Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Aldi's Is No Longer On My Preferred Shopping List

I recognize there are practices for "ID" presentation that are company policies no matter what the age of someone who purchases alcohol but Aldi's policy at a Missouri location (possibly others) is age and individual inappropriate.

It took me initially responding I would never shop THERE again to sharing my experience with men and women of varying ages, watching and listening to their responses and to family responses of "veiled mentions" while dining in their home to having purchased what we were eating from "that store", to write this blog entry.

It's not funny. It's not acceptable. And, it's not the law.
Some said I should have gone to the Store Manager; it was probably their decision and not necessarily at all stores.

Others said I should have simply handed the item to the cashier and walked away from the transaction. That, to me, would not have resolved the basis and the nature of the problem, it wasn’t my problem, it was theirs.

Generations previously lived by the philosophy you stop a small problem before it gets out of control.  Today we seem to live allowing situations to get so far out of control they affect masses of society in ways that limit or even destroy lives.

Here's what happened:

My purchases had all been passed over the scanner.

The cashier clicked a key and then told me my purchase wouldn't go through until I provided "verbally" the exact month, day and year of my birth.

I'd never had this request in all the time I'd chosen to shop Aldi's. I’d never had that request at any other store.

I was told I had to provide "the actual information verbally" and that was the only way the system would function.

I asked for an explanation and was told this “system” was put in place because there had been some failures to check id’s and some cashiers were “caught” entering their own birthdates into the system. 

The last thing we need in a public place is to be embarrassed and to be concerned about who would hear this information and how it might be used. 

I'd struggled and started to climb out of the depths of economic destruction and regain part of life. The bottle of inexpensive wine was a celebration of a recent accomplishment.

Then I became defensive. It's a reaction often experienced when you become concerned for the losses of what you've struggled so hard to regain might once again be lost or reduced. It’s about survival.

I told the cashier I was aware of the law about being 21 to purchase alcohol and I was obviously well beyond that point but I was happy to produce my driver's license.

She insisted I had to stand there and verbally provide the information. 

My purchase was refused until those spaces were completed on the screen. The cashier even showed me the screen when I asked to see it.

Embarrassment. Frustration. And, yes, Anger -- having to provide personal information in a way that could cause possible additional loss at a vulnerable time in life. 

Aldi's WAS a lifesaver for my daughter and for me when we were struggling to make each penny count, each dime go farther and each quarter stretched to its limit. And shopping at the store was how we could afford the other things we needed in life.

Aldi's recently announced including more Organic products in their stores and my Millennial daughter and I both welcomed that addition. 

Is it an overall company practice?  Do other locations use this same procedure?

Aldi's may have an internal problem with the honesty and integrity of some of their employees but don't subject me and others to actions that are Ageist and can be personally destructive.

I'd swiped my card, entered the mandatory code and waited for the cashier to scan the items. This done, the message on the screen didn't move forward as it usually did and it wanted my card again. 

Busy thinking about where I was going next, what else was on my daily agenda, I didn't think about the bottle of wine, price point less thab $3, in my selections. 

Besides, this wasn't the first time I had a bottle of this wine in my check out items, it had become our "splurge" when something in life went really right instead of drastically wrong as happened more often than wanted or expected since my husband and mother's passing.

I felt confused. How was my verbal reply going to stop either of these practices?

I felt concerned. Could there be someone nearby shopping who might make a decision about me based on what they heard that might negatively affect my life, like a hiring position?

Many of my contemporaries, "Baby Boomers", like me, are struggling to survive after major life challenges depleting and sometimes eliminating savings and what we need to survive. 

We have enough concerns with identity theft and now we’re asked to provide another piece of personal information verbally?

In hindsight, I guess it would interrupt Aldi's famous "speedy" checkout to have me dig in my purse for the info. Take more time than the company "allowed" their cashiers.

I simply want Aldi’s to value their customers of all ages and stages of life.

The reality and resolution, I believe, is if they require ID’s no matter what the age of the purchaser, Aldi’s should take the time from their mandated fast paced check out to at least allow a "manager override" request to the system.

Aldi's could also require name tags be worn by their cashiers.  I don't recall seeing one on the cashier who checked me out.

Great pricing and speedy check out are appreciated but the current cost of those services weigh heavily on my deciding where to do my shopping.

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