The weirdness that is Aldi

I had occasion to go into North Sydney today, which is a commercial centre on the north side of Sydney Harbour, across from the main city centre of Sydney. It happens to be a walkable distance from home for me, taking about half an hour to get there, including up and down some healthy hills.

In North Sydney is an Aldi store – the closest one to me. I never do any large grocery shopping here, since parking in the area is impossible, but I like to pop in when I’m walking around to see if they have anything interesting. I find being inside and Aldi store like being in a strange parallel universe. They have similar looking products to the brands in the regular Australian supermarkets, but they’re all unfamiliar Aldi custom brands. But the weirdest thing is the packaging, which is designed to look almost exactly like the packaging of the brands in other supermarkets. Honestly, I don’t know how they get away with it without facing multiple lawsuits over trademark/trade dress infringement. Because some of the packaging looks almost identical in design to the regular brands, just with a slightly changed brand name.

(EDIT: I mentioned this to my friends in our online chat tonight and they pointed me at this article about this very issue, which goes some way to explaining it. Quote from one friend: “Oh, sure, it’s bollocks. But it’s legally acceptable bollocks.”)

Anyway, being a German chain, Aldi is the one reliable place that I know will have stollen around Christmas time. Having a German mother, stollen was always a major part of Christmas when I was growing up, so I like to have some if I can. I bought a large one, and also some Christmasy biscuits, and a few other things. But not too much, because I had to carry it all home.

Apart from dropping into the alternate Aldi universe, I write some Darths & Droids comics today, and took Scully to the dog park… and that’s about it. Oh, I made mushroom and green bean risotto for dinner, which I mention mostly because it’s so labour intensive, so it took a significant time to make…

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2 thoughts on “The weirdness that is Aldi”

  1. Funnily enough, we’re also eating our way through a stollen bought in Aldi, though ours is in scotland.

    Stollen is pretty easy to make if you have access to a bread maker to deal with the kneading…

  2. well – those are similar packages, but side by side, not that similar. I guess you need to appreciate that Aldi is lowering prices in those categories. Fuming about trademarks is good for struggling beginers, not if you’re a multi-milion company.
    I would be worried about the generic drugs department, but if they get the FDA approuval to make them, it’s the same active ingedient, and those that care about it will not make the same mistake twice. The food and toilette department are not even life threatenning, and as someone who writes the content of food labels, I get personnaly insulted whenever someone tells me they don’t bother reading them every time – they do change on occation. if it’s the same content – like that mars and titan bars – why should people pay extra for the Mars name…

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