IKEA Employees Share Behind-The-Scenes Details About The Furniture Giant

It’s never a bad time to think about IKEA. No matter what life throws at us, the gentle giant of Swedish home shopping will always be there to welcome us into its cozy maze of functional home solutions, affordable prices, and comforting throw pillows. Many of us know the store like the back of our hand, but there are still juicy secrets hidden inside its yellow-and-blue walls — and we aren’t talking about the lingonberry sauce.

You know those giant, overflowing bins full of colorful gizmos, with a big yellow price sign hanging above them? They’re kept well-stocked to get you to spend money. According to the principle of bulla bulla, if shoppers see something in excess, they’re likely to think it’s less expensive and a better deal.

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You’d think early mornings would be the best time to beat the IKEA crowds, but it turns out a lot of other shoppers think the same thing. For some real peace and quiet, go on a weekday, a few hours after it opens.

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Most IKEA shoppers know about the “as is” section, which sells returned or slightly damaged products for a discount. The best time to shop in this section is on Monday mornings, when it’s fully stocked with all the weekend’s returns.

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All of the interior walls in IKEA’s showrooms are movable. You won’t notice it during the day, but at night employees can unlock secret wheels at the bottom of the walls and rearrange the store layout for easy cleaning.

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Tuckered out? All the beds in IKEA’s showroom are available to try for a quick nap. Employees will let you snooze, as long as you’re not there for more than a few hours. Germaphobes beware: the bedlinens only get changed if they look dirty.

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While shopping, you might hear interesting things over the IKEA announcement system — specifically employees mentioning “codes.” Their meanings vary: a Code 22 means the registers are swamped, while a Code 99 means a child’s lost in the store. Code 1000 means the building needs to be evacuated.

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If, for any reason, you need to get out of an IKEA fast, don’t worry. The store layouts have shortcuts built in for just these situations. Look for curtains and service doors subtly nestled in walls; unless they’re marked “Employees Only,” you can use them.

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Don’t get too attached to those shortcuts, though. IKEA wants to make sure you take time to see everything they’ve got on offer, so they regularly change the locations of the hidden doors.

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IKEA’s maze of a layout is more than just clever — it even has a name. It’s called the Long Natural Way. Carefully engineered to keep shoppers curious and interested, the Way never goes more than 50 feet without curving, so you don’t get bored on your journey.

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IKEA was founded on the principle of lista, which means “making do with what you have”. Their CEO, a frugal guy, recycles teabags, saves condiment packets, and drives an old car. His way of life translates into the store’s policy of doubling their employees as models for magazine shoots.

There’s lista in action inside the store, too. IKEA’s bookshelf displays are stocked with books the employees bring from home, which get rotated out as the displays change. It saves money, and also helps those fake rooms look so realistic.

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We know the Lack coffee table is popular, but what about other IKEA bestsellers? The Billy bookshelf, Poäng chair, Malm bed, Rens sheep rug, and Ektorp sofa all take top marks. As for the most popular food offering…it’s the meatballs.

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There’s a name for that part of IKEA stores where everything seems to be colorful, fun, small, and magically on sale. It’s usually near the cash registers, and IKEA staff call it the Open The Wallet section…for good reason.

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Once the store closes for the night, and all the customers are gone, the employees apparently go wild. According to former staff, they play many rounds of hide and seek among the displays and race each other on pallet jacks in the warehouse.

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Stick around long enough as an IKEA employee, and you’ll get rewards that go above and beyond the normal staff discount. One employee got a bike for his one-year anniversary; the next year, he got a Roku. Others have reported getting airplane tickets to go anywhere they wanted.

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IKEA staff aren’t supposed to bother shoppers by interrupting to ask if they need anything. Rather, they make themselves available for customers to come up to them, unless someone is struggling with something heavy — then they’re allowed to jump in.

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Ever ordered IKEA furniture, but discovered a piece was missing? Luckily, the store has a spare parts section just for that reason. You can go to the store and get a replacement piece, or even just call them up and have them ship it to you, no charge.

