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Aldi aficionados line up for merch drop in Chicago

The discount grocer released a series of branded merchandise on Wednesday, including sneakers, fanny packs, and more

Aldi fanatics were out in full force Wednesday morning for the grocer’s release of its branded merchandise, which includes socks, windbreakers, pet sweatshirts, and an impossibly inexpensive pair of sneakers for just $12.99.

In the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhood store in Chicago, Aldi enthusiasts huddled around the merch section at 8:30 a.m., right after the grocer opened.

About half a dozen shoppers in the Aldi Finds aisle eagerly dug through the boxes of low-priced jogging pants, sweatshirts, tumblers, and more. 

Aldi shopper Molly McLaren said she found out about the merch release from a Facebook group she follows called “Aisle of Shame,” which is dedicated to items sold in the Aldi Finds section of the store. 

“I follow [the Facebook group] mostly for the entertainment, but I live around the corner, so it’s super convenient to come here,” she said. 

A search for “Aisle of Shame” on Facebook shows that dozens of groups have adopted the name — the largest of them claims 2.6 million members.

“I saw that they had this stuff coming out and I was like, 'Oh, I should go get some,'” she said. 

McLaren picked up a jogging outfit for her sister, a sweatshirt for her mom, and a fanny pack and socks for herself, she said. She explained that in the groups, Aldi shoppers who find a great deal will exclaim the bird noise, “Caw cawww!!” to attract the attention of their fellow fanatics. 

“I’ve never done that, but that’s something I learned from the group — I’m not totally into it,” McLaren explained with a laugh. 

Laura Valentine, who lives in the nearby neighborhood of Humboldt Park, said she learned her lesson at last year’s merch drop to show up right when the store opens. “I came in at 9:30 thinking everything would be there, but everything was gone,” she said, adding that one fanny pack was available, but it didn’t have an Aldi logo. “I was like, ‘Noooo!’”

This year, she showed up at 8:25 a.m. and was the second person in line. She also purchased a number of items for friends and family, as well as herself. 

“I have two dogs, so I bought them Aldi [sweatshirts], and I got shoes for me and my boyfriend, windbreakers for me and my friends, and fanny packs,” she said.

Click through the slides to see the merch!


Aldi dropped another line of merch, and at least in Chicago shoppers were going nuts for the items. Do you think grocery retailers can take more advantage of branded retail merch, or do you think enough is being done there? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or email the SN staff at  [email protected].

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