German market Aldi comes to the OC

Thursday, April 21 was their official grand opening in Buena Park, so Stephen and I went to check out Aldi’s on Saturday morning.  Located across the street from the Buena Park Mall, a few doors down from Michaels and PetSmart is this new German-owned Grocery chain, who also owns Trader Joe’s.

Their set up is pretty much like their German counterpart… if you want a shopping cart you insert a quarter in the lock to release a cart (you get the quarter back when you return the cart).  The aisles are not fancy, and there’s shelves and shelves of products, most of which are in their cardboard boxes.

The prices are very competitive. Like Trader Joe’s, they carry their “own” brand of food items. So if you like National Brand Names, chances are this is not the place for you.  You will, however find some commercial brands like Oscar Mayer or Cheerios, but mostly it’s generic items which look “very close to” the National brand.

I really liked their produce selection, and the prices were very good. The price of eggs were unreal!  We found a lot of items which were made in Austria or had German influence, and we also found a good amount of Hispanic food (which you won’t find in Europe!).

They gave out samples of their food, and had a “seasonal” aisle which had everything from shoes to patio furniture to cookware.

Even the check out was like Aldi in Germany.
– You bring your own bag (or buy one for 10c to 15c, depending on the bag),
– the clerk rings up your groceries and puts them back in the cart.
– You wheel the cart to the counter against the wall and bag your own stuff.  Or.. wheel your stuff to the car and bag it there. Then return your cart to get your quarter back.

As part of the Grand Opening celebration, customers were given a huge Aldi reusable bag.

Overall I was pleased with the store.  It is not quite like the defunct Fresh and Easy, where I could get premade food to quickly make at home, but its definitely not a big retail market.  It’ll take a little getting used to, but I’m in for the new challenge.

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