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How does IKEA come up with those product names? It has a method: its shelves get named after jobs — Expedit, for instance, means shopkeeper in Swedish — and its bookcases have boy names. Bed linens are named for plants, curtains are given ladies’ names, and rugs are named after Swedish towns.

If an IKEA product is hot on Pinterest, it’s likely there will be a rush on that product at item stores. Managers often keep an eye on the internet to see what decor ideas are going viral, and then order extra stock accordingly.

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Employees are tolerant of customer behavior, but the one thing you shouldn’t do is open boxes on the sales floor. Once opened, products can’t be sold; besides, you’ll be able to double check an item’s contents at checkout. And that’s not the only shopping no-no.

Just like IKEA offers meatball samples, other stores offer samples to slow you down. Don’t take the bait! Sure, samples also get you to try a product, but they mainly keep you from rushing through the aisles, buying only what you need. Keep an eye out for these grocery store tricks.

If you’re looking to only grab the essentials — bread, milk, eggs — shop around the perimeter of the store. Avoiding the center aisles will let you bypass the allure of junk food. Your bank account and your body will thank you!

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Buying in bulk is usually cheaper, but that’s not always the case. Opting for a couple of smaller containers rather than one big one could be smarter. Just do a little math to compare the costs and amounts of food. And yes, you can use your phone calculator.

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Everybody loves a deal, though don’t let those exciting signs mislead you. When a sale notice advertises multiple items for a single cost, you don’t have to buy that many to take advantage of the deal. It’s just a trick to get you to purchase more than you need.

“Layering” isn’t just a fashion term anymore. It also means applying multiple coupons to a single item, as long as the fine print allows it. You’ll end up paying a fraction of full price, plus you’ll get a decent workout clipping all those coupons.

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Like everything else in life, your shopping will be a much bigger success if you go in with a plan. By writing a list beforehand, you can ensure you pick up all the items you need, without wasting funds on goods that just happen to catch your eye.

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You don’t have to be a newsie to stock up on newspapers, especially the Sunday edition. If you spot a great deal in the coupon section, buy a whole bunch. During your next visit to the store, you’ll be saving a lot of extra, extra cash.

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We all know how fragile eggs are, and yet tons of people don’t check out the eggs inside their carton. Obviously, any cracked shells are a no-go. And if any break on your trip home, please do not eat them!

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You know that pleasant mist that regularly sprays in the produce section? Secretly, it’s more to make the veggies seem appetizing than to keep them fresh. Overly moist greens can actually rot faster, so make sure to shake off the water before you pack anything.

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Financially speaking, one of the worst things you can do is grocery shop while hungry. Always eat a little bit beforehand, even if it’s just a snack in your car. Otherwise, your eyes will be bigger than your stomach — but not your credit card bill.

Even if you love their commercials and catchy jingles, don’t get suckered in by the big name brands. Off-brand products are virtually identical to them, not to mention a whole lot cheaper.

Your saving strategies don’t stop once you put your groceries in the fridge. Surprising as it sounds, sour cream and cottage cheese will last longer if you store them upside down.

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It literally pays off to be friendly with your butcher. Tougher cuts of meats naturally come at a lower cost, but if you have pals behind the counter, they might just be nice enough to tenderize it for you.

Does your supermarket cashier look bored and totally out of it? That’s a sign that you should probably keep an eye on the register. If not, you could wind up having items scanned multiple times.

Online grocery shopping may be less of a luxury than you think. Sure, delivery fees will sink your budget, but many companies have the option to pick up your food in-store. That’ll save you time and money.

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Remember, the expiration dates aren’t just a suggestion. You can make your dairy products last longer by digging around for items with the latest dates. Stores often like to push the older milk toward the front, so don’t be afraid to reach way in the back.

You don’t want to spend your entire grocery budget on cold medicine, do you? It’s smart to wipe down the handle of your shopping cart before you browse the aisles. Supermarket employees rarely clean them, so they get covered in germs.

Convenient as it is, bottled water isn’t your best friend. There’s no problem having some stocked up, but you’re better off drinking from the tap than buying it regularly. And to have water on the go, you can simply invest in a reusable bottle.

