Married to the Empire

Friday, July 13, 2012

How To Create a Loyal Customer

I've mentioned before that I'm struggling here in Bartlesville to find a grocery store I really like.  One is too expensive (although I like it a lot), one is kind of yucky and has a poor selection, and one is just too far away to make a regular place. 

And then there's ALDI.

I'd read for years on various blogs that ALDI is great for saving money and has good-quality items, even if it's inexpensive and bare bones.  So when we moved here, I gave it a try.  Truthfully, if I hadn't read so much online about how great the store is, I likely wouldn't have given it a second try.  On first glance, it doesn't look very worth one's while.  But I dove in and started trying things. 

I like it.  I like it a lot, actually.  Here are a couple of reasons:



If you'll notice the little circle to the right in the first picture, you'll see that it says, "No MSG."  The second pic shows candy with all-natural food coloring, meaning no Red 40 dye.  MSG and Red 40 are both migraine triggers.  When shopping cheaper stores, one doesn't expect to find products without chemicals, and yet, ALDI has tons of products that I can eat.  That's huge for me, especially considering I'd often pay twice the price of the above pictured for all-natural licorice at Sprouts or Whole Foods. 

I don't find a huge taste difference in ALDI's products from name brand.  Their corn chips aren't a dead ringer for Fritos, but it's pretty darned close.  Their version of Cheez-its?  No difference in taste whatsoever.  And yes, my husband and I compared. 

Okay, their paper towels are lousy.  Just saying. 

But here's what really made me a loyal customer: they actually respond to complaints and do something about them.  A couple of weeks ago I went to the store, and I was frustrated that I couldn't access any carts with non-broken baby straps.  If you're not aware, ALDI chains their carts together, and you have to pay a quarter to get one out.  You get your quarter back when you return your cart.  I have no problem with that system.  I had a problem with the fact that the few carts I could see with non-broken straps were way back in the cart queue, and I would have had to have a pile of quarters out and no baby in my arms to pull out cart after cart to get to one of them. 

I held onto Alex, who wants to move constantly these days, while I shopped.  But I needed both hands to unload my cart.  I couldn't hold onto him while I did that.  While I unloaded, my kid nearly fell out of the cart twice.  Had I not been watching him closely and been quick to catch him, the result could have been tragic.  I left the store extremely angry. 

As soon as I got home, I sent an email to ALDI about the situation and just let them know that while I like the store, I couldn't continue shopping there as it was unsafe for my baby.  I expected a form letter back, at the most.  Instead, I received a phone call the very next day from someone at corporate.  She apologized for the situation with the straps and assured me that she had straps that she was sending to the Bartlesville store that week, so the next time I went in, I should be able to strap Alex in. 

Wow. 

And you know what?  I went back today, and sure enough, every cart had brand-new baby straps on it.  Alex was safely secured, and we were able to shop without incident. 

That is how you make a loyal customer.  Add me to the legion of bloggers who love ALDI.

21 comments:

Rhonda said...

what a great story, at least the end of it anyway.

I have to drive to OKCity or Tulsa or Ponca to shop at Aldi but my favorite city councilman told me that Aldi is planning to build a store in our town in the future. I will be a happy camper if it does happen.

Most things at Aldi we like. Have you tried their diapers? I am a fan of them.

Don't like -dishwasher detergent, laundry soap, olives with the fake pimentos in the middle

love their chocolate in every form I have tried.

Produce- just need to check each package as no produce worker is checking them as they put them out and if not careful, it is easy to buy packages with bad ones in them.

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

I haven't tried diapers, as we cloth diaper. We use disposables at night, but we're still on a package of Pampers I bought months ago.

I haven't tried any cleaning supplies, either, as I make most of mine or buy from The Clean Team. However, I did buy a bottle of bleach today. When I'll get around to trying it, though, remains to be seen. I rarely use bleach, so it may be a while before I see if it works well or not.

I don't each chocolate, although I've heard wonderful things about the chocolate at ALDI.

I agree about the produce. It's hit or miss, really. Mostly it's been all right, but I'm not crazy about the things that are prepackaged. I prefer to choose my produce, but the prices make up for that, I suppose.

My husband didn't care for their orange juice, so I haven't bought that again. I bought some yogurt today to try. Their cheeses have been fine, so I'm hopeful about the yogurt, which is another product that doesn't use chemical food dyes. I buy our dairy products mostly at Braum's, as that's the only milk my husband will drink, but I can't eat their yogurts because they color them with Red 40.

ashley said...

I agree about Aldi diapers being pretty good, and inexpensive.

I personally don't like their sliced cheese, but every other type seems okay. I also agree about the soap - I had to use twice as much dish soap which of course negates the cost factor. :-)

I almost never get produce there because I feel like it's always bad.

I walked into Aldi's for the first time a long time ago, and didn't return for several years. :-) Since I gave them a second chance, I've been happy with the groceries I've gotten there. Unfortunately they aren't very convenient to me. (Not as much in distance, but rather the road I have to take is trafficky and full of stoplights.)

Meredith said...

Here's a funny follow-up to your strap story:

The next week, I went to Aldi, and lo and behold, ALL the carts had brand new, bright blue child straps installed!

Coincidence? Either way, I'm grateful!

Cheryl Dietz said...

I really dislike the Aldi's here in Germany (where they started) but the ones in Austria are much better, but I still don't go in them because they are too hit and miss. Glad that you have found a good one though.

Catherine said...

Wow, that is seriously impressive. Maybe I will give them another try! The last time I went to my store (Harrisburg, PA) there were BUGS in most of the produce. I didn't complain, but I didn't go back. Maybe an e-mail would have cleared up the situation in the first place. Good for you.

becka said...

I was very thankful when we got an Aldi store in our area a few years ago. It really helps us stick to our tight grocery budget. Did you know that they will give you double your money back if you are not satisfied with a product? I have seen people do this. The only thing I have ever returned was a milk jug from milk that was "off." They cheerfully replaced it. The baby straps are broken on most of the carts at my Aldi too. I will have to follow your lead and write to corporate. :) The produce at most of our grocery stores is not stellar. I generally find that the Aldi produce is pretty good and pretty fresh because of the quick turnover.

*carrie* said...

Wow, that IS good customer service. We don't have an ALDI anywhere near us, but I make it a point to go while I'm visiting family. Monica and I went together in Kansas City this past weekend! I usually stock up on the same things--I love their Bonita tortillas, and they are a steal at 10 for 99 cents!

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Anonymous said...

I was very thankful when we got an Aldi store in our area a few years ago. It really helps us stick to our tight grocery budget. Did you know that they will give you double your money back if you are not satisfied with a product? I have seen people do this. The only thing I have ever returned was a milk jug from milk that was "off." They cheerfully replaced it. The baby straps are broken on most of the carts at my Aldi too. I will have to follow your lead and write to corporate. :) The produce at most of our grocery stores is not stellar. I generally find that the Aldi produce is pretty good and pretty fresh because of the quick turnover.

Anonymous said...

I have to drive to OKCity or Tulsa or Ponca to shop at Aldi but my favorite city councilman told me that Aldi is planning to build a store in our town in the future. I will be a happy camper if it does happen.

Anonymous said...

but I still don't go in them because they are too hit and miss. Glad that you have found a good one though.

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