Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Label Snob

I am a food label snob. I have caviar tastes on a tuna fish budget (okay, eww, maybe not caviar). It's all my mother's fault.

When I was a child and we went to the grocery store it was cool. We loaded up the cart with what we needed and bought it. No calculator, no mental addition, just buy what you need. I can vividly remember some trips that were close to the $200.00 range. Now, my parents' income was about double what ours is, as both my mother and stepfather were very well paid professionals, so they could afford it, but it set me up to be quite the grocery snob.

When we moved to Pennsylvania I discovered a small store that we did not have in Maryland called Aldi. There was no way I was going to shop there. Mr. Clean and I walked in once to check out this curious little store we had never heard of, unaware that we needed a quarter to use a shopping cart (the nerve, even if it was returned) and we would have to bag our things ourselves... how uncouth! I assumed this must be some discount, second hand grocery store and I wanted no part of it. There were no shiny floors (clean, but not shiny), bright florescent lighting nor Muzak playing. I would and do gladly shop at Goodwill and consignment shops and bask in the glory of my great finds, but this was crossing the line.

I am now addicted to Aldi. And boy was I wrong. My friend Eva who emigrated from Germany filled me in on the company (and her American hubby works for one of those big shiny American grocery stores nonetheless). Apparently in Germany, it is a superstore, equivalent to Wal-Mart and has the world's best deals. She told me that people would line up outside of the store waiting for it to open to get the deals. My ears perked up at this. Prestige? Superstore? DEALS?

So I grabbed my quarter and really checked it out. I was amazed at the quality of the food. They have their own label that they have a 100% guarantee on. You don't like something? They replace the item for you AND give you your money back. I have never had an issue. They even carry organic soy milk and it's the best I have ever tried. I started slowly, just buying things that I found that were cheaper than the grocery store (and I mean MUCH cheaper; where can you buy a box of cereal, even generic, for $1.69?) and found that I was going more and more often since I really liked their brand better than the name brand (gasp!). On the plus side, they even carry some name brand items, although I usually bypass them for the Aldi's brand, all of which have a catchy name relevant to the item.

Anyway, I suppose I should stop sounding like the Aldi spokeswoman since I am not seeing one red cent from this shining endorsement, but I was inspired as I cooked spaghetti for dinner and marveled at the perfectly pink, very fresh ground beef that I was using purchased there.

Maybe next time, they will float me a quarter for my loyalty...

1 comment:

Ami said...

I love ALDI's too! It's the one place I can go to stock up my whole pantry on about a 1/3 of the price I would pay at another grocery store!