Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Tosa joins international Aldi controversy

Three cheers for Linda Carlson, who has entered Wauwatosa in the cross-continental debate about this modest grocery-'n-stuff store.

In asking why Tosans are objecting to an Aldi store on 124th and Capital (the site of the old Jewel store), she wrote:

I have heard many comments recently like, "I'm not racist, but.... I don't want the "kind" of people that Aldi's would attract in Wauwatosa" or "It's on a bus line so that will attract the wrong kind of people. .  . The only "kind" of people that I see shopping at Aldi's are people who are trying to make their grocery dollar stretch a little bit further. They may be old, young, black, white, yellow, green or purple in color but they all have the same goal. Make my dollar go further.

Anti-Aldi bias is the same, it seems, everywhere. At the Irish Times’, one Colm wrote:

In Limerick ALDI opened their first store beside the Quality hotel on the edge of the infamous Southhill. No self respecting middle class dinner party shopper would be seen dead in the area never mind the store (they certainly wouldn’t want to leave their SUV unguarded in the carpark for fear the natives, or worse their neighbour, might spot it).

A couple of months ago Aldi opened its second store around a mile away as the crow flies in the leafy middle-upper class area of Castletroy. On paper its target market are the students of the nearby University. But on a Saturday afternoon its carpark has a fair proportion of SUVs Volvos and BMWs. Of course the good folk of Castletroy “only go there for the excellent selection of continental wines/chocolates/biscuits/desserts” etc, but usually can be seen leaving with full trolleys. Aldi in Castletroy also has the advantage of being hidden from the main road so the only people who will see your car are fellow Aldi shoppers who cannot spread rumours about you without outing themselves.

Snobbery is so much more charming served up in an Irish "accent."

The comment appeared in Conor Pope's column of frugalry, Pricewatch. Pope claims that:

For some, (Aldi’s) higgledy-piggledy aisles offer endless opportunities to unearth top bargains at low prices, while for others, it is, literally and metaphorically, all over the shop, a tiresome place where inferior products are sold cheaply but still represent bad value.

It’s a fair, if colorful, evaluation. I’m an Aldi fan, but it takes a bit of patience to learn what’s good and what’s not. Their gelato and stollen – outstanding but seasonal. But skip the Triscuit-knock-offs.

In Tosa as in Dublin, we love or loathe the stores that serve up our daily bread. Sendiks was my first blog entry to go over the 1,000 hits mark.

Still, if you ask me, we're going a little far with this fear thing when it extends to grocery stores. After all, this is Milwaukee, where a bargain has always been a good thing. The upscaling of nearly all Tosa grocery stores has had some wonderful benefits, but let's let the marketplace have a low-end range, too.


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