I dropped by the new ALDI supermarket on Putney Road today. The place was buzzing with people checking out products and prices, and staff were getting used to working in a new building. I had two immediate impressions of the supermarket.
First, the prices were low. Very low. Other supermarkets in the area should be worried about losing people looking for lowest prices. ALDI means business and appears ready to compete.
How low? Can of black beans was 59 cents. Bottles of wine under $5. Chicken breasts for $2.69 a pound. Pineapples for $1.29 each. Milk was $2.29 a gallon. And so on. Anyone looking to pay less will be in here.
The second impression was that I was on the set of a movie. While all of the products looked familiar, they were all different. It was as if a movie designer had gone through a supermarket and copied the look and feel of all the various products to avoid showing “’real” products in the film. Kiplings lives on.
There are boxes that look like Triscuits, but they aren’t. There are packages that look like Oreo’s, but under another name. The sugared cereals all look like ones you’ve seen before, but they have very slight alterations to the packaging to reveal that they are other brands. The pasta box looks like Barilla’s, but isn’t.
Now, I’m used to generic packaging, and even knock-off brands, but this was wonderfully weird in the completeness of the illusion. They matched fonts, colors, sizes and shapes of lots of other brands for the in-house brand rather than stick with a single ALDI mark on everything. It was both familiar and disorienting.
There are a few name brands. I did see Coke for about a dollar for 2 liters.
There are boxed foods, canned foods, vegetables, meats, cheeses, dairy, and frozen items. They also have some appliances for sale (much like a drugstore sells coffee makers). A small version of something like Sam’s popcorn maker can be purchased, for example.
Overall, it’s clean, bright, and new, and the employees seemed to be happy and helpful on day one.
Did you drop by? What do you think?