Nothing creates quite the same feeding frenzy as an Aldi Special Buy.
A decorator friend was after an exclusive stool. The product had been advertised for weeks, tantalisingly photographed in an array of stylish settings. It was not your average stool, but a curvaceous, natural wood, slightly African looking stool with a design nod to a bongo drum.
My friend arrived at her local store early as all seasoned Aldi shoppers do. They know the drill. There are only so many said items in stock. There are none in reserve. No “rainchecks” or returning for another shipment. She wasn’t alone. Several other intrepid shoppers had braved the icy winter’s morning to claim their booty. Polite conversation masked the desire to cut to the chase and elbow everyone else out of the way to be first in line. One burly gentleman admitted his wife had raced off to work and left him with strict instructions to return with treasure. Or else.
The doors opened. My friend entered the fray and was immediately trapped in trolley traffic with several others jostling for pole position. She noticed her adversary had a strategy and annoyingly, had scooted down the fresh produce aisle, turning a sharp right to arrive triumphantly and unencumbered at the middle aisle where all the loot lay.
Here, my friend relayed, she was required to maintain a little Western civility. To resist her base instinct which was to use her trolley as a battering ram rather than offering socially acceptable niceties such as: “Excuse me, sorry, may I?” (push past you!!!!). “Thank you…” Etc, etc.
Meanwhile, Mr. Speedy had a complete head start. Turns out his strategy was yet to bear fruit. My friend noted his empty trolley. She finally caught up with him; deciding collusion may be a more tactical approach. Mid-sprint, she breathlessly asked if he had found “it” (recklessly removing both hands from her trolley to wildly emulate the curvaceous lines of the stool). By now there were several stricken pacers feverishly darting in and out of aisles trying to find the elusive treasure they had “just the spot for “ back home. Had someone stealthily walked off with the entire shipment?
Finally, slowly defeated, dreading the truth, my friend asked an actual person in power. Where, pray, were the bongo drum stools?
And here, she received the mortifying words no loyal Aldi customer should ever have to hear: Something along the lines of “product recall,” a standard phrase that covers a multitude of sins.
Her burly adversary looked positively depressed. He’d won the race and now was being stripped of his prize. Deprived of a victory lap, he headed home, shoulders slumped.
My friend? Well, she did the conciliatory and ill-advised loser’s lap—where the shopper that missed out randomly picks items off the shelf they never knew they needed. Like Orange blossom water or truffle mustard or comfort food such as sticky date pudding. Or in my friend’s case, two linen sheet sets – one in snow white and another in cobalt blue, just for good measure.
It later transpired that a store somewhere in NSW hadn’t got the memo. They had the elusive stools in stock. One hapless woman got all the way to the till with her triumphant booty only to be told the product would not scan and was not permitted for sale.
Hell hath no fury as an Aldi shopper scorned. She took to social media to spew her wrath. Press picked up on the story, and now, it has all played neatly into the German retailer’s hands.
A whole new hoard of people who never even knew they needed a “SOHL natural wood side table” now desperately want one. Especially since they’ve also now learned it’s an apparent copy of a “Mark Tuckey Egg Cup Stool” that can be found online for a small fortune. At a mere $69, the Aldi alternative is a steal.
And come August 29 which is the new delivery date, they too will no doubt join the bunfight. I confess I will be among them, runners at hand and with a secret strategy (veggie aisle was a decoy) firmly in place.
It seems that I have just the spot for a curvaceous, wooden bongo drum stool.
Who would have thought?
© 2018 Lois Nicholls