An ode to ALDI: to experience you is to love you

Photo: WikiCommons
Photo: WikiCommons

Disclaimer: this piece has been written in humble retort to my colleague Adrian Ngiam’s brutal liturgy of hatred against ALDI last semester. I am here to offer my two cents upon the topic, disclosing my personal beliefs regarding ALDI’s majesty, and envisaging an archetypal trek to the badlands where said majestic supermarket is situated. May contain spoilers.

You feel as William the Conqueror must have felt when he won the Battle of Hastings – sweaty, bearded, and, above all, brave. You have overcome adversity in the shape of the fiercely steep Largo Road incline, you have traversed the risky pavement terrain and managed not to wander off that path to enlightenment and into a rumbling Morrisons’ delivery truck. Few have even attempted the journey. Most lost souls choose a shorter pilgrimage – they wander around Tesco, or perhaps even Sainsbury’s – quaintly picking up aesthetically tiny bags of baby spinach and ludicrously small bottles of Alpro soya chocolate milk upon which they dispense what you now know to be needless amounts of money.

However, even you were reticent. Sitting in the centre of town a good half an hour ago, with a heavy heart and an empty fridge, you were one of the unbelievers. You didn’t have the time, you didn’t want to change out of your pyjamas, and quite frankly, you just couldn’t be bothered. But now, your pulse beats strongly in your breast. You are alive. You have arrived at the automatic doors which open into ALDI.

You are at one with the benefits of capitalist supermarket culture, yet also gloriously able to disaffiliate yourself with the evil of the thieving mega-corporation – you are entirely your own individual: a peruser of the aisles, an admirer of frozen delights. You are a thinker, a dreamer – thinking and dreaming of the myriad jacket potato toppings which have now been revealed to you as realistically within your grasp. Several minutes ago, grated cheese did not seem overwhelmingly appealing – but with the revelation that is available for your purchase is a weird gel which promises to taste of the most liberated chillies in all of Mexico, the previously disappointing thought of a lonely cheese topping morphs into a perky one. “Would chives make my jacket potato more appealing?” – you ask yourself – “would they give it a certain edge over other, less sophisticated root vegetable based meals?” But then you realise: at 33p, does anyone really care?

You wear many hats on this expedition – you are, as well as being a peruser of the aisles and an admirer of frozen delights, an explorer charting the unknown: it is just you and your wonky trolley attempting to make sense of the limited cohesion before your eyes. Shamefully, you question the logic of putting baby food next to DIY nacho kits, but you shrug off these culturally indoctrinated thoughts and suppositions because ALDI is a law unto itself, and even though your perfectionist’s need for everything to be orderly twitches in mild discomfort, some deep, dark part of you finds it somewhat beautiful. Long live your disordered aesthetic, ALDI.

It’s chilly: you zip up your coat to your chin and pull your deerstalker over your eyebrows in an attempt to intimidate and perhaps even throw off potential competitors. In the bid for the last two-pack of £1.99 boil in the bag marinated salmon, only the fittest will be victorious. You are magnanimous. You have pence to burn. Will you have that ball of mozzarella for 67p? OF COURSE YOU WILL. Maybe you’ll have two. Or even three, so you can juggle them smugly in the downtrodden faces of your flatmates, weary and burdened with their heavy loads of 5p Tesco bags.

Even the staunchly chemical odour does not deter you from bulk buying large bottles of fabric conditioner for just £1.39 a pop. You’re into the Victorian aesthetic and you quite enjoy a crisp, matronly feel to your clothes, anyway – nothing feels better against the skin than overly starched cotton. And what about the chocolate which looks and tastes more or less like Lindt, but with slightly suspicious undertones?

You entered those automatic doors a windswept warrior of the elements, and now you leave through them – elated and ready afresh to contribute to society and function in an above average capacity in every facet of your life. You are a better individual because you have known and walked those aisles, and plus, you’ve bought meat, fish, and blue cheese, while only spending a grand total of £17.43 on weekly groceries.

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