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Aldi isn’t like other grocery store chains. Although they do sell tons of different food, the German-based stores are memorable for going against the grocery status quo in other ways. The store doesn’t provide free bags or carts for your groceries—but they do offer really great prices on everything from wine to bread, which is why you should always buy these 12 things at Aldi.
The chain first came to the United States in 1976, and there are now some 1,600 stores across 35 states. One thing you won’t find in these stores is music. The lack of tunes is part of Aldi’s strategy for keeping prices low, according to Jenna Coleman, a consumer behavior analyst in the grocery sector and founder of Particular Pantry. “As someone who shops at Aldi every week, I am very familiar with the many things Aldi does to cut costs,” she says. “Not playing music in their stores is just another line item they aren’t passing onto their customers.”
How could not playing music cut costs? John Stranger, the VP group supervisor of food-based creative agency EvansHardy+Young, says Aldi avoids paying licensing fees by not playing music. Playing music usually means paying a third-party licensed music service, explains Kristin McGrath, an editor and shopping expert at Offers.com. “There’s been research that suggests playing relaxing music in stores makes customers relax and browse more, which is why many stores play music,” she says. Relaxation isn’t the most important thing to Aldi customers—but savings are. “People are there to save as much money on essentials as possible, period,” McGrath says. The loyal fan-base is even willing to put up a 25 cent collateral to use shopping carts.
Not playing music adds to Aldi’s efficiency. The store set up gets customers in and out. That’s why there’s a cart self-return policy, consistent layouts, no-nonsense shelf displays, and pre-packaged produce that you don’t need to weigh, according to McGrath. “Music that encourages relaxed wandering and browsing is not part of that master plan,” she says. If not playing music means paying less and spending less time shopping, then that’s good news for Aldi and Aldi customers. No music is one of the other reasons why Aldi groceries are so cheap.