Tuesday, September 03, 2013

We heart Aldi's

 Stan and his nephew, Steve, love shopping for groceries at Aldi's, the no frills little store a few blocks away from Steve's condo on Lake Street. The deals are spectacular (they boast that they're "impossible") -- you can get a basket of fresh groceries at very fair prices -- and the people watching never disappoints, but our favorite feature is the quirky shopping cart security system.
When you come into the store, you free up a chained cart by slipping a quarter into its lock. That quarter stays locked in the cart as you trundle through the store, through the check out and into the parking lot. You can't get your quarter released until you return the cart to where you found it and lock it up for the next shopper.
From what we can tell, this simple little two-bit idea works. You don't see any loose, abandoned carts in the parking lot, vulnerable to theft, with an employee rounding them up.
And the best part -- when cheapskate Stan or Steve pushes the cart back to its original position to redeem the shiny quarter, it feels like getting a little parting bonus -- even though it's just your own darn quarter coming back to you.
Genius, I tell ya. Genius.
The amazing shopping cart security system.
See the quarter? Can't have it yet. Put that cart back where you found it!

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