Are We Actually Controlled by a Quarter?

ImageI just returned from a trip to Aldi, the grocery store known for low prices and self-service shopping carts. At Aldi, the shopping carts are locked at the entrance of the store. One is only able to get a cart by opening the lock with a quarter. Likewise, a person must return the cart to the desired location to retrieve his quarter. This is how Aldi works. Embrace it or shop elsewhere.

There is an element of capitalistic and managerial genius to this scheme by Aldi, but that is not the point of my post. I am fascinated at how a quarter (That is 25¢. $0.25. It takes four of them to make a purchase at the dollar store.) is able to control our behavior. In theory, every shopper at Aldi could leave his cart in the parking lot just like any other store. The only penalty for such a choice is a quarter. Yet, I never see a cart anywhere in the Aldi parking lot. The carts are always returned.

Why are we so easily controlled by Aldi’s scheme? I have pondered this on many trips to Aldi, but I have not found a satisfactory answer. Does it only really take a quarter to alter our behavior? Here are a few possible answers to the question.

  • We are that cheap.
  • The quarter causes us to think about money and count the cost.
  • The quarter causes us to consider what is best for Aldi and other customers by returning the cart.
  • The quarter causes us to embrace Aldi’s scheme of reducing costs by needing less employees.

Or is it something else all together? I want to draw some conclusions and reflect on this. I feel sarcasm and silly thoughts abounding in my head. I need your help. Think with me. Why do you return the shopping cart at Aldi? You can comment on this post or one of my Facebook or Twitter pages. social media sites.

Ooma: Our New Phone Service

ImageOn the recommendation of my brother-in-law (thank you Phillip), we switched our phone service to Ooma. Switching still feels like blasphemy to me given my family’s employment and stockholding history with BellSouth/AT&T. Excepting my nostalgia, our switch to Ooma has been great.

I purchased the Ooma device for $135 at Amazon (Purchase Ooma Here). Ooma requires an internet connection. It connects directly to your router and to the phone wiring in your house. It took me about 5 minutes to do this. Once these steps are complete, Ooma functions just like your previous phone provider with one important exception. The cost is much lower! Ooma costs me (in Tennessee) $3.71 per month. Ooma was even able to transfer my existing phone number.

Our family stands solidly with Ooma. Do you have any experiences with Ooma? What do you think?

So Long Cable (Mostly)!

Our family is attempting to reduce our monthly expenditures and redirect how we spend our free time. To help in both areas, we are canceling our cable and changing our home phone service.

We presently have Comcast as our internet, phone, and cable provider. We plan to keep Comcast for internet service. For television, we plan to utilize these HD Antennas and stream Amazon Instant Video. For telephone, we are switching to Ooma.

We had to order a few items to implement these changes. As the items arrive, I plan to review them and keep you posted on how they are working for us.