13 Facts Only Real Aldi Fans Know About The Aisle Of Shame
If you’re not familiar with the Aldi aisle of shame (AOS) then it’s time for your enlightenment: The Aldi aisle of shame is that magical aisle at Aldi that stocks everything from seasonal goodies to housewares and clothing. If you’ve ever gone to Aldi for a gallon of milk and sheepishly come out with a cartload of goodies, you’re not alone, and you can now likely understand why this aisle is lovingly called the aisle of shame.
Since the contents of the aisle change frequently, Aldi fans know to check it every time they visit to find out what’s new. The aisle has a large following. Millions of fans regularly post on social media to discuss their latest finds at Aldi. These conversations often result in excited customers dashing to Aldi and grabbing items they didn’t know they needed. Sometimes, consumers may actually visit several different Aldi locations and even travel out of state to do so.
The aisle of shame is one of the many reasons that Aldi has become the most popular grocery store in the U.S. There are so many secrets to know about this bewitching aisle. If you do plan on visiting Aldi, then you’ll want to learn when to shop, how to find items you want when they’re not available locally, and if it’s possible to ever see a hot product on shelves again. There’s even a secret password that every Aldi aisle of shame customer should know so they can find other fans.
1. Aisle of shame addicts check the website for Aldi Finds
Aisle of shame addictions begin innocently enough. First, you find something interesting in the (mainly) non-food aisle at Aldi. Then, the next thing you know, you’re going back every week to find out which new items pique your interest. And once you start realizing that Aldi sells new merchandise on a weekly basis, it’s not long before you begin looking forward to aisle-of-shame updates every week.
If you don’t already know, you can preview Aldi’s aisle of shame products in the weekly advertisements, which are available in a paper version at the stores and on the website. The Aldi website also lists additional Aldi finds of the week that may not be in the weekly advertisements.
Each item is categorized into various sections: Decorative items, outdoor items, items for children, and items for pets. However, some of the items in the Aldi finds section may show up elsewhere in the store, especially if they are refrigerated food items. If you want to plan out your Aldi purchases in advance, then the website also lists upcoming Aldi finds.
2. Some fans line up outside Aldi stores to snag AOS items
If you’ve ever driven by an Aldi on Wednesday morning and wondered why there’s a line of people outside, it’s often because there’s a great deal available. New items hit the shelves on Wednesday mornings, and those in the know are there to snag the exciting new items at great prices.
While the Wednesday morning line may be filled with people wanting to get a good deal on marked-down meat, it also tends to be filled with aisle-of-shame enthusiasts who want to get a jump start on coveted items from the goody aisle before they’re gone.
Seasonal items, legendary items from previous that have returned, and items customers have been eyeing elsewhere for a higher price are all fair game for the Wednesday morning madness shopping frenzy at Aldi. Since Wednesday is also the day that higher-priced items from the week before get marked down in some stores, it’s a good day to try to snag a high-price item for less.
3. Aisle of shame items are often in limited supply
While we hate that our favorite items aren’t available at Aldi all year, it’s really a genius idea to have constantly-rotating stock to get shoppers in the door each week. Aldi finds are often only available for a certain amount of time. So, it’s entirely possible to walk in soon after the store opens on a Wednesday morning only to find that the item you were looking for is long gone because one or several customers already bought them all. Although, if there’s a high-demand item, some stores will limit how many a single customer can purchase.
Since Aldi doesn’t keep a running tally of what’s available to purchase in the store like other stores often do, you have to come to the store in person to find out if they have what you want. Plus, you cannot call your Aldi store and ask for an aisle of shame item on hold, and nor can you ask the store to give you a raincheck in case additional stocks of the item come in. So, if you see an item in the flyer or on the website that you want, you’d better buy it while it’s available.
4. It’s easy to leave Aldi with a cartload of AOS items
It’s nearly impossible to walk into Aldi with the intention of buying just one thing, like a gallon of milk, and not leave with several things. You can strategize by not getting a cart and heading straight for that one aisle with the item you intend to buy. However, it’s always tempting to take a quick look at the aisle of shame. Even if you don’t walk through the aisle purposefully, end-cap items near the register will sometimes speak to you, or the checkout line may even curve through the aisle of shame. Then, it’s fate, and you just can’t help but look.
