My Dad explains his ALDI addiction

I was over at Dad’s place on the weekend and I noted a whole heap of new stuff from ALDI. I asked him to share a few words about his growing addiction.

This is a story about my favourite retail playground. I confess to being classified a retail “junkie”. I have four retail playgrounds that I usually attend and navigate at my anonymous leisure. These playgrounds between them offer liquor, DYI hardware, whitegoods, nursery products and edibles. Hardware, booze, plants and edibles are not mutually exclusive. They feed off each other. They inspire each other. When you are tired of one, you can turn to another. There is always fascination. I examine, test, taste, gaze in wonderment, prod, poke, examine, question, and inevitably make a purchase. My imagination runs riot. Previously unknown “must haves” manifest themselves and become indispensible.

Those resourceful Germans have introduced into Australia a shopping chain that at any one time combines the offerings of all my preferred playgrounds – the ubiquitous and expanding Aldi chain, which has grabbed a very significant percentage of the Australian grocery market.

There are some basic ground rules to be followed for the dedicated Aldi shopper:

  1. Obtain the latest catalogue so that you can investigate the Wednesday and Saturday specials ahead of the undedicated consumers;
  2. Be at the starting gate at 8 am sharp, looking nonchalant, lest you disclose to fellow starters your intended purchase, which is sometimes in short supply;
  3. Be prepared to spring at the barrier like a thoroughbred at Randwick or a greyhound at Wentworth Park;
  4. Research the object of your desire, as the attendants are sparse in number and not up to speed on the virtues of all the special stock.
  5. Always suss out the marked-down items – just in case! (Middle aisle).

I cannot visit Aldi without buying something. I am an absolute victim. Sometimes I sneak home and hide the impulsively purchased item(s), hoping for a more propitious time to introduce it or them into the marital home.

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One of my more successful Aldi purchases occurred recently when I waded into the watch market. (Not that I was in the market, mind you, but the sight of a bevy of coloured watches at $7.99 each was too much to bear). In I went, not letting fear stand in my way. What to do with all those watches when I got them home?

I gave my wife (who is of Dutch lineage) the orange one (orange being the national colour of the Netherlands). That magnanimous but strategic gesture threw my spouse off the scent of the magnitude of my follies. I gradually, gaining in confidence, introduced the other colours into the daily wardrobe and, taking no flak, subsequently succeeded in assimilating them into the marital home. I am wearing them in turn, an action which is causing some alarm among my drinking mates and some furtive glances of pity and indeed alarm from commuters on the morning ferry.

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One of my less successful purchases was the Aldi Inflatable Canoe – a snip at $59.99. For a conservative person like me, this was an audacious and uncharacteristic purchase. My strategy was to master it and by the time my grandchildren came to visit I would be able to nonchalantly launch it and give them a ride around the harbour at little risk of alarming their parents, bird and marine life, and other vessels.

With due pomp and ceremony we launched and christened the vessel HMAS Aldi. It took pride of place in the underground car park much to the bemusement of our fellow inhabitants. Life jackets were purchased; paddles were assembled; tide charts perused, and all was in readiness for HMAS Aldi’s maiden voyage.

Now some people are just not meant to be let loose on the water. I am in that category.

In spite of my best efforts, HMAS Aldi developed a mind of her own and refused to be guided in any direction that did not suit her. I returned to the shore with some difficulty (trying to appear nonchalant to disguise the terror in my heart), and dragged HMAS Aldi back to the underground garage. Sadly, in the end, akin to the Titanic, she had but one journey.

After some thought, I decided to cut my losses. In the dead of night, I placed her gently on the front lawn, with a tear in my eye, and in the morning she was gone, hopefully to a good home and to someone more suited to marine navigation than myself.

HMAS Aldi – A danger to Man, Beast and Shipping.

Whats the most unusual thing you have ever bought at Aldi?