Things You Should Never Do In Aldi

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Grocery shopping — how hard can it be? You grab a cart, wander through the aisles, pick out what you need, check out, and go home. End of story.

But shopping isn't so simple at Aldi, the German supermarket chain that now has stores all over the United States. The international chain is best known for offering a no-frills shopping experience and ridiculously low prices on groceries, as well as home goods and other items.

The prices are so cheap that shoppers are willing to put up with a handful of distinctive rules and quirks during the Aldi shopping experience. These unique requirements are what makes shopping at Aldi so affordable — and, as a result, so popular — in the first place. In fact, Aldi has a huge and growing fanbase. When a store opens in a new location, it's not uncommon for hundreds of people to flock to the grand opening.

But before you join the crowds at Aldi, be forewarned. There are a few things you should never, ever do.

Don't forget your quarter when you shop at Aldi

No, seriously. You're going to want to keep some loose change in your wallet or your car if you plan to shop at Aldi regularly. Why? Because Aldi requires all shoppers to put down a small deposit before using one of the store's carts.

Inserting a quarter into a special slot "unlocks" a single cart for use. Forget your quarter and you just can't get a cart, period — they're all chained up. After you're done shopping and you replace your cart in the corral, you'll get your quarter back. It's pretty simple after you've done it once or twice, but can be intimidating and confusing on your first shopping trip.

Of course, you're always welcome to shop without a cart, but that might make your shopping experience more challenging, especially if you're loading up on groceries for the week. The 25-cent deposit is one of the ways Aldi keeps prices low — instead of hiring extra workers to wrangle up carts in the parking lot, they get shoppers to perform this task. Pretty clever!

Need some help remembering your quarter? You can even buy special quarter-holder keychains. That way, you'll have a quarter on your car or house keys at all times. Some people even keep their quarter-holder keychain attached to their reusable bags, which is a win-win all around.

Don't try to call your local Aldi

You may want to call your local Aldi store to ask a question or get information about store hours, sales, or new products. But if you search online for your local Aldi store phone number, you'll quickly realize you're out of luck. You can't find a phone number because Aldi doesn't want you to call. Instead, they keep their website updated at all times in hopes that you'll seek out information there.

In order to keep prices low, Aldi also keeps staffing low. This means your local store doesn't staff employees to specifically do administrative or receptionist-like tasks, nor do they want their grocery staffers to waste time answering the phone. This frees up Aldi employees' time to help customers, restock aisles, and perform other important tasks.

If you can't find the answer to your question on the website FAQs section, you have a few options. You can visit your local store and ask an employee or manager directly, you can send Aldi an email, or you can write Aldi a letter.

Don't skip the Aldi alcohol selection

If you're planning to hit up your local liquor store before or after shopping at Aldi, think again. Aldi has an incredible selection of award-winning wines and beers — no extra trip needed. Plus, as with all Aldi products, the wine and beer options are super affordable.

Aldi has it all, and then some, when it comes to alcoholic beverages. Red wine, white wine, rose, sparkling wine, imported beers, premium beers — the list goes on.

And if you're overwhelmed by all the options, you can't really go wrong with Aldi's "Wines of the Month," which are trendy, new, seasonally appropriate wines selected by Aldi's expert buyer. The grocery chain also picks a "Beer of the Month" and notes which food items to pair it with, which is handy if you need some meal-prep inspiration.

Aldi also offers a rotating selection of limited edition, specialty items like Irish cream liqueur and chocolate wine. Plus, the chain has its own wine label called Winking Owl with 10 varieties to choose from. And you better believe it's cheap.

Don't forget your reusable bags when you shop at Aldi

We all know we're supposed to bring our own reusable bags to the grocery store, since this simple step helps keep more plastic bags out of the landfill. But actually remembering to bring them is a true struggle. Even when you keep your reusable bags in the car, it's still hit or miss.

Well, you won't want to make this mistake when you shop at Aldi — otherwise, it'll cost you. Another way Aldi keeps overall prices down is by charging customers for shopping bags. And since you're likely shopping at Aldi to save money in the first place, paying for shopping bags is counterproductive. Keep in mind that this small fee, which is usually a few cents, may be on top of any fees that your local municipality charges for plastic bags, a practice that is becoming more common across the U.S.

If you forgot your reusable bags at home or you just don't have any, you're in luck. Aldi has its own line of branded reusable bags with fun designs available for purchase at stores. If bags just aren't your thing, feel free to grab a large empty product box or two from the store — or just pile your groceries loose in your trunk to be dealt with when you get back home.