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Don’t let the fancy pink salt fool you. Almost all kinds of salt are chemically the same, but if you want to avoid any added agents in table salt, opt for the kosher variety. It’s pure, and it comes in larger flakes!

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There could be cheaper grocery options than your local store. Farmer’s markets have good deals, particularly later in the day when vendors are looking to sell off their remaining inventory.

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Although chicken is usually more affordable than other meats, think twice before picking up a pack of boneless breasts. You can save extra dough by buying thighs instead, or even a whole chicken! It’s way cheaper per pound and provides multiple meals.

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Whether it’s for breakfast or dinner, you can’t go wrong with a couple of bacon slices sandwiched between some soft white bread. And funnily enough, Business Insider claims that Costco offers up some of the nicest options out there. The site notes, you see, that Kirkland’s bacon range earned a very good score on the Consumer Reports webpage.

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As you’ll have probably noticed, Costco has a selection of own-brand products that can only be found at its stores. And these are known as Kirkland Signature. According to Collin Morgan, who runs the Hip2Save.com website, one of the products under that banner is certainly worth grabbing. Indeed, in March 2020 she told GOBankingRates, “Kirkland batteries are actually made by Duracell, but the prices are much less than the name brands.”

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As a cooking staple, olive oil is without doubt an immensely popular household good. So, next time you shop at Costco, you may want to pick up a bottle of Kirkland’s own. As the Discover Lifestyle website points out, the large size of the bottle should keep you going for a very long time.

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For DealNews.com’s Julie Ramhold, Costco’s prices for medication simply can’t be beaten. The consumer expert told GOBankingRates, “… A 30-day supply of generic Zoloft can be as much as $12 at pharmacies like CVS. At Costco, a 90-day supply is closer to $8. That’s roughly 8 cents per pill at Costco versus 40 cents per pill at CVS.”

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In a lot of stores, the amount of cashew nuts in a given packet just isn’t reflected in the price. Fear not, however, as Discover Lifestyle claims that Costco’s options are much better value for money. While their packets may also seem a little on the expensive side, the large quantities should keep your snack cupboard full for longer.

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Costco may be the last store you think of looking in when you need a tire, but it may actually be the ideal place to purchase the rubber covering. For instance, Discover Lifestyle reports that the warehouse’s aptly named Tire Center has an excellent selection that won’t set you back too much. And the staff will even fit them on to your vehicle as well. Result!

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Some organic spreads can put a real strain on your wallet, but one consumer called Grace Guffin claims that Costco has excellent nut butter deals. In a blog post from 2017 called Cooking Light, she revealed, “[A] 27-ounce jar of almond [butter] is only $8 at your local Costco. That’s literally less than 30 cents per ounce.”

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It’s not always easy to find the best deal for a box of eggs. Yet according to a group of users on Reddit, Costco has offered up some great prices in the past. In 2016, for example, one person even claimed that on the store’s subreddit that they found a pack of 36 for $2.30 at a Costco in Gaithersburg, Maryland. And elsewhere, someone claimed that you could get 60 eggs for just $4 in Arizona.

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Rebecca Gramuglia believes that Costco could be your best bet if you’re looking to buy a loved one some flowers. Indeed, the shopping specialist told GOBankingRates, “Costco makes every month feel like Valentine’s Day with their deals on flowers. Skip the $30 to $50 flower arrangement and head over to Costco for big bunches for under $15.”

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As many moms will know, shopping for kids’ clothes can be a costly endeavor, but Rebecca Gramuglia says that you could save yourself a decent amount of money at the famous warehouse. She claimed, “You can always find great deals on baby/toddler clothing and sleeper sets at Costco. Whether you shop online or head to the store, Costco carries Carters, Nautica, Calvin Klein and many more.”

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Everyone needs toilet paper, but thanks to the huge variety on offer, making a selection is sometimes overwhelming. Thankfully, Discover Lifestyle claimed that Costco’s brand is better than most. In fact, according to the website, the Kirkland rolls are massive and boast an excellent quality when compared to other packs.

