8 Aldi Problems People Aren't Talking About Enough

Common complaints won’t stop Aldi shoppers, but sometimes it’s good to get it off your chest.

An Aldi grocery store
Updated May 31, 2024
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Aldi is known for its bargain prices and minimalist aisles. What the grocery retailer lacks in frills, it makes up for in quality and the chance to save on groceries.

No store is perfect, and Aldi is no exception. Even though the affordable produce and seasonal selection of products make this brand a fan favorite, the chain has issues that some shoppers would rather keep to themselves.

Whether you forgot to bring a quarter for the cart deposit or your favorite seasonal bargain buy just disappeared, check out some of the top Aldi problems no one is talking about.

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The deposit for the shopping carts

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz deposit for the shopping carts

First-time Aldi shopper? The shopping cart situation is confusing. A series of locks keep the carts put until you forfeit a quarter deposit to release one. Don’t worry — you’ll get your money back after you return it to its home.

According to the Aldi website’s FAQs, the quarter deposit saves customers money by eliminating the cost of staffing grocery cart return employees. The 25 cents you spend isn't a major issue if you don’t mind sacrificing convenience for extra money in your wallet.

They want you to buy all the bags for your grocery haul

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz bags for grocery haul

Loyal Aldi shoppers know to bring along more than just their quarter cart deposit. They also have a stash of reusable bags to carry their groceries home.

This retailer saves money and the environment with its bag policy. Instead of single-use plastic or paper bags, Aldi gives you…nothing. If you happen to forget your shopping bag, don’t stress. Aldi will “remind” you at the self-checkout and give you a purchase opportunity

Before you can pay for your haul, the touchscreen asks you to verify your bag purchase. Of course, you can skip the added cost and keep everything as-is in your cart or bring bags from home. It can be pretty inconvenient to remember what has always felt like a grocery store staple, especially for a first-timer.

A mismatch between online and in-store availability

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz online and in store availability

Aldi offers the convenience of ordering groceries online and picking them up curbside. This perk can save you time and energy. But some shoppers don’t feel they’re getting everything they need from this service.

Some items are out of stock, making it impossible for the retailer to fill an entire online order. The result is a disappointing curbside experience. Another issue is the mismatch between online and in-store availability. You may find items listed online that are not in your local Aldi and vice versa.

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Seasonal items come and go quickly

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz seasonal items come and go quickly

Seasonal selections include special products that are permanent fixtures in Aldi’s aisles. While these must-haves are often favorites among the store’s fans, they won’t stick around for long.

If you can’t go without a specific seasonal product, your best bet is to stock up on it ASAP. Shoppers who assume the item will stay in stores just because it’s popular may not find it again.

Limited selection of products

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz limited selection of products

Variety is not a hallmark of the Aldi shopping experience. Some shoppers who are new to the store may feel that the aisles feel bare.

Unlike some big box stores, national grocery chains, and warehouse clubs, you won’t find miles of aisles for each type of product. The limited selection means you may have to skip parts of your weekly shopping list. 

While the store does more than just a decent job stocking its exclusive brands, you aren’t likely to find the same selection of other name-brand products.

Long self-checkout lines

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz An Aldi checkout line

The convenience of a contactless self-checkout has made this cashier-less option popular among Aldi shoppers. But you shouldn’t always expect the DIY experience to shave time off your shopping trip.

Long lines in high-volume stores can frustrate shoppers. Between a lack of open lanes and the learning curve required to use the mini-computers solo, you might find it easier to choose the traditional cashier checkout option.

The product stock is hit-or-miss

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz product stock hit or miss

Seasonal availability isn’t the only reason a store shelf may be bare. Out-of-stock products and popular bargain buys that sell quickly may turn your shopping trip into a major miss.

You constantly have to fine-tune your shopping list, ask an employee about the items in question, or call ahead to learn more about what is in stock. All of that can get pretty annoying, fast.

Rising prices

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz rising prices

Aldi is not immune to inflation. Even though the retailer’s prices typically fall well below what you might pay elsewhere, economic factors have caused some costs to price. But this is a problem Aldi wants to address.

The retailer recently announced a price reduction on seasonal products in some stores. So, if you’re shopping for summertime essentials, you’re in luck!

Bottom line

wolterke/Adobe Aldi Supermarket and Trademark Logo

From bags to product selection, Aldi’s problems are issues some shoppers don’t like to complain about openly.

While the store’s fans may be quiet about their negative experiences, they’re more than happy to talk about the positive parts. 

Between the bargain buys, creative seasonal finds, and high quality, Aldi is an affordable option that can keep your budget on track, which puts more money back into your wallet.

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Author Details

Erica Loop

With more than a decade of experience writing about everything from e-commerce to pets and parenting, Erica Loop has written for sites such as BuzzFeed, Brit+Co, Tinybeans, Family Education, and Care.com. Erica has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and an MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.