If you regularly shop at Aldi, you probably have something you call your “Aldi quarter.” That’s because to use a cart while shopping at the German discount retailer, you have to place a quarter in the slot to remove your buggy from the corral (via Reader’s Digest). At first, it can be a big surprise, but since you get your coin back when you return your cart, it quickly becomes a habit, and you might even keep the quarter in a particular location just for shopping at Aldi.
According to Aldi’s official site, the quarter helps the chain keep its prices low. The 25-cent deposit for a shopping cart means that locations save money by not paying somebody to round up all the abandoned buggies in the parking lot every day. The quarter provides Aldi shoppers with an incentive to return their own carts to the shopping cart corral that’s usually located near the front door of the brand’s locations. Did you know that there’s even cart etiquette for shoppers at the retailer?
Here's what you need to know about Aldi cart etiquette
Aldi customers usually know the lay of the land at the discount grocery store, so there is a bit of etiquette involved in returning the buggies. If you’re not up to returning your cart, or somebody else arrived just as you finished unloading your groceries into your car, don’t be surprised if another customer offers to trade you the cart you’re about to return for a quarter (via Reader’s Digest). It saves you a trip back up to the corral, and it keeps them from having to insert the quarter and disengage it from the rest of the unused buggies.
Although a quarter doesn’t seem like much of an incentive to return carts, most customers tend to do it, which benefits everybody by keeping the parking lot free of possible damage from runaway buggies and prices lower. Bryant University’s Michael Roberto explained that typical shoppers at the retailer remain conscious of their spending and like good values, which might be why they’re so willing to keep that “Aldi quarter” for the next time they shop at Aldi.
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