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Ivo Parashkevov, the man behind the personal-finance artificial-intelligence bot Charlie, hailed the prices of Costco’s cheese selection. The expert told Business Insider in May 2019, “I think you can typically get a pretty large chunk [of Humboldt Fog] for well under $20. Per unit, [parmesan is also] very, very cheap.”

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You can’t go wrong with a bowl of cereal in the morning – or any time of the day, really. But depending on the offers, the boxes can get pretty pricey. According to Ian Parashkevov, though, Costco offers up larger quantities for less money all year round. Crucially, the entrepreneur told Business Insider, “Cereal doesn’t go bad,” so don’t be afraid to stock up when you get the chance.

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For ex-CouponSherpa savings expert Kendal Perez, Costco’s wrapping paper is another product worth considering. She told GOBankingRates, “Costco sells four-packs of heavy-duty wrapping paper for $11.99 – or about $3 per roll. Although you can buy wrapping paper from dollar stores, these rolls only contain about 17.5 square feet of paper – compared to Costco’s 45 square feet per roll.”

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The quality of diapers can vary from label to label – as many parents will no doubt attest. Yet Collin Morgan is of the opinion that Costco’s selection is better than most. She informed Hip2Save.com, “Some Kirkland items are made by bigger name brands. Kirkland diapers are rumored to be made by the manufacturer of Huggies.”

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As the keen bakers will no doubt already know, vanilla extract is always handy to keep around the kitchen. And you might want to consider getting it from Costco next time. As per Discover Lifestyle, you see, the warehouse stores sell the item in sizable quantities. But don’t worry, the content won’t lose its taste over time, either, so there’s no need to rush through it.

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When discussing some of the shop’s best items, Collin Morgan told GOBankingRates, “One of our favorite Costco deals is the classic rotisserie chicken. Costco sells bigger chickens than most grocery stores for $2 to $3 less. These are a great bargain as-is for meals, but we like to buy them for recipes that call for shredded chicken.”

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No pancake dish is complete without a generous helping of maple syrup, but the sweet nectar doesn’t always come at a reasonable price. For instance, OutwitTrade leader editor Katie Holmes told the website that Walmart’s bottles are worth 69 cents per ounce. And she then revealed that Costco values the tasty item at 30 cents cheaper.

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Offers.com boss, Howard Schaffer, believes that you could save some cash on furniture at the warehouse store. He told GOBankingRates, “You can score tables, chairs and tablecloths at Costco in a variety of sizes for a great price. Costco even offers kids tables and buffet tables if you’re looking for something different.”

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Snacks don’t always come cheap, but you’re almost always guaranteed to snap up a bargain at Costco. DadSense.co’s Mike Collins revealed that a 30-ounce container of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish cost $8.99 at a nearby store. Yet a box containing 58 ounces was identically priced at the wholesaler.

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Costco’s laundry detergent can be sold in massive quantities, but shopping specialist Rebecca Gramuglia explained to GOBankingRates why that’s not always a good thing. “Before you’re tempted to buy a year’s supply of detergent from Costco,” she said, “be warned that it typically loses some of its effectiveness after six months. Instead, get a normal-sized container of your favorite detergent at Walmart for a great price.”

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Despite the fact that Costco has a good spice selection, they should apparently be avoided. The condiments are sold in massive containers there, you see, and according to Discover Lifestyle, they supposedly start to lose their potency quite quickly after being opened.

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When discussing the Signateur gas grill on the Costco subreddit, one user wrote, “Do not buy this grill if you like to get a sear/char on your meats. I’ve had this [product] for a little less than a month, and I’m terribly disappointed by the lack of heat it applies to the food. It doesn’t get hot enough to sear a steak without cooking the meat all the way.”

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Toothpaste is essential if you want to maintain your oral health, but Costco apparently isn’t the best place to get it. Discover Lifestyle noted that five boxes together would set you back by just under $10. Interestingly, though, the website claimed that consumers would be able to find better offers elsewhere.

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The Kirkland brand has its own light beer range, but some customers have been less than impressed with the beverage. A user on the Beer Advocate website even went as far to say, “[It] tastes worse than pretty much any light or ice beer I’ve ever had.”

