I have lived in Indiana for six years. It will be seven next September. In all that time there has been an Aldi Food Store on the corner near my home since before we moved here. It is a rather nondescript building, brown, flat roofed, and in the great scheme of things, its rather squat in shape. In short, it doesn't have "flash" of, say, a Kroger.
So my mom and I, after running some rather unsuccessful errands, stopped off at the Aldi's store. A few weeks back, there had been a two page article in Time magazine all about Aldi's.
I'm going to cut to the chase: Aldi's is scary; very scary.
First of all, you want a shopping cart? Twenty-five cent deposit, please. Huh?
You want to use our bags? Ten cents a piece. Pardon?
I walked in ahead of my mom. She got a cart-- which is a story in and of itself. Short version: she someone coming out of the store. Said person offered her the shopping cart, only after my mom coughed up a quarter for the courtesy.
We got in and started walking around. When I was a kid living in New York I remember going to the ShopRite supermarket, I remember seeing black and white food packages with the label MSB. Which stood for Money Saving Brand. Basically, MSB was a step up from Government Issue. That's kind of what Aldi's reminded me of. A store full of MSB.
The most frightening part of the whole experience was getting out of the place. We couldn't figure out how to get out. We could see the front door, but we couldn't get there. My mother didn't want to buy anything. She thought that Aldi's was more expensive than the Kroger or Walmart or even Sam's Club (yes we shop at the Evil Empire...)
The way this Aldis was designed was actually pretty slick: the only way you could go was towards the check out. We were, for lack of a better term, in a chute. We tried to get out through a closed check out lane, but there was a gate that wouldn't let us through. So, we backtracked literally. We went back through the "chute." And went out how we came in.
Once we got into the car we did a quick double debrief. Both my mom and I were just a tad freaked out. Neither one of us had ever felt trapped in a store before. We both literally felt like we couldn't get out. We finally escaped through the front door, after my mom abandoned her cart by the front door.
I wish I could describe the terror, yes, I used the term terror I felt after I could get out of there. It was one of the strangest feelings I've ever had....