Don't look for brand names at Aldi

If you find yourself painstakingly scouring the aisles for your favorite brands while shopping at Aldi, you're wasting your time, unfortunately. Aldi carries very few brand names.

Instead, the chain stocks its shelves with so-called Aldi exclusive brands — in fact, more than 90 percent of products in most Aldi stores are store-branded. This is yet another way that Aldi helps its customers save money. The grocery chain is able to keep prices low because there are no hidden costs associated with their products, such as money spent on advertising and marketing like you'll find with name brands.

There are a few national brands here and there, but not many. The chain began offering these products so that customers could do more of their grocery shopping at Aldi — some people have super strong brand preferences, according to Aldi. You may also find a nationally branded product on Aldi's shelves because the grocery chain wasn't able to source something similar of the same quality.

And don't fret about the quality of these Aldi exclusive brands. They're just as good, if not better, than the national brands you're used to buying. Aldi makes quality a top priority, even while keeping prices as low as possible.

Don't forget to read Aldi's weekly ads

The best way to learn about upcoming Aldi deals and sales is to read the weekly ads — trust us, you don't want to skip this step, especially if you're shopping on a budget. By scoping out the weekly ads while making your shopping list, you can meal-plan and strategize to keep your grocery bill down.

The store primarily distributes its weekly ads in local newspapers, but you can also find them online or at your local store.

You can also sign up for Aldi's weekly email newsletter and have this week's deals delivered to your inbox. Typically, Aldi sends out these emails on Wednesdays, because that's the day the start date for the week's new Aldi Finds, which are special seasonal deals on home goods and other items. Pro tip: Aldi Finds are listed on the website up to a week in advance, so you can get a head start on your shopping list.

Don't expect prices to be the same in every Aldi store

If you're taking a road trip or visiting a new city on business, you might pop into the local Aldi to pick up a few things. But prepare to be surprised when you look at the price tags of items you usually buy at your local Aldi — they might be higher or lower than you're used to, depending on a few factors.

That's because Aldi charges different prices depending on the store location. The grocery chain takes into account local rules, consumer demand, competitors, production and operating costs, and local market conditions when setting prices. And since all of these factors can vary widely, so do Aldi's store prices.

If your local Aldi store drops the price for an item you've already purchased at that same store, you can ask the store manager to give you a small refund. Just be sure to bring your receipt with you.

And while you may be used to the price-matching guarantees offered by some other grocery chains, don't expect the same treatment from Aldi.

Aldi doesn't offer price-matching because it says its prices are almost always lower anyway. There are rare occasions where another retailer beats Aldi's price, but even so, the chain doesn't make exceptions because they're able to help you lower your overall grocery bill, week after week.

Don't assume the food at Aldi is low-quality or can't meet your dietary needs

Whether you're paleo, keto, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or just plain hungry, Aldi has got something for you. It's a mistake to believe that because its prices are lower, Aldi offers substandard products or generic foods that aren't healthy.

The chain is super transparent about product sourcing and quality. On the Aldi website, you'll find extensive detail about Aldi's commitment to the well-being of animals, the use of pesticides on fruits and vegetables, sustainably-raised or wild-caught seafood, and other related topics. Aldi also uses easy-to-read product labels to clearly and accurately note which products are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher-certified, and beyond.

Fun fact: Aldi aims to transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2025. The grocery chain has also removed certified synthetic colors, added MSH, and partially hydrogenated oils from all of its store-branded products.

Don't be fooled by online Aldi coupon scams

We've all been there. Scrolling Facebook on your phone, you stop when you see a deal or offer that seems too good to be true. You click the link and save the coupon to your phone. Voila, extra savings.

Not so fast. If you see what looks like an Aldi coupon on social media, it's a scam. As a rule, Aldi never offers online coupons, period. The only coupons Aldi offers are either sent in the mail or handed out in the store. Be wary of anyone or anything pretending to offer you an Aldi coupon online. They may be after your personal information or, worse, your credit card number.

It's also worth knowing that, in general, Aldi coupons are pretty rare. The store sometimes offers regional promotions when a new store is open, but that's about it. Aldi also doesn't accept manufacturer's coupons, even for the few brand-name products it offers.

Don't forget about Aldi's Twice as Nice guarantee

There's nothing more frustrating than getting home from the grocery store and digging into a tasty snack you just bought, only to discover that it's not quite what you expected. You're probably kicking yourself for wasting a few bucks on something that turned out to be gross.

But not at Aldi. Low prices aside, Aldi is also first-class when it comes to customer service. Case in point: The "Twice as Nice" guarantee.

