5 "Polite" Things You Do at Aldi That Are Actually Rude
With plenty of places still understaffed, it makes sense that you'd want to be on your best customer behavior these days. And at a supermarket as busy and jam-packed as Aldi, being a conscientious shopper can make everything go much more smoothly. After all, the Aldi employees are pretty busy shuttling Aldi finds on and off the shelves, keeping fan-favorite products in stock and scanning items at the speed of light.
So we thought back on our own Aldi experiences and scoured the internet for some simple tips that will keep you from stepping on any toes on your next Aldi run. We know you might mean well when you lean on some of these instincts—but that doesn't mean it's the best way to shop.
1. You leave your cart loose for the next customer.
All Aldi devotees know that rush of joy that comes when you walk up to the corral to rent a grocery cart and see that someone has left behind a freebie with a quarter still inside. (Here's why Aldi is still using that rental model, by the way.) And if you're the kind of person who likes to share the wealth, you've probably left your quarter behind to make someone's day a little brighter.
Just make sure that you stack the cart in with the rest when you leave behind your prepaid rental. A nice gesture can become a big mess when free carts start to pile up in a snarl outside of the organized corral, making it tough for people to navigate through the entrance without sending a cart into the parking lot. Keep things tidy (or just hand your cart over to a fellow customer in the parking lot) to save everyone a little grief.
2. You borrow the cashier's cart just for a moment, even though you didn't come in with one.
Your cashier starts adding your items to the cart next to them as they scan them through, per usual. The heat is on—after all, time flies in an Aldi checkout lane—so you snag the cart next to your cashier to get out of the way of the next customer. As much as everyone appreciates your dedication to keeping the line moving, stealing the cart even for a few moments can mess up the rhythm that your cashier has gotten into. They might be able to grab a cart from the next lane over, if it's empty, but they may even have to go outside and get a new cart from the corral to keep things equilibrated.
If you really need the cart, and things aren't too busy, simply ask your cashier if you can borrow it and bring it back. But if you're just trying to get out of the way, trust the cashier to give you a second to scoop your groceries out and head to the bagging counter. One Aldi employee and Redditor notes that "... whenever someone doesn't have a cart, I'll put the first person's stuff on the top, and the next person's stuff on the bottom," so there's no confusion as the next customer gets scanned through.
3. It's busy at the bagging counter, so you bag your items as the cashier scans.
On afternoons when the store is especially slammed, even the bagging counter may be covered up with shoppers. If you don't have a cart, you might be tempted to start bagging your items right as they come flying into the cashier's spare cart, just so you can get out of the way. But it's important to realize that Aldi cashiers are in an intense time crunch. Unless you have delicate items, like eggs, they're likely to send your canned tuna and favorite frozen meals into the cart at top speed so you can leave in a jiffy, as one Aldi employee shares.
That means that sticking your arms down into the cart and reaching for that bag of lettuce could end with your hand getting dinged by a can of veggies, and no one wants that. Wait until the employee is done scanning to heave your items into a bag. And if you feel bad being in the way, try to grab an empty cardboard box or case as you shop, so your cashier can toss things into it and you can make a quick getaway.
4. You ask a worker a question when you bump into them … in the freezer case.
You're reaching for a gallon of milk and wondering if the store is out of your favorite coffee creamer when you realize there's an employee right in front of you, restocking the refrigerated items from behind. It's a perfect coincidence—now you won't have to bother a busy associate about your coffee creamer question.
That's a fair point, but trying to chat to the person behind the cold shelves might pose a problem. In a thread of annoying-slash-mortifying customer stories shared by Aldi associates, one employee wrote that it's practically impossible to hear customer questions over the whooshing and whirring of the cooler—so please don't try to shout over it. Just find a different, room-temp employee to ask for help.
5. You don't want to bother anyone, so you use your Tetris skills to get to the seltzer flavor you want.
You're wrapping up your shopping trip when you see it—your favorite LaCroix flavor buried underneath a pile of inferior LaCroix flavors. If you're shorter or not able to lift and move big boxes to get to your flavor of choice, it's tempting to just try and wiggle a box out from somewhere in the middle and hope that the display stays intact. But when everyone takes that approach, sooner or later the display ends up looking like a mismanaged Jenga game, as one Aldi employee notes.
If you have the bad luck of noticing your preferred seltzer option on the bottom of the stack—or you just can't reach the boxes on the top—try asking an employee if they can give you a hand. As one employee notes in the comments: "That's what we're here for."