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On the subject of cans, shopping expert Rebecca Gramuglia told GOBankingRates, “Because Costco sells brand-name items, it’s cheaper to buy canned goods at your local supermarket. Pay less by purchasing generic options rather than name-brand products. More often than not, the difference is just the price tag, and generic products are just as tasty or reliable as notable, name brands.”

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Soap and shampoo can set you back by a quite a bit over the year – especially if you go for famous brands. So, Costco could seem like the ideal place to stock up and save a bit of cash. According to Discover Lifestyle, however, customers have said that different shops had better offers on than the wholesaler.

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For those of you who love a spot of baking, you should probably resist the urge to stock up on the products you need at Costco. That’s because even though items such as flour, dried yeast and baking powder can be bought in large quantities, you probably won’t finish them before they go off, according to the Eat This, Not That! website.

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Costco might seem like the ideal place to buy soda in bulk. Discover Lifestyle noted that 35 cans of Dr. Pepper could be purchased for under $10, for instance. But Reader’s Digest, on the other hand, revealed that other stores had better offers on individual products – meaning you’d get them for less.

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Rice is another product that people generally like to buy in large amounts. But Costco might not be the best place to stock up. Indeed, a YouTuber named Flo Lum stated that she’d splashed out $40 on a 25-pound container of Jasmine rice at the warehouse. That was apparently $26 more than what the nearby street vendor had charged.

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No kitchen would be complete without some mustard or ketchup on the shelf. However, Stephanie Nelson – who’s better known as The Coupon Mom – believes that Costco’s sauce bottles are far too large. She told GOBankingRates, “Unless you’re entertaining, pay a lower cost overall by buying sale-priced condiments at the supermarket, with coupons that are frequently available on these items.”

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Anyone browsing around Costco for ground coffee may be tempted by a big bag of Kirkland’s own brand. But Discover Lifestyle has offered a few words of caution: apparently, the contents become less tasty when the seal’s broken.

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In terms of taste, Costco’s milk can’t be faulted. Unfortunately, though, customers can only purchase the dairy product in bulk, and Business Insider reports that two-gallon jugs are the minimum.

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When it comes to tortilla chips, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better offer than the one at Costco. Indeed, Business Insider claims that you can grab a 5-pound pack of Las Fortunitas Tortilla Chips for less than $6. But the quantity is also a detriment, as people will probably struggle to eat them all before they go stale.

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You can buy a number of different books at Costco, though consumer analyst for DealNews.com Julie Ramhold offered an alternative. She told GOBankingRates, “Costco stores can have an okay selection, but you’ll be able to find exactly what you want at Amazon. Even better, opt to support a local indie bookstore – you tend to receive better customer service and you’re supporting [a] local [business], so it’s a win-win.”

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Name-brand clothes can cost a pretty penny at specialist stores on the high street. But you should err on the side of caution if you see any of those garments in Costco. According to Business Insider, there’s a possibility that they won’t be in perfect condition, you see.

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Much like other items, Costco has been known to sell sunscreen in large quantities. Discover Lifestyle reports that the wholesaler offered a pack of three lotions for just $15.99 at one point. Yet due to the use-by date, it’s unlikely that you’ll finish the bottles before needing to throw them out.

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Naturally, finding a good-quality pack of decently priced razors can be quite challenging. In Costco’s case, a box of 14 is valued at $23 – or $1.64 for every razor. Walmart has that figure beat, with GOBankingRates reporting that 12 Gillette-branded shavers cost just over $12 there. And that comes to just $1.05 individually.

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Ex-CouponSherpa savings expert Kendal Perez believes that you’d be better off avoiding Costco if you’re looking to buy a frozen turkey. Instead, she cited a better deal. Perez told GOBankingRates, “I purchased a 14-pound Kroger brand turkey from King Soopers for 69 cents per pound, compared to Costco’s price of 99 cents per pound for Butterball frozen turkeys.”

