Know before you go: Shopping tips for Aldi newbies

Leave the coupons. Take the quarters.
In an effort to keep costs low, Aldi operates a little differently than most other grocery...
In an effort to keep costs low, Aldi operates a little differently than most other grocery stores.(WDTV)
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 11:11 AM EDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - August 24 in Ocean Springs, Aldi will open its first store on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and shoppers are excited.

In an effort to keep costs low, Aldi operates a little differently than most other grocery stores. And it’s that slight mystery that’s adding to the anticipation. Here are a few things you should know before your first shopping trip to Aldi.

1. Bring a quarter for a shopping buggy

Don’t worry, you’ll get your quarter back. But in order to use a buggy, you must first put in a quarter to unlock it from the others. When you bring it back, you get the quarter back. Remember, they’re cutting costs and that means they’re not paying an employee to go wrangle all the stray buggies people leave in the parking lot.

If you’re going to be a regular, you may want to pick up the Aldi Quarter Keychain. It attaches to your keyring so you’ll always have a quarter with you. The store is always coming out with new designs, so you’ll be able to find one that suits your style.

The Aldi Quarter Keychain attaches to your keyring so you’ll always have a quarter with you for...
The Aldi Quarter Keychain attaches to your keyring so you’ll always have a quarter with you for a shopping buggy.(WLOX)

2. Bring your own bags

If you ever shop at Sam’s Club, you should be used to this one. Just bring your own reusable bags, or snag an empty box off a shelf to help you carry everything out. The no free bag policy helps cut costs, and you can feel good about using less plastic. If you don’t have any bags to bring, you can buy reusable grocery bags at the store. You’ll find them for sale at the checkout.

3. Bag your own groceries

This one should be obvious, since you have to bring your own bags. The cashier will scan your items and load them back into your buggy. Typically, you will then bag up your items after you pay. The good news is however you prefer for your groceries to be bagged is exactly how they will be bagged at Aldi. (Because you’re doing the bagging. Get it?)

4. No coupons allowed

If you love clipping coupons and pairing them with the weekly sales, you’re going to have to save that hobby for another store. More than 90% of everything sold in Aldi stores is packaged under the Aldi brand. And for the few national brands in the store, they don’t accept coupons. There is one exception. Occasionally, Aldi will print and distribute coupons for a special, regional promotion, like a grand opening. So if you go to the grand opening of the Ocean Springs store, you may get one of the elusive Aldi coupons. But they won’t be online. They’re always handed out at the stores or mailed to you personally.

5. There’s an Aisle of Shame

The Aisle of Shame is an affectionate nickname for the center aisle of Aldi that features seasonal items which change every week. But it’s even more than that. There’s also a blog and newsletter for Aldi fans, which you can find at aisleofshame.com And there’s an Aisle of Shame Facebook page and Facebook Group with 1.3 million members. This is part of what makes Aldi different than other grocery stores. It kind of has a cult, I mean, community following.

6. Aldi’s return policy is 🔥

They call it their Twice as Nice Guarantee. If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with the quality of any Aldi brand food item, Aldi will replace the product AND refund your money. You must have your receipt if you want the refund in the same way you paid. But even if you don’t, they’ll give you an Aldi Merchandise Credit gift card equal to the current retail price of the returned item. Computers and electronics are the only items that have a time limit on returns. They must be returned with a receipt within 90 days of purchase.

7. Aldi offers grocery delivery and pickup

Aldi’s delivery is operated by Instacart. So if you already have an Instacart account or the mobile app, just log in with your email address and password. You can also visit shop.aldi.us and enter your zip code to determine if your local store offers delivery and/or pickup. Learn more at www.aldi.us/en/pickup-delivery/grocery-pickup/

ALDI is opening 150 new stores this year with 20 of those in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. By the end of 2022, ALDI is on track to be the third largest grocer in the country.

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