Why Aldi Fans On TikTok Are Saying The Company Is 'Living In The Future'

A recent video on TikTok received a lot of notice for the enthusiasm with which they discussed all the ways that Aldi represented the future of supermarkets. The clip noted practices like how Aldi leaves their products in the box it's shipped in, gives their cashiers seats, makes you bag your own groceries, and has you return the cart yourself. However, a lot of these revelations are not new. CBS has previously examined how these methods help Aldi to beat Walmart's low prices. 

Rather, the reason the video received such attention is that Europeans were shocked at how Aldi's practices were "the future" in America when they were common throughout Europe. "Wait," one asked, "that's special in the US?" Another snarked, "Tell me you're American without telling me you're American." Pretty much all of the other responses sounded the same with only the occasional person concluding that all these business practices mean that Aldi is lazy. 

The treatment of cashiers is the most appalling

"This is just Europe," a particularly scandalized viewer wrote on the post. "YOU GUYS MAKE CASHIERS STAND FOR FIVE HOUR SHIFTS?!!" Luckily, they were corrected. No, cashiers in America don't stand for five hour shifts — they stand for eight to 12 hour ones. In fact, as Quartz notes, cashiers only sit for about 5% of their shift, meaning they sit for longer than restaurant workers, but for a shorter period of time than construction laborers. What should also be noted is that these other standing jobs also have a lot of movement and a variety of tasks, especially when compared to the monotony of cashier work.

An explanation for why U.S. stores refuse to let their cashiers sit is lacking. However, it is so ingrained that we even published an article on the fact that the cashiers at Aldi are allowed to sit. One reason this could be happening is because European shopping lanes, like those in Aldi, can accommodate stools and the customers are expected to bag their own purchases, meaning that there is less of a need for the worker to stand (via Washington Post). Another common refrain, however, is that American culture considers any act of sitting to be inherently less productive while standing. So, managers seeing their workers sitting assume that they are somehow wasting money on their salary. With Aldi's presence, though, this may change.