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While buying lots of fresh food from Costco might seem like a good idea at first, consumer analyst Julie Ramhold advised against it. She informed GOBankingRates, “Unless you’re going to be able to eat it all fairly soon, you run the risk of it going bad. Maybe skip the bulk buy and opt for your local grocery store instead to buy only what you need.”

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If you’re not necessarily after a bulk-buy bargain, though, Aldi is the grocery store that continues to stand out from the crowd. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to spot better-priced items than those at Aldi. So keeping that in mind, we’ve compiled a list that details 20 of the chain’s finest bargains – as well as 20 products which apparently failed to live up to customers’ expectations.

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20. Salsa SauceIf you love salsa, Aldi could be the ideal place to pick up a jar or two, with a blogger named Lydia backing that up. As she wrote on the Thrifty Frugal Mom website, “We love Newman’s Own salsa, but when I can’t get a good deal on it, we use Aldi’s brand. It’s quite tasty and the price is great!”

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In certain stores, seasonal items don’t come cheap for consumers. However, Aldi is known for offering some excellent deals on camping products and other holiday accessories. To give you an example, shoppers could purchase a pop-up tent for just under $30 from the chain in 2019, according to the Aldi Reviewer website.

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If you consider yourself to be a cheese connoisseur, you’ll definitely want to hear this. From brie to gouda, the PureWow website reported that these blocks were available for just $3 at Aldi back in 2018, but that’s not all. Indeed, the store’s white cheddar selections were even cheaper than that, coming in at $2.

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Coconut oil doesn’t always come cheap at supermarkets, but Aldi has been known to buck that trend. For instance, you could pick up a jar for just over $4 back in 2017, much to Crystal Paine’s delight. As the blogger wrote on the Money Saving Mom website, “Their prices on coconut oil are so much better than what you’d pay [in] many other places.”

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Gluten-free items can be hit-or-miss for supermarket shoppers, as the quality varies in different places. If you’re struggling, though, Aldi might be the answer. The chain stocks a large number of specialist products that could serve your dietary needs, while also retaining the flavors that are sometimes lost.

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At $1.34, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more desirable price for a tub of sour cream than Aldi. In addition to that, the quality is said to be pretty high as well, according to Lydia from Thrifty Frugal Mom. She wrote, “I personally think the taste of Aldi sour cream is better than several popular name brands.”

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For customers who prefer to buy their tomatoes in a can, Aldi has offered some eye-catching deals in the past. Paine was certainly impressed, as she recalled on Money Saving Mom. She revealed, “We’ve purchased pretty much all of the Aldi tomato products many times over the years, and had no issues with them. Plus, you can’t really beat the 49 cents price tag!”

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Much like cheese, butter is also reasonably priced at Aldi, with the chain offering better deals than some of its competitors. For example, website Business Insider reported that Walmart would charge you over $1 more for four sticks of the dairy product in 2015. Meanwhile, a 16-ounce quarter cost $3.37 in 2017, compared to Aldi’s price of $2.99.

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If you’re a keen baker, you’ll know that the process can be quite costly. Whether it’s the flour or certain types of sugar, the prices do have a tendency to get pretty high in supermarkets. However, Aldi is slightly different in that regard, as its stores sell those items for relatively small amounts of money, according to the Better Be website.

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Aldi’s milk selection has always been worth looking at, with the chain pricing their gallon bottles at just over $2 each in 2017. And regarding the flavor, Paine had no qualms. As she wrote on Money Saving Mom, “We’ve purchased milk at Aldi for years and had great success with it. I’m not sure that milk ever tastes differently if purchased from different places, but I’d recommend [its] milk.”

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If you’re finding it tough to uncover a good deal on paper plates, Aldi is probably your best bet. Back in 2016, the Frugal on the Prairie website looked at the differences in price between the chain’s products and Walmart. After compiling the figures, the site noted that the disposable dishes were nearly 60 cents cheaper in the former’s stores.

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Whether it’s in a sandwich or a salad, mayonnaise is the perfect condiment to add some additional flavor to your food. But unfortunately, the prices can be more than a little extortionate in certain supermarkets. Aldi isn’t one of them, though, as you can pick up jars for under $2 from its stores, according to Better Be.

