For your consideration, an ALDI flyer in June
Stay with me here. I haven’t gone off the deep end yet. It’s Tuesday morning, which means of course that I’m finally getting around to sections of the Sunday newspaper other than ones that say “Comics” or “Jobs.” The one that I have been fascinated by is the one-page weekly specials advertising inserts for ALDI, a grocery store chain with around 25 locations in the Milwaukee County area. Oh, they also have locations in 17 other countries – around 8,000 stores in all.
The German-based company (ALDI stands for Albrecht Discount, after the family that started it) does pretty okay for itself, for a place that sells food and other items from name brands I’ve never heard of before. The back side of this Sunday’s flyer has all the food items. It’s difficult the first time you buy bottled water from ‘Camelot’ Purified Water. Who the heck are these people? Actually, it’s the same people that make Crystal Geyser water in Benton, TN.
I suppose when Zombie Armageddon Day comes and everyone is swarming the Wal-Mart, Target, Pick and Save, Piggly Wiggly, Sentry, Osco, Whole Foods, CostCo, Safeway, and Kroger’s looking to store up on SmartWater and Dasani, an ALDI may be the best bet for selection and service.
By the way, it’s hard not to read “Aldi’s,” isn’t it? I think it’s a Wisconsin thing to add ‘s’ to the end of anything that sounds like a name. So many just go ahead and do it, sans the possessive mark — Lowes, Menards, Hoboz — okay, I made the last one up, but it’s true that the little orange and blue store has no possessiveness. Just ask one of the street people who favor the store’s tough plastic shopping bags.
Admit it, when you think of ALDI, you imagine someone you saw possibly waiting for a bus with every life possession stuffed inside. This is also how we imagine the store and its shoppers; low-lit and small places with blue collar workers. Admittedly, figures show that to be the main demographic. So how did they start popping up in our suburbs and countryside?
This gets back to the flyer. On the front cover, young white kids are blasting each other with water cannons attached to an 18-foot self-contained water slide. There is no sense of place like a backyard or street, since the photo has been skillfully edited. The price? $199.99 each. Not bad, considering most above or in-ground pools run more than that. Four tickets to Noah’s Ark in the Wisconsin Dells costs almost $150.00 (not counting transportation).
So what this item is selling is the ability to enjoy life like the privileged do, even if the item quality won’t make it through the year and your city water bill will be through the roof. For the folk in the country that have just gotten their ALDI, it may express that they may not be allowed to paint their house yellow or put up a clothesline but damn if they forgot to put a rule in there against backyard water parks. It’s not something that I’m saying is a German Expressionist vision of America, which would be hilarious actually, but instead an imposed ideal of America in which summer is made for mindless, refreshing fun.
Other than that, there sure is a lot of plastic on this Sunday flyer. In fact, it appears that every item is plastic-based. Even the back side, with all the food items, is all plastic and cardboard. There’s a certain understanding, sometimes, that saving the environment and consumer landfill issues are the providence of upper- or middle-class citizens, or a younger generation even. My recycling containers every week are overflowing, so much so that I wish they’d make larger containers — or that I could stop buying stuff made out of plastic.
What is Deep-Fried Romantic: An examination of modern ‘low culture‘ without scorn or adulation. Articles will reflect traditions of the late 18th century intellectual movement known as Romanticism which emphasizes the aesthetics of feeling rather than high-class or categorical importance deemed by aristocratic types. This will be done by consuming the societal Twinkies that have been dunked in hot oil and powdered. It’s a search for meaning in 21st century America.