The Aldi checkout process can be intimidating to newbies, and even to some regular Aldi shoppers. How do you pay? Do you bag your own groceries? Why do the cashiers go so fast? Am I unloading my groceries too slowly?
If you go into Aldi prepared and knowing what to expect, your shopping trip should go smoothly and easily, and you’ll appreciate all the money you have saved and all the great products you’ve found.
Here are Aldi Reviewer’s top tips for surviving the Aldi checkout line:
- If the line is long, don’t worry. Aldi cashiers move lines along quickly, so even if it looks like it will take forever to check out, it never does. Aldi also is quick to open a new lane or two when lines get long. Even at the busiest times, Aldi will get you through the checkout process way faster than Walmart. Trust me.
- Load your heaviest items onto the conveyor belt first, followed by the lightest items. It’s going to be fine if you don’t load your groceries onto the belt this way. It’s just a helpful technique, because after Aldi cashiers pick up your items from the conveyor belt and scan them, they will load them into a waiting cart. Cashiers do this quickly, and they try to be careful with fragile items. I’ve never had problems with them squashing delicate items like produce or bread, but when I remember to do so, I feel it’s probably helpful to load the heavy milk jug and canned goods onto the belt before I load the berries or the cilantro. But sometimes I’m in a hurry, or my kids are helping, and things get loaded onto the belt with no rhyme or reason, and it’s okay.
- Load items onto the conveyor belt quickly. Again, because Aldi cashiers scan your groceries fast, you’ll want to be quick when you move items from your cart to the belt. If you can’t keep up with the cashier, though, don’t worry too much about it. Just move as efficiently as you can, and don’t stress.
- Don’t crowd fellow shoppers who are ahead of you in line. While speed is important, make sure you give the person ahead of you enough time to load all of their groceries onto the belt before you begin loading your own items. Also remember to not stand too close while the person ahead is conducting their credit or debit card transaction, including entering their PIN. Fellow Aldi shoppers are generally a friendly bunch, but no one likes having their personal space invaded or their groceries squished. Practice good etiquette and leave a bit of room.
- Make sure you have bags or boxes. Aldi employees do not bag groceries. You’ll do that yourself after the checkout process at a special bagging shelf near the cash registers. Aldi also does not provide bags free of charge. Most shoppers bring their own reusable bags, but you also can purchase paper bags, reusable plastic bags, or reusable canvas bags for a small cost. If you didn’t bring your own bags and you don’t want to purchase bags, often you can find large empty boxes out on the selling floor, and these are free for you to take and use. These are the same boxes that merchandise is shipped and displayed in, and when they empty out, they are fair game for customers looking for ways to carry their Aldi treasures. Take whatever boxes you need, and when you get home you can flatten them and place them in your recycling bin or compost bin.
- Don’t try to bag your groceries at the checkout. Unless you have a small amount of groceries, this just is not practical because cashiers scan items so quickly. If you are buying a large load of groceries, you won’t be able to keep up, and that might result in unhappy customers in the line behind you.
- Have your payment method in hand after your groceries have been loaded onto the belt and scanned. Aldi accepts cash, debit cards, credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and EBT. They don’t accept personal checks or WIC. You can usually insert your credit or debit card into the machine to begin the transaction while the cashier is still scanning your items.
- Take your cart to the bagging shelf to bag your groceries. A bagging area is located near the cash registers, and you can push your cart to this area and take as much or as little time to bag and organize your groceries before leaving the store. Some people like to bag all frozen items together, all refrigerated items together, and so on, to make it easier to unload at home. I’m not always that organized.
- Grab an ad on your way out the door. Aldi often has paper ads for the following week’s ALDI Finds (Special Buys) located in a stand near the exit door. If you want to see what’s coming soon, grab a flyer, or you can view specials on Aldi’s website.
- Return your cart. After you load your bagged groceries into your vehicle, don’t forget to return your cart to the corral and get your quarter back, or you can pass your cart on to another customer who is getting ready to shop. If you pass your cart to another customer, they will give you their quarter. Or you can spread a bit of goodwill and pass the cart along for free, which is a common occurrence at Aldi stores. The choice is up to you and either way is considered acceptable.
What are your tips for making the Aldi checkout process quick and painless? Let us know in the comments.