It’s like the Hunger Games, but with happier participants. The whole of Glasgow’s East End watching, blinding lights, empty shelves. What am I talking about, you might ask? Not much, just the greatest event of 2019 so far (and arguably, of the whole year): the reopening of the much beloved Aldi on High Street.
Just like the protagonist of every single one of our favourite cheesy romcoms would say, you truly never know the value of things until you lose them. Students were shocked this past January at the news of their local supermarket closing for over a month and a half. There was no warning, no preparation. One day it was there, and the next it was gone.
The population of Strathclyde’s campus and the neighbourhoods nearby were left with rather dire choices. There was no other place in the area where they could get that many groceries for a tenner. Surely not Sainsbury’s on George Street, where you need to get a loan for a frozen pizza. Surely not the two small Merchant City Tesco Metros, with even lesser food choices than the library’s Nourish.
Many were left with no other choice but to venture into the windy, pristine paths of Duke Street on a quest for cheap produce at Lidl. It was a valuable alternative the first week, maybe the second, but after a while even the thought of that long trek became abhorrent. Truth is, it was not worth it. Lidl just felt impersonal, unfamiliar. No 6 Special Buys, no random aisles where you would find a lawn mower right next to a silken doghouse, no bottles of Baron Saint Jean on the shelves. It was just not the same.
But then Aldi came back.
Walking around its aisles for the first time in what seemed like forever, a smile of comfort lingered on people’s faces. Some taking videos of the brand-new Bakery section, others taking their sweet time by the freezers, speechless at not having to pop a vertebra only to get a bag of frozen peas – you could tell Aldi was greatly missed, and its new additions and fancy appearance appreciated.
So what can we expect from the future? Is there room for improvement? Maybe yes, maybe not. For regular customers of many years, seeing wine prices rise to 5 quid a bottle was surely a shock, and unfortunately the selection of cheaper ones hasn’t been updated. Vegetarian and vegan ready meals could definitely use some renovation too – seriously, hummus wraps and curry pots in 2019? But, truth is, all of this is irrelevant, at least for now. The bliss of Aldi reopening is all that matters. We should still pop to Lidl from time to time though, they did try their best.
By Linda Mohamed