A few short weeks ago, I met up with a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while. As the conversation turned to our plans for later that day, I casually rattled off the rest of my to-do list. After leaving our meet up, I would swing by the hardware store and then stop at the grocery store. Totally typical, right? The problem is I called the grocery store by name: Aldi. That’s when the conversation took a turn for the awkward:
Friend: Wait, Aldi?
Me: Uh huh.
Friend: But you’re not poor.
Caught totally off guard and more than a little offended for a variety of reasons, my mind flashed back to the old Twix commercials. You know the ones. Someone has just done something totally awkward and they need to buy themselves time to think. Twix to the rescue. Just stuff your face full delicious chocolately, carmely goodness and chew. Finding myself sans Twix, I did what I do best.* I laughed it off and stammered something about how it was on my way home and the checkout lines always move really fast. Then, I casually redirected the conversation to the remainder of her day.
Every week, I stop at Aldi. Inevitably, that conversation replays in my mind. I love Aldi. I can get inexpensive organic produce (organic bananas for $0.69/pound), stock up on all natural or organic cooking staples (organic diced tomatoes for $1.49), and refill my cupboards with other healthy items ($1.49 for natural peanut butter). Even if my store is crowded, the cashiers are the most efficient scanners ever.** And I never have to worry about some dufus piling canned goods on top of eggs or bread.*** Seriously, I could wax poetic about the low prices on healthy items that fit within my budget and their energy-saving methods all day. But I still wasn’t sure what to say to my friend.
Then an idea came to me. The next time she came over, we shared a bottle of Riesling. She raved about it. I simply smiled as I refilled her glass and said, “It’s from Aldi.” I like to think that her mind opened a bit as her glass emptied.
This conversation really stayed with me, because I find it is so fascinating that we, as a society, can be so quick to judge people who keep a budget or monitor their spending. As if only people who are in debt should spend strategically. As if we shouldn’t all be mindful of our money. You know what else? I’ll take my grocery budget and my cheap wine over extra debt and added stress any day.
*Besides eat chocolate. And memorize chocolate commercials.
**Seriously, is someone timing them? Do they get prizes?
***Unless that dufus is me.
So Tell Me…Are you an Aldi shopper? Have you ever met someone who was averse to discount grocery shopping? Or mindful spending?