To Aldi, mit Liebe

Today in Slate I took a break from educational muckraking (don’t worry, this week’s edu-column is INSANE; you’ll have to read it to believe it; it’s almost all reporting, too, because the story is so bananas it tells itself), to extol the virtues of my favorite giant chain store (yes, I have one! Socialist me is a secret Capitalist!): ALDI. An Aldi recently opened on the corner of Kingshighway and Delmar in St. Louis–so a long walk/short bike ride/nonexistent drive from my house!–and my life has not been the same, because $2.50 cartons of Belgian truffles, and $0.20 bars of German chocolate. But the real reason I love Aldi–and it’s a complex love, because I realize the Albrecht family doesn’t need any more money–is that it’s brought some of my most beloved German grocery-shopping practices Stateside, and I hope they catch on.

Once a month I will be contributing to Slate’s culture blog, BrowBeat, usually writing about stuff that has to do with Germany, Austria, literature, even my very best friend TV (!!!), to give me a leeeetle break from all the higher-ed screeds. This is my first such contribution.

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4 thoughts on “To Aldi, mit Liebe

  1. My favorite bit is that not only was Theo Albrecht kidnapped he apparently spent the two weeks negotiaing his ransom down and the when released, wrote the 7M off on his taxes as a business expense.

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  2. “…These are standard practices at even upscale German Supermärkte, so high-end groceries are cheaper relative to other goods than they are here. …” THAT’S IGNORANT NONSENSE! The apparent RELATIVE price differences between “groceries” and “other goods” is DUE TO 7% VAT tax on food – versus 19% VAT on most other categories of “goods!” Attributing it to Aldi’s smart “cost-saving” approach to retailing groceries is the mark of yet another academic who looks for rationale to justify foregone conclusions, rather than collecting ALL relevant factual data before sharing the pomposity.

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    1. Yeah…you realize in most states in ‘Murka we pay a 6-8% sales tax other shit, and a 0% sales tax on food, which is a difference of…about 4-5% between us and them (on food/non-food things). That certainly contributes, but another thing that contributes is that grocery stores operate on a different model that saves costs, including more generic brands, and fewer employees. Another thing that contributes is that Germany sells far more German-made goods than we do US-made goods, and their labor laws mean that manufactured stuff is necessarily more expensive.

      I never said the grocery-store model was the only thing that saves money; I just said it was one of them. Sorry I couldn’t do a full economic analysis in 600 words for Slate’s culture blog, though, and here’s some pomposity: get bent, prick. I’m moderating all your future comments out, so don’t even bother replying to this one.

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