Wednesday, 15 October 2014

How many Aldi staff does it take to sort a bulb out...

I’m one of those people that hate waste. It isn’t easy for me to explain why, but it makes me feel guilty if a lettuce isn’t used up completely, the leftover pizza eaten, that bottle of wine consumed to the last drop (that one’s easy). I wear my clothes until they fall to pieces and the ‘too small and forgotten’ clothes hanging in my wardrobe haunt me like revenants each time I open the door. Shoes are worn until holes are formed, broken things fixed and mended, and seasonal plants replanted whenever I get the opportunity – quite often on the wayside.

I’m not fanatical about it – but I border on compulsive and it makes me angry with myself if I don’t try.

Which brings me to Aldi.

Now, as I have mentioned before I am a great fan of Aldi. The way they have shaken up the complacency of our traditional British supermarkets is astounding. I have come to expect the very best from them – best prices, best quality, best service – strictly within their cost model you understand. They seldom disappoint me; seldom, but not always.

For years I have wondered why supermarkets don’t take better care of the seasonal outdoor plants they sell. I hate to see them wilting in racks, dead or dying through lack of water or being positioned in full sun or wind. All the supermarkets do it and the result is almost dead plants at knock down prices that only a fool would buy. Unfortunately I am that fool and I quite often buy them believing that I am Jesus and can make them rise again. Sometimes I manage it, but most of the time I don’t. Mind you, I have the same problem with walking on water and the water to wine thing only works in reverse for me.

So where does Aldi fit in?

Well, when it comes to lack of plant care I’m sorry to say that Aldi is as incompetent as all the rest.

I went to my local store yesterday to buy some of the excellent quality, excellent value, spring bulbs that I had seen last week. When I arrived I fount a soggy mess of cardboard boxes and an even soggier mess of bulb nets, some split, bulbs tumbling all over the floor. The bulb boxes were outside, it had rained all day, and they were soaked. But this didn’t explain the advanced squelchiness of the bulbs themselves – they must have been rained on for day after day.

I picked up a dampish bag of fifty daffs along with a sodden net of muscari and took them into the store. The bulbs weren’t great but nowhere near as bad as the rest. I explained that there were thousands of bulbs deteriorating rapidly outside. The poor guy on the till looked at me blankly as he picked up the muscari packet which immediately fell apart in his hands.

To cut a long story short, after a discussion or two, a ten minute wait, huddles between supervisors and supervisor’s supervisors, I was offered a fifty pence discount. I explained that I wasn’t bothered by the discount but thought they needed to sort their bulbs out. I was greeted with blank looks, so I paid for my bulbs (I told you I was a fool) and left not wishing to be labelled an even bigger busybody than I am.

As I was leaving I noticed the racks of drying and dying violas and pansies and was temped to go back in – but I didn’t.

Aldi you can do better than this if you try. All you need to do is make somebody responsible for looking after the plants and give them a little training. I’d happily do it, but I doubt that I fit your staff profile.

Latest Hot News – Just call me Wolfie, my conversation must have had an effect. Today the daffodils have been reduced by over two quid to 35p a pack (a £2.10 discount) and, yes, I have bought four packs (although I still can’t walk on water). Not the result I really wanted, but better than nothing I guess. What a waste though, particularly when it could have been easily avoided.

Up the revolution!


  1. Maggie Patzuk on FB
    You are a rebel in a disposable world . . . and we need more like you! I am also a "plant rescuer"!

  2. Andrew Height
    It has to be done Maggie, I try my best but I so often fail. That's no reason not too try though

  3. Sharon Taylor
    I would have that job :O)

  4. Andrew Height
    Perhaps it is worth suggesting it who knows?

  5. Sharon Taylor on FB
    If I do get made redundant next year, which is looking less likely but still possible I really want to volunteer at my local - Hall Place gardens Bexley, especially in the butterfly jungle.

  6. Ricardo Listeretti on FB
    Oh Andrew

  7. Andrew Height on FB
    Sounds good to me Sharon