Why Aldi Doesn't Want Shoppers Using This Viral Cart Hack

Some people will always get a thrill out of gaming the system. In the U.S., consumers are not accustomed to paying to use a shopping cart. So, when German grocerĀ Aldi began requesting a deposit of 25 cents for the use of its carts, people were, understandably, surprised. Aldi explains, via its website, that the measure helps save customers money. The fee is in place to help keep prices low, and to keep carts from cluttering the parking lot. If a customer doesn't have a quarter, they can ask inside, and one is provided.

But, for those who don't want to pay the fee, or ask for a quarter, they often find another way. An Aldi cart hack began overseas, and has since spread to the U.S. It allows shoppers to use an alternative method to open up the lock on the carts, and release them from the chain.

How the Aldi cart hack works and why you should avoid it

An Aldi customer in Australia posted in a Facebook group that she regularly uses the back of a key to unlock Aldi carts from the cart corral (via Daily Mail). While some readers praised the hack, others were concerned about getting their keys stuck, a problem that an Aldi spokesperson confirmed as possible.

Another problem with this hack is the possibility of forgetting the key. Your quarter, or in this case, the key, will not be released from the cart until you return it to the cashier inside or the corral outside. If you simply leave your cart somewhere, your key is gone.

Other life hackers have avoided using quarters for carts at Aldi by drilling holes in quarters and keeping them on their keychains, or purchasing various widgets sold on sites that sell handmade goods (via Reddit). Meanwhile, a lock picker on YouTube illustrates how to use a key facing the traditional way in carts so that you can retrieve the key immediately.

At the end of the day, if you shop at Aldi because you value a low-price business model, using hacks like these could eventually result in higher prices due to the cost to fix broken locks and hire more employees to collect abandoned carts. Plus, a lost key will ultimately cost you a lot more than a quarter.