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View Full Version : Where Wal-Mart Failed, Aldi Succeeds - NYT Article



Brian
3-31-11, 12:29pm
Written by person who did light cover on subject but never really shopped in one, wrote a little snarky, implying bare box store brands dressed in confusing packaging... vs higher quality than brand equiv... have my list, but as eg their Muesli I would put up against anything out there, including Alpen hands down at less than half price.
So I chose to look at it from amused stance, as people out there adapt to simpler shopping stripped of over choice, over processed, over priced hype.
Yes they sell frozen ready to eat convenience food, but beside that box of Chicken Kiev, is a 6 lb natural source roaster chicken for .79 pd, everyday price.

Could add more but I do not work for Aldis :)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/business/30aldi.html?src=busln

Kat
3-31-11, 12:48pm
Interesting article! Personally, I love Aldis. It is affordable and for the most part, the quality is good (at least around here). I have heard some people complain about having to bag their own groceries, but I really don't mind that part. I can do it myself and get out of there faster than I can get through one of the three or four checkout lanes open at Walmart.

catherine
3-31-11, 2:06pm
Huh.. I have one not far from my house. I think they tend to be in urban areas (the one I'm thinking of is closer to a city than the suburbs I live in) but I think my anti-consumerist daughter who works for a hunger non-profit is against them for some reason.... I'll have to ask her why--I thought she said they exploit poor urban people but that may have been another grocery store. I shop Trader Joe's, so if this is cheaper and run by the same family... we'll see--might be interesting.

CatsNK
3-31-11, 2:21pm
God, I LOVE Aldi. Love, love, love. It's out of the way for us (requires driving) so we go about once every three weeks and really stock up. Their prices Can Not Be Beat. Thanks for posting this article!

Fawn
3-31-11, 5:18pm
Big Aldi fan here too.

Our local Aldi is advertising jobs starting at 10.50/hr. It's not alot, but comparable to other unskilled jobs around here. I don't know if there are any benefits with the job or not. Local retail and caregiver jobs pay only hourly--no vacation or health insurance.

CatsNK
4-1-11, 1:05pm
My sense is that Aldi's is a pretty good place to work - the employees stay forever - ours has the same cashiers as when the place opened!

The only problem I've ever had there is once we were charged for 13 heads of cauliflower instead of ONE! And this is when were at an Aldi's in another town - we were traveling through on the way home and stopped there... Try getting a refund.

I went to the local store and they told me to write to HQ. I wrote to HQ and they told me to go to the local store. I ended up visiting the local store THREE TIMES before they would give me my money back and even then it was only because I got a little upset at that point. Pretty unorganized, if you ask me, although it was partially my fault as I should have looked at the receipt before I left the store, I guess!

Selah
4-1-11, 2:38pm
I was thrilled to move to a town with an Aldi's. After some initial suspicion, my DH is a complete convert and LOVES Aldi. I applied for a job there, but they had some really strange job requirements, including being ALWAYS available and on-call from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, even if you only got a 40-hr/week job there, just in case they needed you to cover for someone else. In other words, it would be against company policy for you to make any outside commitment of your time, like classes or religious participation...unless, of course, you can find a class that meets between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4:59 a.m.! So although I don't work there, I still enjoy shopping there!

rosarugosa
4-1-11, 7:36pm
Brian, Thanks for sharing; that was an interesting read. There are no Aldi's in my area (Boston suburbs). It sounds like they would be a nice addition to our grocery options if they do ever come here. I've seen a lot of people on these forums say that they love Aldi's, so now I know what they're talking about!

Jinger
4-1-11, 9:23pm
We need an Aldi's in Austin, TX....I so want to shop there.

http://iliketomakethings.blogspot.com

loosechickens
4-2-11, 12:47am
"I was thrilled to move to a town with an Aldi's. After some initial suspicion, my DH is a complete convert and LOVES Aldi. I applied for a job there, but they had some really strange job requirements, including being ALWAYS available and on-call from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, even if you only got a 40-hr/week job there, just in case they needed you to cover for someone else. In other words, it would be against company policy for you to make any outside commitment of your time, like classes or religious participation...unless, of course, you can find a class that meets between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4:59 a.m.! So although I don't work there, I still enjoy shopping there!" (Selah)
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Sadly, in this time with few unions left, and no opportunity to collectively bargain about these conditions, this seems to be the wave of the future. We have a friend who works under similar conditions for one of the big retailers, who reserve the right to call her in whenever they need someone and she must be available. They also think nothing of having her come in at 6 a.m. for three or four hours, then send her home to come back in the late afternoon for the rest of her shift.

