The Emotional Ups and Downs of Being an Aldi Shopper

One of the big attractions of shopping at Aldi is the variety of cool, unique stuff the store advertises. In addition to everyday low prices on regularly stocked staple items such as food and toiletries, it’s great fun to see what sorts of specials Aldi will rotate in on a limited-time basis.

If you’ve shopped at Aldi for any length of time, you know the thrill of picking up that paper advertising flyer or skimming the online ad and seeing that one item you just have to have. It could be a pool, an Advent calendar, a unicorn or dinosaur sprinkler, a patio set, a rug, keto ice cream, or cauliflower crust pizza. It could be anything, really.

So you make plans to visit Aldi the week that the ad goes into effect. Even better, you go to Aldi on the exact day that the new ad starts (depending on your location, that’s usually either Sunday or Wednesday), and you arrive first thing in the morning so you can get the best pick.

And, your coveted item is nowhere to be seen. You leave the store without that one thing you had gotten your hopes up about.

You’ve just experienced one of the emotional ups and downs of being an Aldi shopper. Fortunately, this doesn’t usually happen often, but highs and lows like this can sometimes come with the Aldi shopping territory.

If you have your heart set on buying a certain product and you can’t find it in your local store(s), there are usually three reasons why:

1. It could be a hiccup in the supply chain, and your store(s) didn’t get the item at all.

This is rare, in my experience. The only time I recall something like this affecting me was when Aldi advertised a tumbling compost bin a few years ago, and none of my local stores ever received it, although people living in other parts of the U.S. said they found them in their stores. The compost bins showed up in the Aldi ad again a year later, and that time I was able to find them in my stores. I’m not sure why availability was spotty that first year, though.

On a different note, I’ve had friends insist their Aldi stores don’t get everything from the ads, but I sometimes suspect the reality is that these friends don’t visit Aldi at the right times when those products are scheduled to hit shelves; they might be visiting a week later, for example, and by that time the item has sold out.

2. It could be a delay in shipping the item to the store.

This does not happen frequently, but it also is not uncommon. We saw this with a rotary shaver. Also, several years ago, I wanted to get a Star Wars shirt for my daughter that was advertised in the Aldi flyer. I went to several different Aldi stores several times the week it was supposed to arrive, with no luck anywhere. My husband, who helped me hunt for the shirt, asked an employee about it, and he was told the shirts had not arrived yet because of some sort of delay in shipping. We kept checking Aldi periodically. Eventually, the shirts showed up at least a week later than scheduled, and we scored one. (We happened to be on vacation at the time and stopped at an Aldi in the area we were passing through.)

3. It could be such a popular item that it quickly sold out.

This is happening more often with certain products. It seems that the current pandemic has increased demands for certain items, including anything that makes your home and/or yard more enjoyable to spend time in, such as pools and patio furniture. It also can be attributed to the increasing popularity of Aldi fan groups on social media. We call them superfans. Group members get excited about certain products in the ads, and the hype snowballs on social media, stoking desire in people who might not otherwise be interested in the product.

We’ve seen the superfan dilemma not only with limited-time Aldi Finds, but also with certain year-round Regular Buy products that gain a cult following, including breaded chicken breast fillets and chocolate peanut butter cups.

The most recent Aldi Finds I saw get snatched up quickly were some giant unicorn and dinosaur sprinklers. The items were extremely popular, but we also saw reports on social media that Aldi stores had set the sprinklers out exceptionally early, often multiple days before they were scheduled to hit shelves.

In many other cases I can recall, though, the products hit shelves on the date they were advertised to do so, and superfans simply swooped in and bought them up. Examples include zero net carbs bread, beer and wine Advent calendars, heart-shaped pizza, keto ice cream, and even runner rugs. Sometimes it’s easy to predict that an item will be popular, such as with the Advent calendars. Other times, it seems random, such as with the rugs. It certainly keeps Aldi on its toes.

Closing Thoughts

Despite some of the challenges I periodically face in finding certain Aldi specials, I’m still a loyal shopper. That’s because probably 99% of the time, I’m able to find what I’m looking for. Aldi does not dash my hopes often, and I’ve gotten all kinds of cool stuff over the years, ranging from desks to gliders to swings, from greenhouses to raised garden beds to house plants, and also Christmas trees, Christmas train sets, jackets, ice cream, pizza snacks, and more.

It can be a little bit like Black Friday every week at Aldi, with must-have products and competitive low prices, and keeping track of it all does take some mental space. I’ve learned that it’s okay to get excited about upcoming products, but that it’s also healthy to hold onto the idea loosely, because other forces may be in play when it comes to actually getting your hands on certain products, whether it’s supply chain hiccups or masses of eager Aldi superfans. If I’m not able to get my hands on a certain product, I remind myself that it’s just stuff and ultimately probably not that important. I might see if I can find a similar product elsewhere, or I might just wait until the next time Aldi brings that product into stores, usually the following year.

Maybe it’s easier for people who shop at regular grocery stores because they don’t deal with these same highs and lows. They always know what is going to be in stock. But shopping at Aldi keeps life interesting and rewarding. So I’m willing to take the ups and downs because, more often than not, it comes with a great payoff.

About Rachael

Rachael is the Senior Editor for Aldi Reviewer. When she isn't busy shopping at Aldi, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and collecting house plants. You can learn more about her at www.rachaelsjohnston.com.

One Comment

  1. Thank you for your insightful article. I look at the ad every Wednesday morning and make my list, then I’m at Aldi at 9:00 to pick up the items for “this week”. I did miss out on the adorable kiddie pool with slide, but got everything else in my list. 🙂

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