Even if you’re not an Aldi customer, you would need to have been sleeping under a rock to miss the fact people go wild for the store’s weekly deals.
But there’s one item that will really draw in the crowds at the German supermarket – a budget air fryer.
While some brands can cost as much as $450, such as the Phillips Premium XXL model, Aldi regularly has the kitchen appliance on sale for less than $150.
Today’s Special Buys features a 16-litre “multifunction” air fryer for $149 – and shoppers have been lining up outside stores in a bid to snag one of the limited gadgets.
A video shared in the Facebook group Aldi Mums shows one store with a huge queue snaking around the entire car park.
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One woman said there was “bloodshed” at her store, with over 100 people lined up to get their hands on the popular appliance.
“I was first in line, with people pushing in, not following the line markers the staff put out,” she wrote.
“Some lady brought her kids and they all ran up the aisle grabbing everything first. Was a bit chaotic.”
Another said she witnessed “absolutely disgusting behaviour” from a shopper desperate to get his hands on an air fryer, claiming he “rammed the lady next to me with her trolley” because she was holding him up.
“That’s not OK,” she said. “What has happened to people? It’s very sad, all over a special buy.”
Others claimed their store was sold out in minutes, with a shopper at Mt Barker store in South Australia reporting it was just “three minutes and the four in stock were sold out”.
“There were riots at my Aldi this morning,” another claimed.
On Instagram, another shopper shared a photo of the queue she was in, writing: “Yep, it’s Special Buys day.”
Aldi Australia issued a warning over the “limited supply” of its air fryer and pastry maker in today’s Special Buys, explaining COVID-19 had impacted the delivery of some products.
“We apologise in advance for any disappointment this might cause our customers, and remind everyone to shop with kindness in this challenging time,” the statement, shared on Facebook, read.
In all Victorian stores plus Albury and Lavington, the air fryer wasn’t in stock at all “to encourage customers to follow” state COVID-19 restrictions.
The Smart Wi-Fi 3L Thermo Cooker, Stainless Steel Dishwasher and Electric Oven were also affected with Aldi stating they were removed because the items “require two people to safely lift and purchase the product.”
Aldi “apologised” to customers and promised it would “bring these products back at a later date”.
Despite the heads up, shoppers have bombarded the post with complaints, some branding the promotion as a “disgrace”.
“What a joke. No, what a disgrace. Aldi you do this all the time. If you don’t have enough stock say so,” one wrote.
“You can’t blame COVID-19 for limited stock!” another raged.
While one said: “This is the second time in months you’ve had an air fryer on sale and not a single one in sight.”
Those lucky enough to score one of the air fryers made by Ambiano, will benefit from 10 preset functions, an LED display, a timer and three different racks.
It also comes with a rotating rotisserie spit with a skewer and a special tool to remove the rotisserie item.
Unlike other air fryers, the door features a glass panel so you can check on the progress of food without opening it and affecting the heat inside.
One happy customer who scored the in-demand item praised their local Aldi store for the way it handled the crowd, revealing a staff member went down the line asking who wanted the air fryer.
“He took everyone’s names and told us to line up near the registers and they would be handed out. Normally it’s a sh!t fight trying to get the specials, but today it was very civilised,” she said.
Another popular item in today’s Special Buys is the collapsible shopping basket which caused a bit of friction last week among customers who spotted it in the catalogue – because Aldi doesn’t offer them in store.
The blue item, a “Shopbox by Optibox”, costs $10 and can fold down flat when not in use.
“Selling? WTF, seriously they should be free like other supermarkets,” one annoyed shopper wrote on Facebook.
“If you aren’t going to give baskets generally then supply smaller trolleys as an option – they are too big to navigate,” another said.
And one wrote: “How about they just supply them like normal stores.”
While one said: “What’s the point? This is just stupid.”
But many pointed out in a COVID-19 world it was extremely handy as it meant you could shop without touching surfaces others had and take it to your car without using a plastic bag.