The Clever Reason Aldi Products Are Covered With Barcodes

Aldi stores are unique. No other store requires you to deposit a quarter to get a cart, it was one of the first stores to encourage shoppers to bring their own shopping bags, and its cashiers are hyper-focused on getting you through the line in as little time as possible.

This business model seems to be working for Aldi. The first U.S. store opened in Iowa in 1976, there are now 2,000 stores across the country, and the chain employs over 25,000 people. Aldi continues to be no-frills, is well-known for its low prices, and 90% of the products sold are Aldi's private-label (per Aldi).

While some stores use techniques to get shoppers to spend as much time as possible in the store, hoping they'll spend more money, Aldi takes a different approach. Per its website, Aldi wants you to be able to "get in, get out and get home to your family," so efficiency and speed are a key part of its business model. They do business differently.

A no-fail scanning system

Working at Aldi can be stressful. The cashiers are closely watched to see how quickly they can get customers through a line. To set its employees up for success, the company does everything possible to streamline the checkout process. Cashiers have ergonomically designed stations with a chair to be more productive and ring out orders faster. Customers are even encouraged to insert their credit card into the reader before their items are totaled to save time (via U.S. Sun).

The checkout process requires as little time and as few movements as possible, which is why Aldi products have so many barcodes. No matter how a cashier picks up an item, they will find a barcode ready to scan. The larger size eliminates the need for the cashier to be precise in scanning, which can save considerable amounts of time over the course of the day. According to Forbes, this barcode strategy allows cashiers to check out items 40% faster than rival stores. This speed and efficiency enable Aldi to keep its prices low.

Be kind to your cashier

There's another reason you may feel rushed through the line at Aldi. The cashiers are only allowed two seconds between each customer, so if you're not prepared when the person in front of you has finished, you'll be slowing down the line and putting pressure on the cashier (per Over Sixty). This policy isn't just for stores in the U.S. CambridgeshireLive shares that Aldi cashiers are notoriously speedy but are "... trained to tailor their scanning rate to match the pace of the customer."

Here are a few ways to reduce stress for those hardworking Aldi cashiers. Have all your items ready with barcodes running in the right direction for easy scanning (remember, 10% of Aldi's products are not store brand and don't have large barcodes). Have your payment method ready and insert your card into the reader before they begin to ring up your items, and be friendly but not overly chatty. Be kind to your Aldi cashier. It's the right thing to do.