What is the ALDI Aisle of Shame?
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Next up in our list of ALDI FAQs: What is the ALDI Aisle of Shame (AOS)? This unofficial term isn’t ALDI corporate approved, but started popping up on Facebook sometime around 2019. You know how sometimes words and phrases start to take on a life of their own? Well, this is the year that the Aisle of Shame started having its moment.
What is the Aisle of Shame?
It sounds so dramatic, right? Aisle. Of. SHAME. (Sometimes abbreviated as AOS.) But, at its most basic, the Aisle of Shame is just that fifth aisle at most ALDI stores where they stock most of the new random ALDI Finds of the week (as well as those left over from weeks gone by). Depending on the week, you might find anything from a cast iron French oven, to a giant bucket of dog treats, to a Christmas cactus — and so much more.
You’ll find both food and non-food items in the Aisle of Shame, although around the holidays is when you’ll really start seeing a lot of seasonal food products.
Why is it called the Aisle of Shame?
The Aisle of Shame is also the aisle of impulse buys, causing so many of us to blow our carefully calculated grocery budget on fun products we didn’t originally intend to buy. (Yes, my cats do end up with a new cat scratching playhouse every year at the holidays…)
The ALDI AOS is the aisle of: Buy it now, before it’s too late
Even the signage in this aisle is all “hurry up, go go!” Here today, gone tomorrow. Limited time premium buys. Limited time, better hurry. Most of the products you’ll find in the Aisle of Shame are special buys that change over weekly, so when they’re gone, they’re gone.
- How can you tell for sure if something is a special buy? The price tags give you a clue, and here’s more on how to read ALDI price tags.
While you’ll find thematic sections each week in the AOS (apparel, toys, kitchen goods, food, home items, tools…), it’s less one monolith of Finds than a happy jumble of serendipity.
Look for Aisle of Shame clearance, too
In many stores, the Aisle of Shame is also where you’ll be more likely find clearance products. Some ALDI stores group these together in one section, while others leave them intermingled on the shelves.
This is of course highly variable by store and region. But, since the AOS always needs to make room for something new, slower-moving Finds will often sport clearance stickers within a few weeks.
Does every ALDI have an Aisle of Shame?
Alas, not every ALDI sports an Aisle of Shame. Some of the newer or newly remodeled smaller city ALDI stores have but four aisles; the AOS is the one they choose to cut. (While this is likely better for your wallet, it’s not nearly as entertaining!)
Can I get Aisle of Shame items on Instacart?
ALDI Aisle of Shame products are generally not available to select on Instacart, although you can leave a note for or contact your shopper if you wish them to look for something specific in that aisle.
What are some other names for the Aisle of Shame?
While Aisle of Shame is the most common, you’ll also hear:
- Aisle of Fun
- Aisle of Surprises
- Aisle of Awesome
- Special Buys Aisle
- The Middle Aisle
- The Amazing Aisle of Random
- The Aisle with all the Goodies
- The Aisle of Impulse Buys
- The Aisle of Pleasure
… and more. Don’t feel any actual shame in that middle aisle game, whatever you choose to call it!
What’s your own favorite Aisle of Shame buy?
Just out of curiosity: What’s the best thing you ever picked up in the ALDI Aisle of Shame? My own favorite AOS buy is probably my 12″ cast iron skillet, because it gets weekly use — but my house also sports AOS purchases from cozy socks, to area rugs, to organic black bean dip and more.
I do try to limit my AOS purchases to things I can really use, but be forewarned: The Aisle of Shame always contains some very tempting items, and ALDI is expert at fostering that sense of artificial scarcity that makes you feel that you need to purchase them now. 🙂