Aldi Aisle of Shame Community: Birds of a feather flock together and 'caw caw' proudly

·6 min read
Aldi fan Cheryl Van Dyke poses for a photo in the Aisle of Shame in Chester. "I'm shameful because I'm getting this book right now," Van Dyke quipped.
Aldi fan Cheryl Van Dyke poses for a photo in the Aisle of Shame in Chester. "I'm shameful because I'm getting this book right now," Van Dyke quipped.

Do you "caw caw" while shopping for groceries? Let me explain...

Recently, I became an Aldi grocery store fan. Its spacious aisles, great prices, friendly service, speedy checkout, and Aisle of Shame turn me on.

Before going any further, let's get something straight from the get-go. The "s" in Aldi is nonexistent.

Until I joined the Aldi Aisle of Shame Community on Facebook, I unknowingly added an "s" at the end. Be warned...true fans find the mistake highly offensive. Ha!

Aisle of Shame items in the Chester Aldi on Wednesday, Nov. 24.
Aisle of Shame items in the Chester Aldi on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

Back to the human bird call...

As a newbie, I kept coming across posts that mentioned "caw caw". I got curious and visited aisleofshame.com.

It states crows are known for making a call that sounds like “caw caw caw” to find companion birds. Crows will often “caw” several times and then wait in silence, presumably listening for a response.

Shoppers "caw caw" to identify other Aldi fans. Who started this phenomenon?

According to Aisle of Shame's website, the earliest mention they could find in their group was on Aug. 7 last year in a discussion between Tayloranne Block, Carol Escobar Martell, and Martha Childers-Bauers.

Block planted the idea of squawking like birds in the aisles and waiting for a response. Martell suggested that Block go first. Childers-Bauers excitedly added, "caw caw ca caaawwww!"

The last beer advent calendar on the shelf at the Chester Aldi on Nov. 4, 2021.
The last beer advent calendar on the shelf at the Chester Aldi on Nov. 4, 2021.

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In January, Aisle of Shame group member Rae Beth Outland posted, "Does the group have a secret code for finding other members in the store? Like a secret handshake or saying? If not it needs one."

"I vote we just 'Caw Caw' and see who does it back. Kind of like a Marco Polo thing," replied Stephanie Horton.

Another member Mina Anderson Gray provided the "Story of the Caw CAWWW" but many members doubted its authenticity.

Once I figured out the "caw caw" significance, I visited the Chester Aldi to see if my human bird call would scrounge up a fan. Sadly, it did not, but I did interview some Aisle of Shame shoppers.

Patricia Richards poses for a photo with the rug she scored in the "Aisle of Shame" at Aldi in Chester.
Patricia Richards poses for a photo with the rug she scored in the "Aisle of Shame" at Aldi in Chester.

What is Aisle of Shame?

The seasonal merchandise aisle that changes from week to week is where shoppers discover amazing deals on hot seasonal items.

When they're gone...they're gone! The items clearly sourced from the "left field" or perhaps "outer space" generally will not be restocked. Grab em' or kiss them goodbye!

Sign on display in the Aldi Aisle of Shame in Chester.
Sign on display in the Aldi Aisle of Shame in Chester.

Each week, Aldi stocks its Aisle of Shame according to its new theme. Most items are not edible. Items vary greatly and shoppers never know what to expect.

"You just never know what you can find but when you do find something it's really off-kilter in a good way," Patricia Richards of Chesterfield said.

Richards, who teaches at Chester Early Childhood Learning Academy, had a tough time finding a bubble blower for her preschool class, but she found one at Aldi.

"Look at this education rug with swimming sea horses and an octopus," Richards said while holding her latest Aldi find. "It's only $19.99."

From left to right, friends Angelia Higgins and Christine Mosconi shop together in the Aldi "Aisle of Shame" in Chester.
From left to right, friends Angelia Higgins and Christine Mosconi shop together in the Aldi "Aisle of Shame" in Chester.

Birds of a feather flock together

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Friends Angelia Higgins of Chester and Christine Mosconi of Hopewell shop at Aldi often.

"I love Aldi. They don't have all the brand names, but their own is just as good," Mosconi said. "This aisle is interesting. You never know what you might find."

Mosconi had a roller cabinet in her shopping cart that she was going to use in her bathroom.