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Shopping for berries can be a little perilous at times, but Paine believes Aldi’s offers can’t be beaten. The Money Saving Mom blogger wrote, “I basically can’t stomach paying regular grocery store prices for berries after the deals I’ve gotten at Aldi. A few times per year, they’ll have them on sale for just 99 cents per container!”

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If you love your spices, you’ll no doubt be aware that the prices vary from shop to shop. However, Aldi has stepped up in that regard, offering its customers an excellent deal. Indeed, you could pick up a jar for as little as $1.19. As Lydia noted on Thrifty Frugal Mom, “[That’s] so much cheaper than most brands!”

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While pancakes can be delicious on their own, maple syrup really pushes them over the top. If you’re looking to grab a bottle for a low cost, Aldi could be the answer. The chain sells a product that’s “100 percent Pure” for just over $6, and it’s said to be the nicest brand on the market according to Good Housekeeping magazine.

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It can be difficult to find decently-priced yogurt at times, given the sheer number of brands in supermarkets today. Yet Aldi has tried to make things a bit easier down the years. For instance, a blogger named Lauren Greutman discovered that the shop offered a 32-ounce tub for 50 cents less than Walmart back in 2016.

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When it comes to spreads, it could be argued that peanut butter is the tastiest of all the different options. If you hold that opinion, you might want to direct your focus to Aldi’s selection before stocking up. In the past, the chain has sold jars for just $1.39.

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This is an interesting one. The Statista website reported that the average cost of a standard loaf of bread was $1.32. But according to a writer on the Kitchn site, they purchased a pack for much cheaper than that at Aldi. Indeed, Jelisa Castrodale revealed that she spent just 89 cents on a white loaf in 2018.

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Unsurprisingly, bottles of wine can be very expensive in certain stores. So for the customers who don’t want to spend too much money on the tasty beverage, Aldi is the perfect place to spot a bargain. As it turns out, the chain sells different brands of wine for less than $10 each.

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If you’ve got a sweet tooth, chocolate is the ideal snack to munch on during the day. But once again, these products vary in cost at different supermarkets. So with that in mind, Aldi has looked to grab people’s attention with its pricing strategy. The Food & Wine website revealed that bars were available for as little as $1.99 in 2018.

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20. Potato ChipsAccording to a blogger named Ruth Soukup, you might want to veer away from Aldi’s potato chips. As she wrote on the Living Well Spending Less website, “[The] chips just aren’t as tasty as brand name chips. I’ve also found it always seems like there’s only half a bag of chips once you get Aldi chips open.”

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While Aldi’s paper plates are certainly worth looking at, the same can’t be said about its paper towels and toilet paper. For you see, those two items aren’t favorably priced when compared to other stores. And in some cases, customers might be able to get them for cheaper from competing shops thanks to discount offers, revealed personal finance website Kiplinger.

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Finding the right fruit can be quite tricky in the supermarket, as you have to judge if the produce is ripe or not. With avocados, you can buy them pre-ripened in Aldi for a slightly higher price, but there’s a potential issue there. As reported by The Guardian newspaper, those items are often on the verge of spoiling.

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More often than not, you can’t go wrong with an oven pizza. However, according to the Mashable website, Aldi’s selection isn’t the greatest. The site claims that the chain’s products could use a few additional toppings, while the lack of herbs and spices will also let your taste buds down.

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When it comes to Aldi’s smaller gadgets, you might want to heed this warning from an angry Reddit user. They recalled, “I bought the Ambiano single-serve coffee pot to replace a Keurig that died. WORST COFFEE POT EVER! From the beginning, it blew out the k-cup (many different brands, and had coffee grounds over [the] counter, cup and coffee machine every time.”

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If you’re looking for toiletries, Aldi is well-stocked in that department. But as it turns out, one of the chain’s competitors could be a preferable option. As a user wrote on the Cheapism website, “We saw that a liter-size bottle of Aldi’s Dentiguard mouthwash was ten cents more than Target’s store brand. Throw in Target’s better selection and REDcard discounts, and it makes more sense to stock up there.”

