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I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw this: an Aldi in my new French village! Tucked away in amongst all the boulangeries, brasseries and other things beginning with ‘B’ was this delightful example of German budget-shopping. OK, so it’s actually ‘tucked away’ on a small industrial estate, between lots of trucks and a public toilet, but that doesn’t paint a very pretty picture, so I lied.

 

The interior is just a cosy as the equivalents in the UK i.e: not cosy at all, and in fact very, very grim. They do the job though. Another fantastic similarity to the UK stores is the legendary aisle of crap. So named, by myself and many other Brits, for the random assortment of goods that can be found there. The aisle of crap is always, always located in the middle of the store.

 

But as pictures paint a thousand words, let me take you on a tour of this cultural gem.

 

I will also add words too, so therefore will be painting more than a thousand words per picture. Aren’t I nice?

 

 

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In case you didn’t know, that little bit of French means ‘low prices’. Note presence of an item of Star Wars merchandise. Aldi stores are regularly checked by upper-management in disguise*, if the aisle of crap is found to be lacking in at least 48 different items of Star Wars merchandise, the manager of the store in question is fired on the spot.

 

*Generally a middle-aged man in three quarter-length, khaki shorts, who parks his 4×4 in the ‘parent and child only’ parking space at the front of the store, to make sure he fits in.

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Nothing screams ‘keeping up with trends’ like Halloween decorations in May. Place your bets now, will they still be here this October?

 

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Books that nobody wants to buy are a common theme in the aisle of crap. In the UK it’s generally Lego Annuals that have had their ‘Exclusive’ Lego Figure stolen, and thus are doomed to gather dust till they are incinerated. Here it’s this interesting oddity, with a title that translates as  ‘Football, Champagne and Evening Glitter‘. What does that even mean?

 

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There’s a hint of sunshine in the sky, and you know what that means don’t you? SOLAR LIGHTS!!!!! There are approximately 4,567 variants of these per store. If the quantities ever dip below this figure then the manager of the store – they and they alone – must immediately restock the quantities. They generally do this while the queue – which had been snaking past the tills and up the aisles – heads towards the fire-exit.

 

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Can’t decide between completing a jigsaw puzzle, or putting up some curtains? Well, why should you have to? Here at Aldi, you can do both. So don’t delay, come in today and within mere minutes/hours* you can be sat next to a window, while your freshly purchased curtains blow in the gentle breeze, knocking your half-finished jigsaw all over the floor.

 

*Dependant on queue-length

 

 

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I want a treasure box for the kids’ toys, but I also want to strim the grass…if only the option of finding both of the answers to these quandaries was relatively close together…

 

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Another feature of Aldis-worldwide are the cabinets crammed full of electrical items, with prices that have been plucked from the sky. They occasionally reduce the prices, with equal disregard for any kind of structure:

 

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Yes, just stick a 50 Euro yellow sticker on it, that’ll shift it*

 

*I have never, ever seen anyone buy from one of these cabinets, here or in the UK. I suspect the manager doesn’t actually have a key.

 

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The gap between the…cage/basket/thingies. This achieves two things. 1. It allows you to have a ten-minute stand off with a lady with blue-rinsed hair, who has approached the gap with her trolley at the same time as you, and will not budge to let you through first. and 2. Allows the goods to make the leap from pillows, to car accessories.

 

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Can you think of anywhere else where sets of knives and bed-linen live together in perfect harmony, side-by-side, on their basket/cage/thingies? Oh lord why can’t we?*

 

 

*That noise you just heard was Paul McCartney picking up his phone to call his lawyers.

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‘There’s a bit of space here boss, what should we do with it? Put some more shoes there? Or maybe some insoles?’ ‘Sod that, stick those game packs there for the kids’

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‘Daddy, daddy!’ ‘Yes darling?’ ‘Why is that lady naked?’

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Kill my partner, deck the garden or go on holiday..Kill my partner deck the garden or go on holiday? Choices, choices. Yes if you have ever been struggling with the difficult choice between upgrading your garden/burying your partner under the new decking or going on holiday/disposing of your partner in suitcases then come to Aldi. You can do both here!

 

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And here, at the end of the mockery the legendary Aldi queue awaits you. I know what you are thinking ‘maybe if I just go for my 37th tour of the store all those people will go away’. But they won’t go away, and you know what? More people will come. But they won’t open another till, not till the queue reaches critical mass (90% of people in queue over 70 years of age, and the queue now has its own Facebook page).

 

And they want you to go for another tour of the store, because by that time your resolve will have been weakened. So that swimming pool for 15 Euros? The one you wouldn’t buy before? Your son’s constant whining will have finally eroded your will, and you will take it, from a cage/basket/thingy, from the aisle of crap, and put it in your trolley.

 

Then you take your place in the now even longer queue, and look at all the other unmanned tills.

 

Oh and the manager won’t care, he’s too busy restocking the solar lights.

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