Tag Archives: shopping

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

wonderland.

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stopping by this amazing wonderland of a store

 was like stepping right into willie wonka’s factory

all joy and color

 sweets of every kind and shape and size

old favorites, new delightful unusual treats

happiest place in town

nothing was impossible.

 

 “Mr. Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change color every ten seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips. He can make chewing-gum that never loses its taste, and sugar balloons that you can blow up to enormous sizes before you pop them with a pin and gobble them up. And, by a most secret method, he can make lovely blue birds’ eggs with black spots on them, and when you put one of these in your mouth, it gradually gets smaller and smaller until suddenly there is nothing left except a tiny little dark red sugary baby bird sitting on the tip of your tongue.”

-Roald Dahl, ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’.

 

stuck.

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while shopping at target recently

i found myself in a long, slow, self-checkout line

behind a family of three-

a tired after a long day looking mother

 a perky tween daughter

and a high-energy young son

who was clearly bored and restless.

needing to create something to do

the young son

somehow found a way to

push his head through the middle of the skeleton wreath

that they were waiting to purchase.

 due to the crazy universal law of

‘on is easier than off’

he could not get it

back over his head to take it off again.

first he tried to get it off himself,

then his sister joined in,

when she heard his yelping

mom turned around, sighed, put her things down, and proceeded to help

looking at her wits end

as they patiently worked their way toward the front of the snaking line

continuing to struggle with the skeleton wreath removal project.

when they finally were in the front

mom asked the store clerk if she could scan the wreath while he was still wearing it

and deal with getting it off after they purchased it

she got the go ahead, scanned it on his neck, along with all her other items

and moved out of line.

employees quickly jumped in to help

 with one holding his ears flat,

another tilting the wreath in a variety of positions,

his mother putting lotion on his face

moving his head up and down,

and his sister trying to keep him calm.

when they were finally able to free his head from the wreath

he stopped crying

mom quietly pushed her cart out of the store

her son carrying the wreath

his sister holding his hand

looking like they were all more than ready to head home. 

“there is no panic like the panic when you momentarily feel

when you get your hand or head stuck in something.”

-peter kay

else.

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so much going on

if nothing else

you might never need

to shop anywhere else

so many options

none really appeal to me

maybe because i’m in the

‘& everybody else’ category

maybe it’s something else.

 

“marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.”

~ david packard

to market, to market.

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as i was scanning my groceries

in the self-checkout line

this unusual impulse-buy display was sitting next to me

a combo of giant candy bars and mini bottles of tequila

someone thought this marketing idea

would be a good fit for the market

the perfect mix to send you on your way and start your day off right!

it’s 2020 – what could possibly go wrong?

 

“market like the year you are in!”

-gary vaynerchuck

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

of age.

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not me, but someone in my age range with a similar level of enthusiasm

 

on my maiden voyage

into the world of

the senior grocery shopping hour

60 and up’s

i was

looking raggedy

with the

pallor of someone

who’s done hard time served in quarantine

 i was met at the door 

by a customer helper

who wiped down cart handles

as we each took one

in an orderly way

i was happily headed in

when a worker at the self-checkout

shot me a disdainful dirty look

i chalked it up to her being forced to be here under duress

 i shopped

carefully

moving among the others

mindful of age

and

people with less obvious challenges

trying to be happy and friendly

 as i was getting ready to leave

a fellow shopper approached me

saying,

“they really should check i.d. and you know what i mean!!”

it finally hit me 

that both negative reactions 

came in response to them doubting if i was really a senior

 i had to laugh and take it as a compliment

 thought back to my younger days

when i falsely tried to convince people i was ‘of age’

by using my oldest sister’s license as fake i.d.

funny how things change and stay the same. 

 

“none are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”

-henry david thoreau

 

 

 

image credit: animal planet

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