Why we love Aldi

There are about 50 Aldi grocery stores in Georgia, including more than 40 here in the metro Atlanta area. One of them, gratefully, is located very close to our home. Our family loves that place. It’s like our own convenient pantry.

Unfamiliar with Aldi? It’s a discount grocery chain born in Germany. I became familiar with the brand while living in England. They sell mainly privately-labeled foods, and most of the time their prices are significantly better than the competition, including other stores that carry store brands. The stores aren’t as big as the major players like Kroger and Walmart, but Aldi excels at keeping enough within the grocery spectrum to make you question whether you should bother going anywhere else.

Except for the bananas.

Aldi does okay overall in the produce section, sometimes wowing us with great deals on staples like oranges, grapes, apples and a good selection of the salady stuff. Aldi does not do well on the banana front. They’re usually very green or they’re very bruised, and sometimes they are a fascinating combination of both. I have a Kroger near my office, so I generally pick up bananas there during lunch breaks about every other day. It’s worth the trip, especially since Kroger also has some pretty good clearance offerings on most visits. If I already need go to Walmart for something, I tend to look out for yellow bananas.

Also does extremely well on pretty much anything German. Bratwursts? Theirs are as good as any big-name brand. Chocolate candies? Forgetaboutit. Aldi’s chocolates are amazing, and I would pit them against many of America’s top-tier chocolatiers. Christmastime is unbelievable at Aldi, because they bring all the best western European holiday treats to town, and all of it is authentic, and all of it is delicious. Their Dutch stroopwafels kill it, and anything with gingerbread in it takes you right back to a German Weihnachtsmarkt (look it up).

What we love most about Aldi, though, is the personable employees and the customer service they deliver. I don’t know anything about Aldi’s hiring process, but a manager recently told me the company takes good care of its employees. They’re worked hard, but they’re looked after rather well, he said.

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