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ALDI's Customers Should Be Entitled Free-Use Of Aldi Shopping Carts, According To Lawsuit
By: Consumer Watchdog
According to Davis, it is unfair to make customers pay an unnecessary deposit for a shopping cart, which goes against American principles. He argues that Californians should not have to walk an extra 330 feet to return a cart, especially when most parking lots have cart corrals conveniently scattered about. In his view, these cart corrals are strategically placed, ensuring that no one has to walk more than 20 to 30 seconds to return their carts. Leaving carts in the parking lot, he contends, actually helps store employees to gather the carts more efficiently.
The deposit system for shopping carts is commonly used in supermarkets in Germany, including Aldi stores there. However, Davis highlights that in the United States, this practice makes customers feel like criminals. Requiring customers to show a receipt while leaving the store also implies distrust, which can be offensive to shoppers.
To use a shopping cart at Aldi, customers are required to put down a $0.25 deposit. Inserting a quarter into a slot on the cart releases it from the corral at the store's entrance. The deposit is refundable upon returning the cart to the appropriate area. Aldi justifies this deposit by stating that it encourages customers to return their carts, saving the need for additional employees to collect them.
Aldi, a subsidiary of the German chain Aldi Süd, is rapidly expanding across the United States, with plans to reach 2,400 stores by the end of 2023. The founders of Aldi, Karl and Theo Albrecht, were conscripted to fight for Nazi Germany during World War II. Karl was wounded in action and Theo was captured by the Allies in Italy. After losing the war, they returned home and took over their mother's store in Essen, which had survived the bombs dropped on the city. They founded the discount supermarket chain Aldi in 1946.
Davis believes that the requirement to pay for shopping carts effectively makes customers de facto employees for Aldi, and he is now seeking legal recourse to address this matter. The lawsuit aims to advocate for customers' rights to freely use shopping carts without the need for a deposit. However, this class action lawsuit may challenge the company's cart deposit policy and its negative reputation among American customers.