What Aldi can teach us about common courtesy!

Our household has had to trim its cloth over recent years, just like practically everyone else. As a result, we stopped shopping in the local Waitrose and we go a couple more miles down the road to Aldi.

The first thing that struck me when we started shopping there was that it felt like failure. Why were we shopping in a discount store? But hang on a minute, it has been our supermarket of choice for years when holidaying in Spain. If it’s good enough for the holidays, surely it’s good enough for the other 50 weeks a year?

The second thing that I noticed was how no one made eye contact, it was if everyone was in self denial that they were in the store. That feeling is no more, and you see all sorts of people shopping in there, and all sorts of cars in the car park. I guess the ultimate was seeing the parents of two of my daughters’ class mates shopping in Aldi the other week. Nothing strange about that, except when you know that he owns 4 McDonalds franchises!

But, there has also been something peculiar about the whole Aldi shopping experience. We know they keep their prices down by a number of tactics, including only have three or four checkouts, and only ever staffing a couple of them. This means the checkout can sometimes take as long as the wandering of the aisles. It’s the price you pay for paying a lower price.

How often is it that the person ahead of you in the queue looks at your basket and asks if you want to go ahead of them? And of course, in the true community sense of passing it forward, you end up doing the same for others.

Has that ever happened to you in Waitrose, Sainsbury or Tesco when you were shopping? I offered someone in Waitrose (emergency late night shop) the option of going ahead of me the other day. They thought I was mad!

The weird thing is, it happens in the Aldi in Santa Pola, Spain as well.

What is it about the Aldi (or for that matter Lidl) shopping environment that encourages mass courtesy amongst it’s shoppers? Who knows, but I sincerely hope that it causes an outbreak of common courtesy to spread out into other aspects of our lives.

Image Copyright Aldi UK


  1. Hi David,

    Back when I lived in the U.K. for a while I was in a situation where it was convenient to use both Waitrose and Kwik Save.

    The clientele, and cashiers tended to be somewhat lacking in humour and seemed to have little time for others at Waitrose, whereas in Kwik Save it was all “Hello Ducks, if that all you’ve got – jump ahead love, I’m in no hurry’. The cashiers were great too.

    It’s a class thing!

    To my mind those at Waitrose thought they had class, but didn’t – and those at Kwik Save had class in abundance, indeed they tended to be as salt of the earth.