The Aldi Pattern

Follow me here. I promise the title will make sense later on. There’s definitely a pattern to this stuff which will be quite apparent 🙂

This all starts with a comment that I made over at Snoskred’s place regarding brand names for Aldi products. Apparently Aldi use the brand name of Manhattan over in Australia…of course, everyone knows Philadelphia, but do you know Happy Farms?

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Unless you shop at Aldi, you don’t. 🙂

And if you have an Aldi near to you, it’s well worth checking out if you’re interested in saving money – which last I checked, everyone is (I’m assuming people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates may not be, but they are probably spendthrifts). There are stores that have very competitive prices to Aldi, but none are as prevalent as the German store.

As you can see in the picture above, the Colby Jack cheese (Happy Farms brand) is $1.89/8oz (225g +2g) – typically for name brand cheeses like Kraft, it’ll be at least a dollar more, so the savings are very clear.

How can Aldi do it? Private Labelling of products. That’s why we have things like –

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Savoritz Cheese Crackers instead of Cheez-Its (12.4oz @ Wal-Mart for $2.88). Fancy something sweet? How about these…

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Benton’s Vanilla Wafers (these are actually vanilla-creme filled wafer cookies, not to be confused with Nilla wafers, of which the Benton’s brand covers).

There are more sweets, but as you go along, there’s one pattern beginning…each category has its own brand name. Here are just a few examples in this picture of items that I have in my kitchen –

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We have the following brands in this photo –

  • Boulder – Plastic wrap and other food storage such as plastic bags
  • L’Oven Fresh – Breads from traditional sliced white to hot dog and hamburger buns
  • Lunch Mate – Literally anything you would chuck into a school or work lunch…lunch meats, fruit cups, etc.
  • Casa Mamita (little mother’s house) – Some of the Mexican range, but now there is also Puebla Linda (pretty town) in the range
  • Sweet Harvest – canned fruits in sauce
  • Reggano – Run-of-the mill pasta. Speciality pastas will fall under the Priano brand usually
  • Baker’s Choice – Puddings, cake mixes, flour, chocolate chips – all of your baking supplies 🙂
  • Fit&Active – This is the name that Aldi use as a catch-all for anything in their healthier range of foods (low-fat, low sodium, etc.)
  • Countryside Creamery – Butter, margarine, spreads fall
  • Happy Harvest – Canned and easy-to-prepare vegetables (the sweet corn in the picture can be made in the microwave in about 30-45 seconds and serves 1)
  • Chef’s Cupboard – Coatings for fried foods – breadcrumbs, stuffings, easy side dishes like instant mashed potatoes

Take special note of the bottom three…notice anything peculiar about them? Aldi accepts the active adoption of alliteration when assigning aliases.

Here’s some more alliteration –

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There is one other brand that deserves a quick mention, mostly because it’s one that will appear from time to time as a way to prevent homesickness for Aldi (specifically Aldi Süd, but Aldi Nord operates here too…and it’s actually the same company!)…Deutsche Kuche – this is pork Schnitzel, but they will have traditional German bratwurst, pretzels in a can, and other German goodies available from time to time….all of it made in Germany 🙂

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So…are there any particular brands that you like to buy, or are you more into saving money and picking up a high-quality substitute under a non-brand name?

The Bridge I Couldn’t Go On

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The International Bridge in Michigan. heading over to Ontario. From Sault Sainte Marie to Sault Sainte Marie.

Why couldn’t I go on this bridge? It was 2010, and just over a year before I would receive my passport, in advance of my trip to Australia.

There is more to the story of how I got to this bridge, though even though I didn’t set foot in Canada, my phone decided it would try to jump the border!

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Right Team, Wrong City

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N932AT, painted in Milwaukee Brewers “retro” colours at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

This was in 2010. At that time, AirTran had just been purchased by Southwest, and their Boeing 717s were eventually sold off to Delta and the 737s were repainted in Southwest’s colours.

This example? According to planespotters.net, it’s living at Litchfield Airport outside of Phoenix, possibly waiting the call-up from Delta to work in their fleet of McDonnell-Douglas products.

The Best Space Movie? OR…

The BEST Space Movie?

For only about the third or fourth time in my entire life I went to the cinema to watch a new release movie. All of the other movies that I’ve watched have been on either my TV set or on a computer monitor. Literally, these are the movies that I’ve watched in the cinema –

  • Look Who’s Talking Too (this one I’m questionable about)
  • The Santa Clause 2
  • Avatar
  • And now…

The Martian. If you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is –

The premise is quite simple – it’s the 3rd manned mission to Mars under NASA’s Ares program, and the crew is forced to abort the mission due to an extremely severe storm. When leaving, they lose signal with one of their party – Mark Watney – and are forced to leave him assuming that he had died from whatever cause the loss of signal.

It turns out that he isn’t dead…and that’s where we begin.

I won’t get into the whole story, and I apologize for not having screenshots, since it’s a movie still in cinemas, you should watch it yourself as well as read the original book by Andy Weir.

Immediately after the movie ended, I opened my phone and started creating a list of observations (while texting back and forth with Snoskred who was going into her theater simultaneously as I was leaving mine…something which didn’t click for me until she mentioned that it would end at 4:06pm, or about 3 hours after it finished for me). I’ll get back to the list in a moment 🙂

My initial impression? Wow, that was an awesome movie! After Snoskred and her other half had watched it, she asked me a question –

“Best space movie ever?”

I said right away that I thought it was equal with Apollo 13 (incidentally, the only movie I own on both DVD and Blu-Ray), but thinking about it more, I am thinking that The Martian might just have a slight lead over Apollo 13. 😉

I’m so glad that I went to see it in the cinemas on opening day. Why is that? Firstly, the room was full so you could hear when people’s reactions throughout the movie. Second – I could have gone to the nearest theater to me and seen it in either 2D or 3D with good seating; however, I chose to drive further afield (to what is, probably, the most affluent suburb in the area) where they have something called “UltraScreen DLX”, meaning that this is the seat that you are in –

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And there isn’t another row of seats just inches in front of you – in fact, you have 7 feet (2m) of legroom in front of you – enough to fully recline the chair, which reclined like one of those airline lie flat seats you get in first class. BUT to the best of my knowledge, you don’t pay a penny more for this experience than you do if you take normal seating. In fact, my ticket cost me a total of $10.60 (of which I had prepaid $7.60).

The snacks I purchased – 1 litre of water and a small popcorn – cost more than the ticket itself!

I got to the cinema at about 7:32 for the 7:30 showing – I managed to get what I will say is the best seat in the house –

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Just about dead centre of the theatre and not at the back or the front – thought I almost wound up in the front row since I thought it was displayed with the back at the top of the screen and the front at the bottom when I picked my seat!

Anyway, I make my way to the theatre just in time for the final three trailers, and the movie starts.

When Mark says one of “those” words, there was an audible chuckle from the audience, and that is the reaction throughout the whole movie. 🙂

Here’s the point where I’m going to put in the more tag as there will be spoilers

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