers and multiple cake and cookie mixes. Unlike other grocery stores this is the mecca for bad eating and bad choices.

As a shopper who wants to generally eat as healthy as possible going to Aldi is like walking into the store of gluttony. How can poor, I mean real honest poor people, eat like “everyone else”. Unless we consider that “everyone else” generally chooses to eat this shitty as well?

“ALDI was founded on the belief that people, wherever they live, should have the opportunity to buy everyday groceries of the highest quality at the lowest possible price.”

Great in theory, but it would be nice if more of the 1400 products contained greater nutritional value than they do.

Now to save even more money I have to go to three different grocery stores. The Devon Market to get all my fresh products; Aldi to get canned goods, and Dominic to get cereal and soy milk.

I’m sure in this capitalistic society it would be difficult to have one store that possessed everything a person needs at a valuable price—I suppose that would defeat the purpose of neoliberalism—or we’d all be stuck in the monopoly of a Wal-mart tyranny (as if we’re not close already). Which I am still thankful has been erected anywhere near me, because my wallet would overtake my conscious and I’d end up shopping there again, even though I am aware of their pure evilness.

Maybe I should just quit being such a cheapskate.

I did find a Mega Millions Lottery ticket on the ground while buying a few of the 1400 selected items at Aldi… perhaps I’ll win the jackpot on a free ticket. The irony would be amazingly beautiful and I’d never have to go back to that store again. . . strange.

Readers please send me good vibes my way so that I may actually be in possession of the golden ticket to magical capitalistic happiness. I’m just six numbers away. . .


  1. I didn't win the lottery... I only got one number. I even sang Patti Smith's "free money" so as to channel the win my way.

    I did read though, that you should sign the back of your ticket so if you lose it, no one else can claim it. Keep that in mind if you ever play the odds.

  2. Good luck with those lottery numbers! The subject of low quality grocery products and the American poor is one that is quite interesting. It is a great achievement that this country has been able to generate companies such as ALDI that can bring grocery products to many households that quite possibly may not have been able to afford food. Perhaps though, the biggest cost is a social one. With your experience at ALDI, its no longer a question as to why a large portion of our country's overweight population also falls at the lower end of the income spectrum. I am stuck in a bittersweet moment over this issue and find it hard to point finger to blame. Do we blame Wal-mart for pushing lower costs? Do we blame the manufacturers who are looking only to line the pockets of CEOs? Do we blame society? Do we blame the people who chose to buy a $.99 bag of potato chips instead of $.49 a pound bananas? The scary part of the whole story is that with the world population expected to reach 7 billion in less than 2 years, the issue of quasi-nutritious food will become more prominent. While farming lands disappear, crop production costs increasing, and an exponentially increasing number of mouths to feed, the pressure and NEED for low cost, and consequentially unhealthy foods, will grow. Now, I haven't quite figured out how to solve all the worlds problems, I can say what I always say - NOW IS THE TIME TO GET BACK TO BASICS. Prior to the information super highway, before 18 wheelers and before Walmart, people grew a lot of their own food. The best thing we can do as a society, and as a world population, is to educate people on nutrition, how to grow towards self sustainability and begin to work on turning every single patch of urban grass into a garden!

  3. Agreed. Government mandated personal gardens?

    Or maybe we should all at least attempt to become vegetarian since "An acre of land can produce 40,000 pounds of potatoes, but only 250 pounds of beef."http://www.vegetarian-facts.net/ Among other reasons...

    It does seem really counter-productive though to create cheap products so more people can eat even though what they're eating is going to kill them-- perhaps not as quickly as starvation, but soon enough and with more medical expenses(diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc).

    I don't know, If I could grow my own food here in the city somewhere or somehow I'd do it. Though those in-home manure trays do not seem very tempting.

  4. Hey - did you hear that Wal-Mart has now been voted as the company that "represents America and its values"? Excuse me while I puke on my off-name-brand shoes.