The aisle of shame lives up to its name the moment you find yourself walking out with a cartload of hiking boots, a wreath, a seasonal gnome or two, and a wine fridge, only to realize you completely forgot the milk you came in to buy. It’s not just huge Aldi fans who get lured into loading up their carts with $100 worth of items from everyone’s favorite shopping aisle: It could happen to anyone.
5. Social media fuels the aisle of shame frenzy
Once upon a time, you could breeze through the aisle of shame without a lot of peer pressure egging on your buying habits. However, Aldi aisle of shame fans really rally together online these days, and fans have several forums to discuss the latest finds and spur on their fanaticism.
Facebook’s popular Aldi aisle of shame community began all the way back in 2004, and it currently has over 1.54 million members. A quick look at Facebook reveals dozens of other aisle-of-shame communities. You can also find similar social media accounts on other social media platforms like Instagram or by following #aisleofshame hashtags.
Customers who find something they really like at Aldi tend to post pictures and gush about it, which fans the flame of interest for others. Suddenly, everyone’s rushing to Aldi to buy that cute pair of shoes or that adorable wine bottle cozy that can double as a sweater for tiny pups.
6. One aisle of shame dress went viral
An Aisle of Shame dress went viral during the 2022 holiday season. The Aldi Aisle of Shame’s social media pages were flooded with people wearing the dress, and people were searching high and low to find a dress in their size at their local Aldi store. The dress was so popular that it appeared in a news report by Good Morning America. However, even the newscaster reporting on the dress was unable to find the dress even after searching for it in multiple different stores.
"The dress" was a stretchy, sparkly wrap-style dress that you could dress up or dress down for nearly any occasion. It was flattering on a wide variety of body shapes, making Aldi customers even more obsessed with it. Customers were surprised that a $13 dress was such high quality and fit so well. Since then, Aldi customers have paid more attention to other clothing items they may have previously overlooked, like the super-soft oversized cardigan and the comfy velvet lounge dress.
7. Some legendary items generate shopping frenzies
A combination of social media hype and advertisements from Aldi alert Aldi shoppers about the items that are currently available in-store. Sometimes, all it takes is one post on the aisle of shame Facebook group to prompt shoppers to head to Aldi and look for a specific item. A wicker egg chair was all the rage in 2022, while a hanging wicker lamp was the key Aldi AOS item in 2023.
It doesn’t take long for an item to reach legendary status, either. All it takes is one post of the advertisement for ’80s-style rainbow-striped sweats on social media, and suddenly, numerous people have liked and commented on it, and you know very few, if any, will be left in the store within 24 hours of the sweats hitting the shelves.
Other legendary items attain their popularity from a single photo posted by a happy customer. A Thursday-morning post with a photo of a customer wearing her new pretty yellow shoes can magically result in multiple comments online and the shoes flying off the shelves.
8. Customers go to multiple Aldi stores to find AOS items
Some people get so excited about aisle-of-shame products that they don’t give up when their local store doesn’t have the product they wanted. Some larger cities are lucky enough to have multiple Aldi stores for Aldi hopping, so it’s not unusual for people to hit every Aldi in their city looking for that one special item. However, shoppers have been known to go to Aldi stores in surrounding cities or even other states to look for that elusive aisle of shame must-have item in the right color and size.
Some items that have inspired aisle-of-shame devotees to visit several Aldi stores include Christmas decorations, the perfect piece of furniture, or a favorite scented candle. Sometimes, people go to multiple stores to locate as many of their favorite limited-time treats as possible, like Candy Cane Chocolate Sandwich Cremes cookies although it seems like intriguing types of alcohol are most likely to inspire out-of-state trips since some states’ liquor laws prevent Aldi from selling alcohol.
9. Some enthusiasts pay people to find items for them
When all else fails, desperate shoppers will appeal to members of the aisle of shame social media communities to help them find an item. Aldi shoppers, after looking high and low for that one magical item, will often promise to pay the cost of the product plus shipping if anyone anywhere can find one and mail it to them. These items range from pet de-shedding rakes to favorite coffee flavors that don’t seem to be available anymore. There’s also a public Aldi AOS Buy and Trade group on Facebook, where members can post the details of the item they’re looking for in the hopes that people from other cities can send it to them.