"Look here...in other places, you're going to pay $3 or more for this, but here it is $1.23," Angelia Higgins said while holding up a bag of Clancy's Cheese Puffed Corn.

"Some of Aldi's prices are lower than Walmart," Mosconi added.

The Franco family walks their Aldi finds out to their vehicle in Chester.
The Franco family walks their Aldi finds out to their vehicle in Chester.

Die-hard Aldi fans

"Aldi knows the market, the industry, and what's hot at the time," Amy Fobbs of Chesterfield said. "They purchase it, and it's always cheaper than Walmart and Lidl. Seasonal items are very well priced."

After shopping around for dry erase markers, Fobbs discovered she could purchase twice the quantity of them for half the price at Aldi.

"I shame myself all the time, so I'm cool with it," Fobbs quipped.

Item for sale during the summer of 2021 in the Aisle of Shame at the Chester Aldi.
Item for sale during the summer of 2021 in the Aisle of Shame at the Chester Aldi.

According to Fobbs, pet supply items are hands down better than everyone else's such as raincoats, leashes, and harnesses.

"Buy an item the minute you see it or it won't be there the next day," Fobbs suggested.

Fobbs's best friend and fellow Aldi fan Cheryl Van Dyke stated wittingly, "I'm shameful because I'm getting this 'Minions' book right now."

In the parking lot, I interviewed self-proclaimed Aldi nerd Sandy Rigsby of Chester who is one of 553.6K members in a Facebook group.

"I'm a member of the Aldi Nerd Community RECIPE GROUP!!!," Rigsby said. "We share meal planning tips and recipes using Aldi products."

"I love Aldi's variety, quality, and prices," Rigsby said. "You can't beat it. I buy almost anything especially kids educational toys, shoes, and bathing suits."

Rigsby provides a good tip, "Keep an eye out for red $1 off stickers to save even more."

Self-proclaimed Aldi nerd Sandy Rigsby holds up cheesy bread sticks that she purchased at the discount supermarket chain in Chester.
Self-proclaimed Aldi nerd Sandy Rigsby holds up cheesy bread sticks that she purchased at the discount supermarket chain in Chester.

Silence of the Caw Caw

Rigsby knew about fans 'caw cawing' and has heard them, but she has not been brave enough to respond...as of yet.

Angelia Higgins was not aware of the whole "caw caw" thing, but intrigued by the idea, she proudly 'caw cawed'. We excitedly listened for "caw cawing" in the distance, but all we heard was silence.

Aldi Aisle of Shame Community member Jack Gee provides reviews and posts shirtless selfies holding his latest Aldi finds.

"I finally found them, cant wait to try. I had the Carmel apple cookies and they were fantastic," Gee posted. "Also got the pumpkin spice cold coffee. Sadly, I caw caw'd and got no response."

Sign displayed in the Aisle of Shame at the Chester Aldi location.
Sign displayed in the Aisle of Shame at the Chester Aldi location.

Easy to splurge

I chatted with the Franco family as they loaded groceries into their vehicle.

"I love the 'Aisle of Shame'," Kayla Franco of Chester said. "I'm not sure about my husband but that aisle makes me think I need that stuff."

Quirky items make their way into my cart. Do I need them? Not really, but I'm happily preventing non-buyer's remorse.

My most recent score was a Belgian chocolate advent calendar. It was the last one on the shelf!

Unless shipping delays occur, I'm hoping to snag one of their holiday gnomes: Lumber Jack – Firewood Friend, Chillin’ Dylan – R&R Rockstar, Snowy Sam – Cocoa King, or Cozy Ken – World-Class Cuddler which are scheduled to hit the shelves on Dec. 1.

Check out the Aldi's Aisle of Shame at 11100 Iron Bridge Road in Chester and 465 Charles Dimmock Parkway in Colonial Heights.

For more information about Aldi and to find a store near you, visit aldi.us.

- Kristi K. Higgins aka The Social Butterfly columnist is the trending topics and food Q&A reporter at The Progress-Index. Have a news tip on local trends or businesses? Contact Kristi (she, her) at khiggins@progress-index.com, follow @KHiggins_PI on Twitter, and subscribe to us at progress-index.com.

This article originally appeared on The Progress-Index: Aldi Aisle of Shame Community on Facebook "caw caw" to find each other