Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aldi Discount Grocery Store Now Open in Bowie

I previously posted about the Aldi discount grocery chain opening a store in Bowie's Hilltop Plaza in the old Magruder's location. The store opened on Monday, December 14th, and I stopped in two days later to take a look around.

Roofers were still working on the building, and other construction was still taking place at the liquor wine and spirits store next door.

Aldi requires customers to deposit a refundable quarter to use a shopping cart. Instructions and reasons for the system are posted on the front of the building.

A close up of the cart system. You have to insert a quarter to release the last cart from the cart in front of it. You have to attach your cart to the next cart to get your quarter back. Don't you just love German engineering? I'm already trying to think of ways to beat the system. I do try to teach my kids to put things back where they found them, but this feels too rigid. I guess I must be a hypocrite.

This deposit system, however, probably does avoid scenes like this shopping cart mess that I saw on The Abbot of Unreason blog.

This is the view that greets you as you enter Aldi. There's only one way to go. Even if you want to pick up something in the front of the store, you're going to have to walk all the way to the back of the store first.

Product is stacked in cardboard boxes. Rather than taking something off a shelf, you're taking something out of a box. Experienced Aldi shoppers recommend stocking up on items that you like. Products that are available this week may not be available next week.

I spoke with a shopper in the store who told me that her daughter's technique is to shop Aldi first for the discount items, and then supplement your grocery shopping with a trip to Giant or Safeway.

This is just about the lowest price that I've seen for bottled water.

I was told that the store sells Aldi brand products almost exclusively. That is true, but Aldi disguises that fact by creating realistic sounding brand names. If you read the Aunt Maple's Original Syrup label, you'll see that it's distributed by Aldi, Inc.

Dakota's Pride is another Aldi brand. Sounds like an appropriate brand name for chili beans.

...and Las Mas Ricas Mexican food products. I saw Other Aldi brand products like Rodeo Bill Chips, Clancy Party Mix, Millville brand cereals and Tate's Ketchup (not catsup). If you want to buy ketchup or yellow mustard at Aldi, your only choice is Tate's.

Aldi does carry some name brand products. I think it would be impossible to create a cheaper product to compete with Ramen noodles.

Aldi seems to know where to compete and where not to compete. There are no Aldi brand equivalents to Skittles, Milky Way, Snickers and Kit Kat. Aldi also carries Pringles.

A view of the frozen food department. Aldi also sells bread, dairy products and produce. The produce department has basic items. You'll have to shop elsewhere for more exotic produce.

Miscellaneous items can be found for sale in the center of the store. Who wouldn't want to wake up Christmas morning to find an electric stove heater from Aldi under the tree?

I didn't buy anything on this trip to Aldi. I heard that cash and debit cards are the only acceptable form of payment. Bring your own bags to avoid having to purchase bags from Aldi.

Aldi seems to be the kind of store that you either love or hate. If you love hunting for bargains, you may like Aldi. If you like a little more pizazz in your grocery shopping, you may hate it.

6810 Race Track Road, Bowie, MD 20715

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  1. Living in Ireland, we regularly shop at Aldi here in Dublin. We are about to go to Crofton next Sunday (visit to my In-Laws who told us about the new Aldi store in Bowie). I tried to see on your pictures if the products were the same...we will probably go and have a look.

  2. Lauréole, thanks for visiting the site! I hope you enjoy your vacation to the U.S. Please stop by the site and leave a comment after your trip. I'm interested in hearing about the differences between Aldi in Bowie and Dublin.

  3. I find this article very interesting & eye opening for me...You did a wonderful job with this blog. I was shocked to learn that there is an Aldi in Bowie. I personally thought it was located in Lo income areas....You showed me a thing or two lol...Thanks

  4. You seem to be really down on Aldi's. I guess I'm a bargain hunter, and not tied to "having" to have name brand items. Why buy into all that commercialism?

  5. I recently visited this ALDI. I felt like I was in the original ALDI in Germany! Even found lots of German products! I wish ALDI was in more states! It's a great place to find great deals! I'm a big fan!

  6. Hi mike. I am trying to contact a recruiter by the name of David. I recently attended a aldis career fair, and David called me, but i missed the call. Please help me return his phone call. Thank you