Friday, September 05, 2008

The Gold Medal

Place: Hardee's
Lunch: 2 chili dogs, Coke

Yes, Hardee's is selling chili dogs. They have chili in the kitchen, they're selling chili dogs, but they're not selling their awsome occasional chili cheeseburger. For that, I have to go to Carl's Jr.

Still...good chili dog.

The Summer Olympics ended a couple of weeks ago. I enjoy watching the swimming and diving competitions more than anything else. That camera that follows the divers from the board into the water is awesome, especially in high definition.

Men's gymnastics can be pretty good. I'm not that fond of the women's gymnastics because the girls are so young and it feels like exploitation to me. Watching the lifelong dreams of little girls crushed at the hands of snotty judges after they risk their limbs on balance beams and high bars just doesn't work for me.

Which...somehow...leads us to Aldi.

Aldi is a German-based grocery store chain with a small footprint low-price format. They have small stores with a small staff and an almost 100 percent inventory of store label products. Everything is ridiculously cheap. And pretty good too. I prefer many of their items to the national brands.

When I first encountered them about fifteen years ago, the stores all had manual cash registers and no prices on the products. The cashiers had every item's price memorized, and could rip through an order at lightning fast speeds. It was very impressive. And it's a good thing...They hardly ever have more than one line open at a time.

Today, Aldi has scanners. But the cashiers are just as fast as they ever were. So when a woman ahead of me in line today with an overflowing cart full of Aldi plunder asked "Would you like to go ahead of me?" I said "No thanks, I'm fine." Because I knew she'd be through the line in a flash.

Sure enough, the Aldi cashier ran everything through in less than a minute. He gave her the total, which was about $115, if I remember correctly. That's a LOT of stuff at Aldi.

She balks. "How much?"

She didn't have that much cash.

"How much do you have?" he asked.

It was less than $60 from what I could see.

Then she started returning items. So he's re-scanning and hitting "Void" on stuff. Which is a lot slower than scanning stuff for sale purposes.

I watched the receipt as it printed the voids out.

Twenty-seven items. Literally half the cart emptied.

Which brings us back to the Olympics.

I am certain that if overestimating your spending in a grocery store was an Olympic event, I just watched a gold medal performance.