While the intense desire for certain rare items can seem a little materialistic, sometimes the stories are a little more heartwarming. One mom wrote to other aisle of shame fanatics asking if they could be on the lookout for a special Cabbage Patch toy her son had lost when they moved out of a toxic living situation. She had rushed to Aldi when she saw them advertised, but the toys were already sold out. The aisle of shame community was quick to find and send one to make her little boy happy.
10. Some hot items return after multiple years
While many items you see at Aldi will never return again, there’s always hope that they will. There have been plenty of legendary products that have disappeared from stores only to return in a different year. Aldi Advent calendars are among the items that customers expect every year. However, other items aren’t as predictable. Aldi’s pink thermal pajamas featuring wine glasses have always sold like hotcakes. Lucky customers have been able to score Aldi wine pajamas in 2019, 2020, and 2022.
The popular lavender-infused microwavable slippers showed up on shelves both in 2020 and 2021, which made working remotely all that much cozier in those early Covid-19 pandemic days. An extremely in-demand accent cabinet appeared in the magic aisle in 2020, 2022, and 2023, and only the colors and door numbers have been different. The Jesus Erin table is another legendary item that has made a return to shelves. This table has an interesting story.
A former aisle of shame community member named Erin posted a screenshot of a text conversation she had with her husband about buying the table in 2021 (via Aldi Aisle of Shame). She was excited that people who came over to visit would finally have a place to sit and eat. He responded by saying, "Jesus Erin. We don’t have chairs." From then onwards, the table was known as the "Jesus Erin" table, and it even has its own #JesusErin hashtag. The popular table reemerged in 2022.
11. Aisle of shame discounts draw flurries of shoppers
Not all Aldi stores offer a discount on the same items. However, when items aren’t moving off the shelves from one week to the next and the store has to make room for new stock, it’s always advantageous for the store to drop the prices a little. You’ll usually notice any markdowns on Wednesday mornings. If a holiday is over and a new one is right around the corner, you can expect leftover holiday-specific items will be available at a discount.
However, you should also be on the lookout for a markdown on higher-priced items from the previous week. For example, when the highly-coveted $500 patio egg chair was marked down to $65, it was suddenly within reach of more customers who wanted to buy it but couldn’t afford it at $500 or even the first markdown price of $230. When markdowns like that happen, and word gets around, higher-priced items start selling like hotcakes.
12. The aisle of shame has had some secret passwords
Do you remember anyone asking you where you can find the ranch dressing while you were at Aldi? If so, they were trying to determine if your dogged interest in the aisle of shame was because you were an AOS Facebook community member. The correct answer to "Where’s the ranch?" is "Where the deer and the antelope play." If you just pointed the shopper to the condiment aisle instead of completing the passphrase, they’d dejectedly know that you weren’t one of them, as they’d hoped you were. This secret password seems to go back to at least 2019.
However, in recent years, the ranch dressing password query seems to have been replaced with something new. If you’re ever in Aldi and hear someone caw like a bird from the aisle of shame, it’s the sound of an Aldi AOS fan searching for fellow fans. The correct response is another "caw caw" until you find each other. While community members may have suggested caw-cawing in 2020, it doesn’t seem to have become a widespread practice until 2021. We have yet to hear a "caw caw" at Aldi, but it’s surely just a matter of time.
13. You can buy aisle of shame fan merchandise
If you’re a big Aldi aisle of shame fan, why not show your love with fan merchandise? If you’re not bold enough to make crow noises in the aisle, you can definitely wear AOS shirts or carry your groceries out in AOS tote bags. A quick search for "aisle of shame" on Etsy reveals more fan merchandise than you would expect. Some of our favorites include a $3 Caw Caw sticker you can put on your laptop or car and the shirts and bags that say "Aisle of shame caw caw calling my name."
There are full sets of AOS Christmas ornaments with sayings like "I went in for milk" and "Why isn’t anyone talking about this?" One fun 12 Days of the AOS Christmas ornament features 12 inside jokes for each day of Christmas. All the jokes come straight from the AOS Facebook community, including the quintessential Jesus Erin joke: We just hope you have enough chairs.