The Thing You Need To Know Before Checking Out At Aldi For The First Time

Shopping at Aldi can be a bit of a mystery if you're a first-timer at the chain, especially given that you have to pay a small fee before even stepping foot into the store. However, after you get past the initial shock of needing to fork over 25 cents for a shopping cart (don't worry, it's only temporary), the experience is pretty normal — well, until it comes time to check out, that is.

The final step of the grocery shopping process starts as it does at any other store — with you taking all of your fun and delicious Aldi finds from the cart and placing them on the conveyor belt. From here, things start to go off course, as you'll notice that the lightning-fast cashier isn't bagging any of your groceries but rather loading them back into another cart. This isn't anything against you. Aldi appoints the job of bagging to its customers to keep the checkout process quick and efficient. This also means that you're in charge of bringing your own reusable bags to the store or purchasing them at the checkout counter.

After you've completed your transaction, swap your now-empty cart out for the one full of your groceries and head to one of the bagging areas, which are typically long counters located near the store's exit. Then, bag up your groceries and head back to the cart corral to return your buggy and get that precious Aldi cart quarter back.

How to get through the checkout line without a cart

A shopping cart isn't always necessary when you're shopping at Aldi, especially since it's okay to put items in a grocery bag as you peruse the store. However, this can lead to some confusion once you get to checkout, since you won't be able to make the 'ole cart switcheroo after you pay. What are you to do?

Reddit user u/YouAreDreaming inquired about this exact situation and was offered a handful of solutions for what to do. One Redditor, who identified themselves as an Aldi employee, said it was "totally cool if it's just a few items for the most part," though if the on-the-spot bagging interferes with the payment process, it can become a bit of a nuisance for everyone involved. They suggested immediately inserting your payment card into the reader and starting to bag as the cashier rings everything up, so both processes can finish up around the same time, and you'll already be ready to pay.

If you're only purchasing, say, three to five items, you can also grab them out of the cart after paying, carry them to the bagging station, and load them up into your bag there. However, should you be purchasing any more items than that, or you simply want to avoid feeling any Aldi anxiety, the best thing to do is grab a cart before you start shopping to avoid disturbing the flow of the checkout process.