Personal Stories, Autism

Why I Love Shopping at Aldi as Someone who is #ActuallyAutistic

Doing the weekly food shop as someone who is #ActuallyAutistic used to fill me with a huge sense of dread. Firstly, there was getting to the supermarket through the traffic, and finding a parking space. Then there was the huge amount of sensory overload once I was in the supermarket with everything from music playing, to the noise of people talking and worse, kids running around screaming and being unruly while their parents pay little to no attention to what their precious offspring was up to.

For me, more than any of that, one of the things that I hated the most was when something that I buy on a regular basis was moved to another part of the shop. I would stand there with a huge rage filling up inside me holding on to my trolley, and it would take everything I had not to shout at the top of my voice, “where the f**k is the f**king baked beans!” The amount of internal meltdowns I would have due to things being moved around were incredible.

Why I Don’t Do My Weekly Food Shop Online

Some of you might be thinking that there is an easy answer to this – order my food shopping online and have it delivered. But for me there is a huge problem with this. I can’t bear the thought of someone else handling my food shopping. While I can cope well with ordering other things online, the weekly food shop is one thing that I must do myself. I need to be able to pick up my items, choose them myself, check the sell-by dates and ensure that any fruit and veg I need is as fresh as it can be. I can’t control all this if I order my food shopping online.

Near me there is a large Tesco’s, an Aldi and a B&M store.  I start off in Tesco’s to get a handful of branded items that I can’t get in Aldi. B&M is great for odd things such as my Tassimo Costa Coffee pods as they are the cheapest I’ve found anywhere, and my husband and I do get through a lot of cappuccino’s and latte’s using our Tassimo coffee machine.

When I was diagnosed as #ActuallyAutistic I was able to understand why I struggled so much with doing the weekly food shop and made some changes to help me manage this necessary evil. I started to do my weekly food shop very early on a Saturday morning, usually at around 7am or 7.30am. This meant I would start off in Tesco’s at 7.30am, grab the few things I need from there, then head to B&M and Aldi for when they open at 8am. I quickly grab what I need from B&M and then I head into Aldi.

Aldi – A Dream for the #ActuallyAutistic

As someone who is #ActuallyAutistic, I have to say that Aldi is my favourite supermarket by far for a variety of reasons. The main thing is that everything I want is in the same place week after week, except for what is referred to as the “middle aisles.” These are where the offers are that change weekly. I can go into any Aldi store anywhere in the UK and the layout is identical. This makes the weekly food shop a dream for me.

I also don’t get any sensory overload due to too much choice. Aldi stock far fewer lines than the likes of Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s Asda and Morrison’s so I am not stood in the cereal aisle deciding on one brand against another. This makes choosing what I want much easier, and as my shopping list doesn’t change much week after week, I can pick up exactly what I want. Occasionally the odd item I want is out of stock; during my last visit to Aldi I couldn’t get hold of any tagliatelle pasta for example, but that can’t be helped and I can manage that.

Aldi doesn’t play any distracting music either, which is a huge plus.  Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s Asda and Morrison’s winds me up a treat, especially at Christmas when all the Christmas songs are blaring out. This really puts me off doing my shopping and I can’t concentrate, and often forget things even though I always take a shopping list with me.

I’m not sure if Aldi is aware that their stores are perfect for those who are #ActuallyAutistic and for those who like everything in its place and everything to be in order. Nothing is moved around to different places and I can get exactly what I want quickly and easily as they layout of the store never changes.

And if all of that isn’t enough, everything they stock is incredible value for money. I’ve saved loads since I have been shopping at Aldi, but I would do my weekly food shop in there even if it wasn’t the cheapest, because it is such an autism friendly store. Doing my weekly food shopping is no longer something I dread, thanks to Aldi!

What do you think?

What are your experiences of doing the weekly food shop or shopping in general? I’d love to hear from you!

If you have an experience or thoughts on topics related to Neurodiversity, that you would like to write about then please get in touch.

Author image

About Rosemarie Simmons

Rosemarie Simmons was diagnosed as autistic in 2018 at the age of 44. Neurodivergent & proud, she uses her experiences to raise awareness of autism & living in a world that is set up for neurotypicals