This Month’s Company I Love: Aldi

Maybe it’s the jealousy over my parents being in Germany for Octoberfest, but I’m loving the German Grocer Aldi recently.

So much so I’ve stopped tweeting at the grocery store. The efficiency of Aldi doesn’t lead to a time-wasting activity such as tweeting while shopping. If I stop in an aisle, I need a purpose. Tweeting isn’t a good enough reason. Too much efficiency.

Aldi is hands down one of the most efficient companies in the world.

The summer of 2005, I was sixteen years old. I pushed carts and bagged groceries at Gerbes all summer. I hate to think my job can be considered meaningless, but there’s no such thing as a cart pusher or bagger at Aldi. The checkers throw the cart and you bag them yourself. And the carts? Ohhh man the carts. Aldi-QuarterForCartSign-2

The quarter-for-a-cart idea might be the best retail idea I’ve ever heard of. There’s a sign that explains it to you outside every store. You pay a quarter for your cart, and when you bring it back, you get your quarter back. You’ll never ever find a shopping cart in a seemingly empty parking space. You’ll never have a teenage worker faint in the summer heat from pushing carts (*cough* me *cough*).

There’s never more than 4-5 workers at one Aldi at one time. This may seem problematic. The check-out lines can get a little long, but I go right after work and Schnucks is no better. I’ve never had to ask an Aldi worker where I can find an item. There’s 4 aisles and you just weave around and get your items and in 20 minutes, you’re done. No wild goose chase. How long does it take you to walk through every aisle of your grocery store? They only carry the essentials, and 90% of the time that’s fine. I’ll go to Schnucks for craft beer or random cooking items when I need to, but Aldi carries only what I need every week or two.

And it’s so cheap. I’ve completely filled my shopping cart many times and have never paid over $70. I’ve literally had to ask the checker before, “Are you serious?”

I refuse to believe the quality is worse than the average grocer. Hell, 90% of Germans  shop at Aldi’s sister store. The prices are cheap because of the efficiency, not the food quality. Believe it.

Aldi. BMW. Octoberfest.

Germans know what they’re doing.

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Is the NFL Fiasco More Like the WWE or the Government?

I think everyone is pretty much on the same page on the Ray Rice story. He’s an animal, and should be fired. He was. NFL players need to better behave themselves. Great. Now let’s continue talking about when Johnny Manziel will start.

Photo: AP

But wait, there’s more. The tape. (Jim Ross voice) OH MAH GAWD THE TAPE! Did Goodell see it? Did he not see it? Does it matter? Who knew? Who hid it? Who killed Kennedy? Why are so many NFL players beating up their loved ones? I don’t know! Pandemonium!!!!!

I thought this was another one-day news story being beat to death by ESPN. Make no mistake – it is. But there’s angles here that play out in our society every day that the media only dared to touch once another and another and another story came out. This is the essence of the culture that American media has created. And it made me realize that there are stunning parallels between this story and two parts of society. Of these two parts, one is important. The other isn’t. One attempts to avoid drama at all costs. The other thrives on it. One’s public face is the American President. The other has a superstar nicknamed “The All American American.”

It’s time to enter the ring, or the debate podium, and figure out if the Ray Rice story belongs in the Government or the WWE! Cue entrance music!

Argument 1: WWE

Was it Hulk Hogan in the locker room with the chair? Or perhaps Triple H in the garage with the sledge hammer? Nope, it was Ray Rice in the elevator with the closed fist and Adrian Peterson with the tree branch. I’m not condoning anything these two did, but that tape literally looked like it was from Monday Night RAW. It’s a serious issue when anyone can compare something that happened in real life to the “fake” WWE, but this has to be something Vince McMahon has written before. Randy Orton has DDT’d Stephanie McMahon – Vince’s own daughter. Not cool in this situation either. At least in the WWE, Stephanie’s husband, Triple H, was attempting to defend her.

I know I lost you there with the wrestling talk. The bottom line is this sort of behavior is the type that should be reserved exclusively for the WWE in staged circumstances. I only wish the tape was in fact a staged event for (maybe somewhat sick) entertainment purposes, where nobody was seriously injured. This isn’t the case. The WWE is certainly where this footage and story belongs. That’s why it’s most similar to the WWE.

Argument 2: The Government

Did Goodell see the tape? Did Obama know about the IRS targeting? How about Bush and 9/11? What happened to the Nixon tapes?

Both the government and the NFL have a monopoly. When you think of monopolies you think about companies in a certain industry. But make no mistake, the NFL and the US Government operate a monopoly. I totally and completely agree that these monopolies should exist and operate in their current state, but the fact remains. Any time you have a monopoly, there is an attempt to curb transparency. The NFL needs to save face just as the government does. Public trust can play a huge role for both of these entities, though neither of which are going away any time soon.

I don’t know if Goodell saw the tape any more than I know who killed Kennedy. What I do know is the NFL has a history of covering things up just as the government does. Concussions becoming an NFL safety issue about two decades late comes to mind. Do I think there’s something Goodell isn’t telling us? Yeah. Do I think it’s world breaking news? I don’t care. I’m used to it.

It’s how they both operate. Saving face then doing back door deals to keep power. It’s the world we live in on Sundays and every day of the week.

(Now I need some back door deals to get done to keep the Rams in St. Louis. C’mon Goodell and Kroenke! I know you can do something!)

Oh yeah and the former FBI Director is investigating the NFL in handling of the case. Parallels people… Parallels…

In conclusion, these stories are sad for so many reasons. There are real victims here unlike the WWE, but the fact that it could be mistaken for a fake wrestling plot is sad in and of itself. We can’t let violence against women and children go on with a 2-game suspension, and we must hold our NFL and government monopolies accountable to our interests as fans and citizens, either at the stadium or at the polling booth.

Winner: Government. The issues are real. Don’t get caught up in the drama-fueled tabloid headlines that TMZ and WWE is successful at manufacturing.

Damn. That post got real. Sorry bout that.