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Seymour Gris: Aldi-dirty

Gris gives us one more reason to hate shopping at "discounter" supermarkets.

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Photo by Smial (Wikimedia Commons)

Cleanliness and order are THE German traits, right? And then you go to your local bakery and they invariably have a sanitary plastic glove on one hand but then they handle your bread and your money with both gloved and ungloved hands… one can imagine the germs. But no one seems to care.

Another German trait is the love of cheap, hence the popularity of the “discounter” supermarkets.

Recently, “discounters” Aldi, Lidl and Co. have started selling rolls. The Brötchen get baked in ovens in every store – by the cashiers, who also have to take people’s money, stock shelves and recycle plastic bottles among many other shitty tasks. “Baking” is an exaggeration: the cashiers, when they have a free second, grab globs of frozen dough from a box and chuck it into the Backautomat and press a button. Yum. 

A new report found this whole process is pretty unsanitary: cashiers are too busy to wash their hands before putting on their baker’s caps. Touching lots of money and boxes and rubbish then handling dough: not good. It’s a perhaps a minor detail, but it is also small reminder of how dreadful these places are.

Aldi (and Lidl, Netto, Norma, Plus, Penny) are already the bleakest supermarkets in the entire world. Wandering through their aisles and groping through boxes and cages you feel like you’ve arrived at a refugee food distribution centre. The scarcity and lack of selection is shocking. I recently tried to find sponges at Aldi. They just didn’t have any. Aldi just doesn’t sell sponges. What kind of supermarket doesn’t sell sponges? Then there’s the beer in plastic bottles. No beer deserves that.

Aldi is an international pioneer in making products dirt cheap (Aldi own popular U.S. bobo discount store Trader Joe’s as well). Cheap has its cost: whether sourcing beef from illegal farms in clear-cut Amazon jungle, toxic roses from environmentally disastrous plantations in Kenya, cookbooks printed on paper from endangered mangrove forests, there’s pretty much nothing these chains won’t do to cut corners to stay cheap.

These places are just shit. Shop somewhere else.