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Given what we now know about plastic waste, you might be shocked to see plastic-wrapped vegetables in Aldi. If you’re wondering why they’re packed in that manner, the News.com.au website uncovered a surprising answer in 2017. Supposedly, the chain sees it as a way of sprucing up its veggies, despite the mess it’ll create.

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Back in 2019, U.K. newspaper the Daily Mirror put together an online poll for Aldi’s frequent customers. In that survey, people were told to list their least favorite items in the store, which led to some interesting results. Microwave rice popped up in that category, so you might want to hold off grabbing a pack from their shelves.

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For customers that are looking to save a few bucks, Aldi’s egg selection is a welcome sight. However, while the produce is well-priced, you should probably keep this in mind. The Ethical Consumer website discovered the cheaper eggs came from chickens kept in “enriched cages.” This came after the chain had previously condemned poor treatment of the animals generally, and pledged that it would stop selling eggs produced in this manner altogether by 2025.

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Whether it’s with a burger or another fry-up meal, you can’t go wrong with a helping of french fries. If you’re preparing those dishes at home, there’s a good chance the latter will be cooked from frozen. But should you be looking for a bag of them in Aldi, you might want to reconsider. According to the Daily Mirror’s poll, the store’s fries aren’t well-regarded by customers.

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While you can rely on Aldi to offer deals on certain products, meat isn’t often included in that group. To expand on that, a Reddit user shared their thoughts. They wrote, “The meat is a miss for me. Since they never have a sale, I can almost always get better prices from the draw sales at major chain supermarkets.”

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In most cases, you’d be hard-pressed to find quality frozen sushi at the supermarket, but Aldi’s selection is said to be really sub-par. As a Cheapism user explained, “If I lived somewhere rural where sushi joints were few and far between, I may buy this. But I live less than a mile from a really delicious sushi restaurant, and the frozen Fusia just doesn’t compare.”

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Going back to the Daily Mirror’s online survey, Aldi shoppers flagged up another bothersome product. As it turns out, the store’s black pepper also apparently leaves a lot to be desired. So keeping that in mind, you might want to think about swerving it in the future.

Cristian Ungureanu

Zipper-top bags can be useful if you need to take your lunch on the road, yet the ones in Aldi are somewhat problematic. As a user on the Frugally Blonde website reported, “I have noticed that Aldi ziplock bags have a plastic smell to them that I just can’t get past. The idea of putting my food in there grosses me out.”

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If you’re starting to get bored of butter or jam on your morning toast, chocolate spread could be a worthwhile replacement to consider. But you should probably sidestep the jars from Aldi, though. Once again, the Daily Mirror survey prompted the chain’s existing customers to dismiss that particular product in 2019.

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For keen-eyed bargain hunters, Aldi’s coffee will immediately jump out as a potential purchase. After all, one of the lowest-priced selections costs just under 20 cents per ounce, according to Better Be. However, while that’ll save shoppers a decent wedge when compared to other brands, the taste is said to be lacking.

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In addition to the meat and condiments, no barbecue is complete without a serving of baked beans. So with summer on the way, families are no doubt looking to stock up on the tasty side dish. Yet according to the Aldi shoppers that took part in the Daily Mirror’s poll, the store’s beans aren’t worth the hassle.

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At first glance, Aldi’s selection of breakfast cereal might seem like a good bargain. But in the opinion of Forbes magazine, other chains have the upper hand on that front. The publication suggested, “You can often find better deals on name-brand cereals at your local store when combining coupons and sales.”

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Much like Aldi’s coffee, the soda also jumps out thanks to its low price. However, those cans might fail to measure up to some of the more recognizable drinks on the market today, according to the Better Be website. Due to their reportedly underwhelming taste, it might be an idea to steer clear of them during your next shopping trip.

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If you’re a fan of shrimp, you’ll probably want to note down this piece of advice from Soukup before heading to Aldi. On the Spending Well Living Less blog, she revealed, “The frozen jumbo shrimp are always a bargain. [But] don’t bother with the other sizes of shrimp, though, they aren’t worth the price compared to their weight.”

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