Category Archives: shop

aisle of shame.

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Aldi shoppers are not birds, but they sometimes sound like they are.

meet the proud shoppers of aldi’s ‘aisle of shame.’ this aisle has its own subculture and fan club.
(the ‘caw’ sound you may hear is one fan calling to another)

The “Aisle of Shame” is the unofficial name Aldi enthusiasts have given the store’s middle aisle, home to a weekly rotation of curious edible and non-edible products available only while supplies last. We’re talking everything from vegan lasagna made from lentils to a churro maker and apple cinnamon latte-flavored dog biscuits. The recipe for the Aisle of Shame’s surprising cult status combines the joy of a bargain, the thrill of discovery, the allure of the unusual, and the satisfaction of snapping up a limited-time offer.

“It’s something that you can use to express yourself and add fun and joy to your grocery shopping,” says enthusiastic  shopper Brenna Bazemore of its odd assortment of products. “I hate grocery shopping, but I love to go to Aldi and shop, because I know I’m at least going to get something that I can use outside of food and that’s always exciting to me.”

Plus, she can share her excitement with a million other AOS fans in the Facebook group where members share more than recipes, reviews, and Insta-worthy pics. With an evolving lingo, hashtag trends, and a propensity for random acts of kindness, the Aisle of Shame community is a unique food culture inspired by a grocery store. The Aisle of Shame’s edible advent calendars contain beer, cheese, and more. “It started as a fan group and it has become so much more,” writes Stefanie Fleming, the creator of the  Aisle of Shame website and Facebook group.

While each week’s AOS items can often seem like a compilation of randomness, a method exists. Since Aldi keeps prices low by stocking about 1,400 products (mostly staples) compared to a conventional grocery store’s 40,000, the AOS introduces more excitement and variety for shoppers. The aisle, which each week is split 50-50 between edible and non-edible items, often has a theme, whether seasonal (pumpkin foods in the fall; pool products in the summer) or regional (many AOS enthusiasts plan meals of schnitzel, spätzle, and strudel around the aisle’s German Week). Nils Brandes, a retail consultant who has co-written a book on Aldi’s business strategies, estimates that 20 percent of all yearly sales come from these products.

The Aisle of Shame is also where the grocers test new products to gauge their popularity—the vegetarian and vegan Earth Grown and gluten-free LiveGfree product lines, for instance, advanced from the AOS to the main aisles. “It’s crazy to think this is a grocery-store community,” Bazemore says.

After some thought, McKillip observes that Aldi shoppers might be more down-to-earth, their need to make a dollar stretch giving them both a healthier perspective about the products and more joy when they have room in their carts and budgets for the AOS’s more quirky products. Ultimately, though, she offers a simpler explanation: “It’s fun.”

“you’ve got bad eating habits if you use a grocery cart in 7-eleven.”

-dennis miller

credits: gastro obscura, sara murphy, photo: stella murphy

let (a few of) them eat cake!

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when reading the day’s news online

there were the expected headlines/updates/graphs:

scotus decision

virus numbers updates

calls for mayor’s resignation

protest marches continue

doctors’ opinions

iran’s decision

cruise ship passengers awaiting refunds

election polls

presidential tweets

to wear a mask or not?

europe’s reopening

and then in huge letters:

COSTCO STOPS SELLING HALF-SHEET CAKES

what?

why is this a story?

why is this a bigger-font-size-worthy story?

what is the story?

here’s the story and it’s an odd logic.:

The past few months have been chaotic for Costco customers, with product shortages, long lines and the temporary elimination of free food samples. Now, it appears there’s another change for devoted shoppers: Costco has eliminated the iconic half-sheet cakes that are the centerpiece of graduation and birthday parties.

Costco has quietly stopped selling the $20 half-sheet cakes across its US stores for the past month, instead pointing people toward its 10-inch round cakes and other assorted baked goods.

“To help limit personal contact and create more space for social distancing, Costco has reduced service in some departments,” the company explained to outraged customers on its Facebook account. 

Costco confirmed to CNN Business it’s not selling the half-sheet cakes anymore and it has “no immediate plans” to bring it back. A spokesperson added that its 10-inch round cakes “seem to be resonating with our members.”

The decision also coincides with a recommendation from several US states and health agencies to avoid or prohibit large gatherings in light of Covid-19. Half-sheet cakes feeds around 50 people, while its 10-inch round cake serves around a dozen.

my interpretation: apparently the thought is that if you don’t have a big cake, you will not have a big celebration, where people will gather around the big cake in a big group. if you have more pieces of cake, you will then invite more people to go with it. what if you just bought a few round cakes, couldn’t you invite the same amount of people and just cut from the round cakes, or would that discourage you from inviting more guests as you’d have to then open more than one box? what about people just deciding to socially distance themselves without the cake being the deciding factor? just wondering, or is this that devil math at play once again? does it come down to having to match ratios, person to piece, and not have any leftover cake to eat for breakfast? i  knew i should have listened in school. 

“cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness!

If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”

-c. joyBell c.

 

 

 

credits: cnn business

playing chicken.

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as merely an observer of the event

I’d have to guess

that she when she arrived at the store

 perhaps with the intention

of buying a tea towel

she did not plan to leave

with a giant metal chicken

and may have even worried

that if she did not buy it today

someone else might come along

and find

they too could not live without it

one day longer.

life is funny that way.

 

‘buying involves decision-making.

it’s a performance activity, like sports or acting.’

-mark goulston

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