Here's What Aldi Shoppers Really Do With Their Cart Quarters

Avid Aldi fans always know to bring a quarter in order to get a cart at the store — and for new Aldi shoppers, this is essential information to know. The quarter lets you unlock a cart, and you'll get the coin returned to you once you put the cart back. In the past, Aldi has encouraged their shoppers to leave their quarters in the cart as a random act of kindness. In an Instagram post, the chain further engaged their customer base by asking what they do with their returned 25 cents.

Based on the comments, it seems that many not only pass their quarters on to the next Aldi shopper, but some people will give the cart directly to a person going into the store as well. One commenter also suggested an even greater way to pay it forward by "sticking a few more quarters in other carts." Which sounds like a lovely surprise for the next customer and could really make someone's day.

Why do you need a quarter to shop at Aldi?

When you go to most grocery store chains, you don't need to bring extra money for a shopping cart, so why is this the case at Aldi? There are a number of things that Aldi does differently from other stores to keep their prices so low – and it turns out, the shopping cart quarter is part of this strategy.

It's actually a common question that the chain gets asked a lot, and as such, they've provided a pretty reasonable answer on their FAQ page. "This 25 cent deposit ultimately saves our customers money because we don't have to hire extra staff to collect grocery carts. To unlock a cart, customers have to insert a quarter, and this deposit ensures shoppers return their cart to the corral to get their quarter back," they note.

The low pricing is one very big reason why Aldi has such a big fanbase, so although it might be frustrating for anyone who forgets a quarter at home, the policy ultimately saves you money over time. 

Do other grocery stores use this quarter system?

For new Aldi shoppers, bringing a quarter might seem surprising, especially since this requirement is not instated at most grocery stores in the United States. However, this is a common practice in other countries like Germany, so it's not too shocking that this system would be in place at German-owned chain Aldi.

According to The German Way & More, many grocery stores in that country require $.50 or 1 Euro coin to unlock shopping carts, and like Aldi's policy, once you return the cart you get your money back. TravelTeening mentions preferring this system since US customers often leave carts scattered around parking lots, and the coin system ensures carts are responsibly brought back. 

Once you do shop at Aldi a few times, you'll quickly get in the habit of bringing coins along with you and/or keep them stocked in your car. But if you do leave your quarter at home or just plan on grabbing a basket, here's what Aldi employees want you to know before you shop without a cart: Don't ask for $.25 loans from employees and definitely don't take employee carts either!