This initiative means that if you're not happy with a product you bought at Aldi, the store will not only replace it free of charge but will also give you your money back. You get what you paid for — and then some. That level of customer service is what keeps people coming back for more, even though they have to do a little extra work to shop at Aldi.

Don't shop at Aldi on the wrong day

Sure, you can take advantage of Aldi's low prices any day of the week. But there's actually some strategy involved to get the absolute lowest prices and best deals at Aldi.

Wednesday is the absolutely best day to shop at Aldi, according to Delish, which got the scoop from Aldi headquarters. This is because Wednesdays are when employees typically add 40 to 50 new items to the Aldi Finds section, which features specialty products, seasonal items, and new products Aldi is testing.

Wednesdays also mean new promotions, so you can get lower prices on certain fruits, vegetables, and other staples, according to Eat This, Not That. But don't show up late in the day on Wednesday and expect to snag everything on your Aldi Finds list, especially around the holiday season. When a product sells out, that's that. Aldi doesn't restock these products, at least not right away, according to Cooking Light.

Don't forget about delivery or curbside pickup from Aldi

Grocery shopping can be a huge multi-step process for many people, especially for families — getting the kids ready, remembering to bring the reusable bags, driving to the store, parking, getting a cart, loading, and unloading the car — the list goes on.

Aldi wants to make your life easier, which is why the chain offers delivery and curbside pickup at some stores. For delivery, Aldi partners with Instacart, which makes same-day grocery deliveries from stores across the country. Aldi rolled out Instacart service nationwide, but you should still visit the Aldi website to see if your specific store is included.

Know you have a big barbecue coming up? You can actually schedule your Aldi delivery for later in the week. Voila, problem solved. Though getting your groceries delivered does increase the overall cost, with Aldi's dirt-cheap prices, it's probably still cheaper than shopping anywhere else. And you don't even have to leave the house. Just keep in mind that since Instacart is delivering your groceries, you'll be charged to use Aldi's grocery bags. It's a small tradeoff, but one to consider before you order delivery nonetheless.

You can also pick up your groceries at the curb at some Aldi locations. This initiative is only available at a handful of pilot locations, but we can always hope and dream that Aldi will roll this out nationwide, too.

Don't skip Aldi Finds

While you're scanning Aldi's website or weekly ad each week, be sure to give yourself extra time to peruse the Aldi Finds section — you do not want to accidentally skip these deals.

Aldi Finds items range from home decor to outdoor gear to shoes, clothes, and household staples — and they're almost always offered at ridiculously low prices. In the summer, you might find a treasure trove of affordable camping gear. In the fall, back-to-school essentials like lunchboxes and backpacks.

This section is often full of items that would make great gifts, especially if you're stumped on what to buy a particular friend or family member. If you don't take advantage of these Aldi Finds, you're seriously missing out.

Aldi Finds are often such a good deal that they sell out on the first day, so you'll want to act quickly. In fact, it's not unusual to see a line forming outside the store before it opens on the day Aldi Finds are stocked. People sure do love their Aldi products!

Don't expect tons of Aldi employees

Another way that Aldi keeps prices down is by keeping staffing numbers low at each store. If you expect to see dozens of employees leisurely wandering around the store, available to answer your questions or gab about produce, you're out of luck at Aldi.

On average, the chain keeps 10 employees on staff at each store. This, of course, means that each employee is tackling more job duties than your average grocery store worker. Employees are basically jacks (and jills) of all trades, switching from cleaning to stocking the freezer to unloading boxes to running the till at a moment's notice

As a shopper, this means you shouldn't expect to be making idle chit-chat with employees. And you might be shocked at how quickly they rush you through the checkout process. In fact, employees are even timed on how fast they can perform certain tasks, such as scanning items or unloading pallets (via Daily Mail). It's not bad, just different, and you should be prepared before you head to Aldi.

Don't try to shop at Aldi late at night or early in the morning

If you're a night owl or early riser who likes to get the week's grocery shopping done while the rest of the world is fast asleep, prepare for some bad news if you plan to do most of your shopping at Aldi. The chain doesn't stay open super late, closing most stores at 8 or 9 p.m. sharp. Most stores open around 9 a.m., which is long after many people have gone to work.

Aldi is only open during peak shopping hours, which in most cases means that early mornings and late nights are out of the question. This is yet another way Aldi keeps costs down; instead of keeping the lights on and paying employees to work when there are just a handful of shoppers in the store, Aldi simply shuts down. If you want to shop at Aldi, you'll need to rearrange your schedule, instead of expecting the store to accommodate you.

According to Tech Radar, Aldi did some internal research and found that stores are busiest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so if you want to avoid the crowds, be sure to do your shopping outside of that window.