Up until last year, I'd never set foot in an Aldi. On the surface, Aldi is nothing special; your typical German discount grocery chain. But then you find out it's owned by the same company that owns Trader Joe's, and suddenly you're a little more interested. Then you find out that you can get a lot of Trader Joe's products, but cheaper. Then, before you know it, boom:
you're an Aldi mom.
My conversion to Aldi mom was swift and complete and is a major source of
bonding between me and my father, who is an Aldi dad. As with many stores moms are obsessed with — Target, Home Goods, TJ Maxx — the love comes from a combination of products and price, and everything at Aldi is cheap and delicious and/or awesome. How? A bunch of reasons, but mainly due to the fact that everything in Aldi is no frills and efficient AF... and also maybe made by very practical, environmentally conscious mermaids. I don't know. This is a hypothesis and rest assured, I'm looking into it.
Here are some signs that you've drunk the Aldi Kool Aid... which, incidentally, is called something like "Fruit Flavor Drink" and is 50 percent cheaper than the name brand stuff. Just FYI.
You Have To Explain What Aldi Is To Some People
Aldi is international and found all throughout the United States, and yet some people have never heard of it. When you're face-to-face with that unfortunate soul, you're
more than happy to fill them in because the people must know of this place. So cheap! So delicious! So invested in the environment! So fair in their labor practices! In fact, you've been working on a campaign to designate every store as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You Stock Up On Specialty Items
Aldi giveth and Aldi taketh away. Some things are almost always available, but some items are only available sporadically — they appear without warning and vanish for weeks or even months at a time only to reappear without fanfare. So girl, when you see that tikka masala simmer sauce or gingerbread coffee, you grab as many as they can legally sell you
and you run. You Always Have A Quarter On You
How else are you going to get your cart?!
(Don't worry, soon-to-be Aldi moms: it's a deposit. This is one of those ways Aldi cuts operation costs.)
You're In A Secret Competition With Yourself To See How Little You Can Spend
There is nothing an Aldi mom loves more than shimmying under the grocery limbo stick to see
how low they can go. Because it can be so much lower than in other stores. My personal best was $56 for a weeks' worth of food. Guys... I know. You Get Physically Mad When You Have To Buy Milk Anywhere Else
Because I'm sorry, random gas station I'm forced to get milk from right now, but you're telling me this 32-ounce little nothing of milk is $2? Do you
even understand that I can get a gallon for $1.17? What dark-hearted nonsense is this? Other Grocery Stores Overwhelm You
My husband and I joke that Aldi is what grocery stores would look like if Communism worked well. Everyone has what they need, but the stores themselves are more modest and there are fewer, less flashy options. Don't get me wrong: there's a lot of great stuff, but they don't have an entire aisle dedicated to, like,
47 different flavors of potato chips. So now when I do go to other grocery stores I'm like, "Ahh! More than 10 kinds of soda? What are we? Vanderbilts?" You Have Gone Grocery Shopping & Come Back With Rain Boots
This makes perfect sense to Aldi moms, who are well acquainted with the weird "middle aisle" that's stocked with seasonal (and often completely random) non-food items, but is weird for the uninitiated. But, like, of course you got the rainboots... or cheeseboard... or space heater... it was
so cheap! Why wouldn't you get these things?! You Never Forget Your Cloth Bags
Aldi gives us many things, but bags for groceries are not among them. Yes, that's right: you have to supply your own. So if you don't want to carry out all your items individually you're going to have to remember the reusables. (Don't worry: in a pinch you can buy a few in the check-out aisle.)
You Make It Rain Snacks
Because the snack aisle is where it's
at and they're so inexpensive that you're like, "Go nuts, kids!" There is, in fact, likely an entire shelf in your pantry for your various Aldi snacks, which is convenient because if your kids are anything like mine they need a snack every 24 seconds or they shrivel up in starvation and anemia (or so they'd have me believe. It's just easier to toss some cheap crackers at them then deal with the whining, to be honest. You Wonder Why *All* Checkout Workers Don't Have A Chair
Because Aldi is based in Europe, they have brought some of their traditions to the United States, like the tradition that someone working an eight-hour shift shouldn't have to stand that whole time. Seriously
why don't we all do this? It's not like chairs are all that complicated or in short supply. Standing that long is murder on your lower back under the best of circumstances, to say nothing of people with chronic pain or any number of disabilities. Give workers a living wage and a decent goddamn chair. Girl Scout Cookie Season Has Lost Its Luster
Now I'm not one to be
dismissive of the Girl Scouts but I'm just saying Aldi has cookies that taste a whole lot like Thin Mints and Samoas all year long and it's made my life immeasurably better. You Feel Betrayed When Something You Need Is Not In Stock
Hey, nothing is perfect and this will happen from time to time. Still, it never stops feeling like a deeply personal, disloyal act of treachery. Because goddamnit, Aldi, I talk about you to everyone and you're going to do me dirty by not having ground turkey in stock? Dude, I
need it. You Have Responded To A Compliment With, "Oh, Thanks! I Got It At Aldi!" More Than Once
It's an Aldi mom's version of someone complimenting your dress and then you say, "Thanks!
It has pockets!" Obviously, if your dress pockets then the world must know. Being an Aldi mom who is complimented on something she got there instills that same, happy feeling that just bubbles up inside you so high that it comes spilling out every time. You Tell Literally Everyone
mystery that you're obsessed with this store: you straight up tell people. You have zero self-consciousness or shame. You want people to know, for their own good. You Try To Convert New Aldi Moms
One of us! One of us!
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload , where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.