I'm afraid that is looking at the future of work in this country, as the pendulum has swung back to many fewer protections for workers, and companies that perfer to see workers as "work units" that they employ as human inventory under a "just in time" strategy, just as they handle product inventory.

But, like our friend, many need the jobs, so they constrain their private lives waiting for the phone call to bring them in at the company's convenience. Sad, huh?

BUT.....behavior like that toward employees helps the company offer those low prices, and we know that everyone is crazy about low prices, so the customer gets the low prices and the employees get not so good treatment, but the company profits are ensured.

Guess you can tell this really kind of bums me out just thinking about it. Sometimes I am glad to have my work years behind me, because it's getting really hard out there. .

Brian
4-2-11, 1:27pm
Loosechickens my experience with Aldis employment is old, but friends who helped roll out a big expansion with them in the 90's spoke highly of their treatment. They pay higher than competitors, have always offered full medical, partial dental, more than legally required vacation time (EU model) and a 401K plan that is closer to Lowes and far away from Walmart... well now that Walmart actually has one.
Also they still generally employ full time where most of their competitors are ditching full timers and capping at 32 hours or less to avoid medical and pension contributions. They rotate staff positions so no one does one job all the time and managers, for the size of the stores, get paid rather well or at least did so 10 years ago. They def expect service levels from staff and some "get the job done" vs clock watchers. I have never met at Aldis the strata of help seen at some min wage hell hole retailers. Really I do not work there nor am related to the Albrecht's. :)

http://www.aldiuscareers.com/opportunities/index.html?WT.z_src=main employment details if of interest...found it but did not read as doc crunching day here.

loosechickens
4-2-11, 1:52pm
That's good to know, Brian. They, I think, are owned by the large family trust that also owns Trader Joe's, so that really doesn't surprise me, although the two businesses have vastly different niches and missions.

It's just that many, if not most of the big chains, especially now that they have fewer obstacles to do so, are looking at human inventory in the same way they look at product inventory, only having it in the stores exactly when needed, kind of the "just in time" system that has proven to be profitable in managing product inventory. So it's no wonder that chains are realizing that they can get the same kinds of savings by treating the "human inventory" in the same "just in time" way. It helps them provide low prices to the customers, but employees who have to be "on call" for many, many more hours than they are working, plus must be ready to run to the store when needed with a moment's notice really affect quality of life for the workers.

It's much the same way in white collar jobs now that often expect all employees to be instantly reachable by phone, Blackberry or computer and to do company work at any moment it is needed, even if they are home, socializing, etc.

It's the wave of the future, for sure. At least it sounds as though Aldi's is making an effort in other areas. I'm glad to hear that. Thanks for your information.

Yppej
4-2-11, 2:25pm
Rosa, there is one in Milford MA and I think one in Raynham area also. Milford is new within the past year, so one may come to your area eventually. The one in Milford had a help wanted sign when I was there for $11.50 per hour which I think is good if you're a new, unskilled worker (like teens) as it's well above minimum wage.

rosarugosa
4-2-11, 9:38pm
Yppej, Hey, good to see you! :) Yes, it sounds like they might soon be making their way here. Although I hate the sound of that constant on-call requirement of their employees; I cannot imagine living like that. I try to be more mindful of voting with my wallet these days. We do pretty much all of our grocery shopping at Stop & Shop, which is a unionized grocery store. And interestingly enough, we shop there because we prefer the store - we like the location, selection, produce, and gas discounts.

rosarugosa
4-2-11, 9:41pm
PS: If you're a part-timer teen worker, surely you can't be on call all day, every day, ready to bolt from your high school classes if needed at the store?? $11.50 is indeed a good wage for unskilled labor, but there are limits!

Never Again
4-2-11, 10:10pm
Rosa, there is one in Milford MA and I think one in Raynham area also. Milford is new within the past year, so one may come to your area eventually. The one in Milford had a help wanted sign when I was there for $11.50 per hour which I think is good if you're a new, unskilled worker (like teens) as it's well above minimum wage.

Wow I had heard that they were moving in to CT but I had no idea that they were her in MA. Just checked their website and it shows stores in Hadley, Milford, Raynham, Springfield and Worcester. I will definitely have to take a look soon.