Aldi Special Buy sells out in one minute
AUSTRALIANS love to queue.
This morning was no exception, when more than 50 people lined up for an hour outside the Chatswood Aldi store on Sydney's north shore in an attempt to get their hands on this week's Special Buy, a $199 rocking chair.
Aldi releases a series of unusual, limited edition products twice a week called Special Buys. They're super cheap, you can only buy them in store and there's a limited amount of stock available.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, customers flock to Aldi stores around the country in an attempt to be the first inside once the store opens.
Some Aldi customers have suggested a ticketing system to ensure those who are first in line are fairly rewarded.
Many stores have introduced this policy, but it's not yet a compulsory company-wide policy, an Aldi spokeswoman told news.com.au.
In Chatswood, only eight people managed to get their hands on one when the store opened at 8.30am. By 8.31am, all the chairs had sold out.
Many customers had brought along their own loading trolleys to transport the chair's large box.
The woman first in line, who did not wish to be identified, had arrived at 7.30am to purchase a rocking chair for her pregnant sister.
Brendon Low was one of the unlucky ones. He arrived at 7.45am but missed out.
"My wife is having a baby later in the year," Mr Low told news.com.au. "I'm just on the phone to her now, I'm not sure what we'll do," he said.
On Twitter, one Aldi customer from Newcastle, NSW, said she saw "two old guys punch on" at her local store in the hustle to secure one of the chairs.
Some successful customers proudly showed off their new purchases on Instagram.
Customer Lukas Jenkins claimed management at Aldi's Scoresby store in Victoria only handed out tickets to female customers in the queue.
"Standing right at the front of the cue with four or five other people. Manager comes to the door with ten tickets in order to avoid a rush. Smart. Only handing out tickets to the women in the gathered crowd. Incredibly sexist and offensive!" Mr Jenkins wrote on Aldi's Facebook page.
But an Aldi spokesperson refuted Mr Jenkins' version of events.
"We have followed up with the team at Scoresby who confirmed that 10 tickets were given to the first 10 people at the entrance, this was done with the assistance of other customers in line and included both men and women," the spokesperson wrote on Facebook.
Retail expert Brian Walker from the Retail Doctor Group said Aldi's Special Buys strategy was "calculated" to create "surprise and theatre" and attract more shoppers into stores.
"As a general adage the more special the buy and the more effective it is in terms of advertising, the less likely there will be lots of stock," he told news.com.au in December.
"The plan to distribute to stores would be known weeks and months in advance … the reality of it is when a product is very popular there is very limited supply, and that's going to create difficulties for some consumers.
"You've only got to go on social media to see some of the comments and I think any damage to reputation is not good. It would be practical if shoppers who saw a Special Buy could ring a store and ask how many units they would be stocking in advance, but of course they won't do that as it defeats the purpose.
"It's a very calculated gamble that some consumers will miss out, but it's working for them."
An Aldi spokeswoman had some tips for customers who missed out.
"It is never our intention to cause disappointment to our customers, or miss out on sales, and we will always strive to allocate optimal stock for our stores to meet forecast demand," the spokeswoman told news.com.au.
"With big items, we are also restricted by physical space to stock, store and transport the items.
"On days we anticipate a high volume of customers, many of our Store Managers implement
additional measures, such as ticketing systems. If customers miss out on a Special Buy we
recommend they contact our customer service team (13 25 34) to assist with stock availability at other stores in your area.
"We are always looking for ways to improve our process and are looking at all considerations, including ticketing system at all stores on busy Special Buys days."