The Aldi shopping cart process is pretty different from most other supermarkets you’ve visited, where attendants spend their shifts gathering carts and corralling them back into the store.
Aldi decided to do it differently, and while it can take some getting used to, it’s become just another reason the grocery chain is so successful. Let’s look at what Aldi’s shopping cart system is.
What Is Aldi’s Shopping Cart System?
Aldi’s shopping cart system is a rental model. Shoppers pay 25 cents to use carts and then receive their deposit back when they return the cart. This design is part of Aldi’s overall cost-cutting business model and contributes to the discount pricing of store products.
Not sure what to expect at the store? Wondering how you give a quarter and then get one back? Read on for all the details, plus some helpful tips to keep in mind next time you’re shopping.
Why Does Aldi Make You Rent Your Shopping Cart?
Per Aldi’s website, “This 25-cent deposit ultimately saves our customers money because we don’t have to hire extra staff to collect grocery carts.”
Think about it: at most other grocery stores, you see at least one dedicated employee manning the cart corrals, collecting carts, and pushing them back to the store, Ad nauseum.
And we all know we can’t trust our fellow citizens to do the right thing and put carts back every time!
How Much Does It Cost To Rent An Aldi Shopping Cart?
It is just 25 cents to rent an Aldi shopping cart (or a $1/$2 coin in Australia and a Pound coin in the United Kingdom).
However, it must be in the form of a quarter because the carts are outfitted with a locking system where the shape and size of a quarter act as the key.
How Do You Use Aldi’s Shopping Cart System?
The shopping cart system is a bit intimidating at first, but all you need is one trip to get the hang of it.
Carts are stored at the entrance, near the doors. Bring your quarter up with you and as you approach, notice the right-hand side of the cart’s main handle. There is a little grey box with a red front and a slit – that’s where you insert the quarter.
Push the quarter in (sometimes you have to jam it a bit), and you should hear a click – the sound of the lock releasing.
That’s the contraption stuck into the back of the grey box. Grab the red plastic part (on a chain fob) and pull it out. You’re unlocked and ready to shop!
Side note: Here is a quick 2-minute video that walks you through the process of retrieving and returning a trolley at Aldi.
Once you’ve gone through checkout, unloaded your groceries into your car, walk the cart back, and push the cart back into the area where you got the cart from.
When your cart is pushed into another one, push that red bit back into the grey box on your cart handle and you should again hear a click that it’s locked in place. Your quarter should pull right out.
What If You Forget Your Quarter At Aldi?
If you forget your quarter at Aldi, you have a few options. You can (politely) ask a fellow shopper or an employee to see if they have an extra quarter.
Additionally, Aldi sells “Quarter Keepers” seasonally – adorable keychains that fit quarters inside, so you always have your quarter on you.
Also there is also a great Aldi hack in which you can use the backside of a key to insert into the coin slot. Just be sure to remove the key, as losing a quarter is ok, but a house key can be a different story!
Lastly, you can walk into the cart corral and see if anyone left a cart unlocked. It happens often, as people try to “pay kindness forward” when they get a free cart.
The shopping carts contribute to a unique grocery experience, but even more importantly, to those ultra-low prices on everything you need to stock your fridge and pantry.
Aldi knows a little extra work on the part of the customer is well worth it for those cheap grocery bills.