Chaos over Aldi chair before doors even open
AN UNASSUMING grey, padded chair had almost sold out around the country before the doors of Aldi even opened on Saturday morning.
The $199 rocking chair from ALDI has become something of a cult product ever since it launched as part of their "Special Buys" range in July last year.
The chair - available with normal legs or rocking legs - quickly became a popular nursery item with breastfeeding mums who sang the praises of the chair on parenting forums all over the country.
It was so popular the German retailer reintroduced it into stores in January this year. Moments after the chair went on sale, the item was sold out in most stores around Australia.
James Millard, from Bondi arrived at Sydney's Bondi Junction Aldi store at 6.30am, in the hopes of scoring a chair for his partner Carly, who is 11 weeks away from giving birth.
"We heard about these chairs … they are on just about every single mums page there is.
"Last time there was apparently only four and people were lining up since 7am, so I figured I would get here at 6.30am.
"If Carly is carrying a baby for nine months, I figured I could give up two hours on a Saturday morning."
Paul and Liz from Queen's Park arrived at 7.50am to line up. This was their first time to an Aldi store. They were still concerned that with the number of people in front of them in the queue they might miss out.
Liz, who is expecting her first baby in September, was tipped off about the chair by her sister who "loves catalogues".
"My sister read a blog comparing [nursery] chairs and it said this was the best," Liz told news.com.au.
Fifteen minutes before the doors opened, an Aldi staffer came out and announced that there were only a limited number of chairs available, so tickets would be handed out to the first in line to make it fair.
Before the doors opened, all tickets were allocated and the chairs were gone.
"Giving the tickets out is a safer way of doing it," explains acting store manager Aaron.
"Last time this chair went on sale it was a bit crazy and there were pregnant women involved trying to get the chair and to me this is just a safer way to do it".
One shopper (who did not want to be named) arrived as doors opened and left disappointed after missing out on a chair.
"I can't believe people have been here since 6.30. I had no idea it would be like this."
A man at the front of the queue who was there early to score a lawnmower from the Special Buys range was bemused by the excitement over a chair.
Back in January, only eight people managed to get their hands on one of the chairs at the Chatswood NSW location 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 retailer solved its biggest problem, with news.com.au reporting in December that a regulated ticketing system be the answer to Aldi's Special Buys chaos.
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.
ALDI has received some backlash over the very limited number of items available in some of their Special Buys ranges with irate customers criticising the retailer on social media.
According to the website, Aldi's Special Buys "can include anything from electronics, like LCD TVs and DVD players, to clothing and furniture", and they are released twice a week.
Some shoppers have even warned that Aldi's Special Buys could lead to violence, while others have suggested ways the supermarket giant can manage disappointment, such as by introducing a ticketing system or introducing a limit of one item per customer.
The Special Buys sale of discounted Dyson vacuum cleaners in December last year saw customers storming stores as doors opened and grabbing items from other shoppers.
ALDI staff will only have a brief respite from the Special Buys frenzy - the supermarket will gear up for another flood of homewares bargain-hunters on Wednesday July 11 when their limited edition "luxe" homewares range drops.
For those who missed out on a grey chair in Saturday's sale, maybe some of the items coming up on Wednesday will ease your pain:
The iconic wooden Eggcup stool by Mark Tuckey was introduced in 2006, and has been an iconic and versatile piece for the home. Made from Radiata Pine, their signature curved shape with a soap finish gives a natural appearance. But the simple stool will set you back around $760.
Aldi's version, at $69, is made from pine and comes in either a natural or black painted finish. Due to the cut of the wood, each table will vary in appearance. But with a $690 difference in price, can you spot the budget version?
DECORATIVE MARBLE SCENTED CANDLE
It's the simple way of setting a mood in your home without dishing out hundreds. Scented candles vary in price tags, with some ranging from just a few dollars - to designer brands venturing closer to three figures.
Aldi's marble-style candle has the scent of pomegranate, and will set you back around $13 - which is half the price compared to a similar version found at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
WOOLLEN KNIT THROW
Retailing at $60, Aldi's chunky knit throw comes in three different shades - white, charcoal and stone.
The knit - which is made from acrylic - looks relatively similar to a version sold in Temple & Webster for $114.
The Temple & Webster version - also made from acrylic - is around the same size as the Aldi version, but the knit is slightly heavier compared to the budget alternative.
ARCHITECTURAL FLOOR LAMP
For a lamp, this tripod architecturally designed floor lamp is identical to a version currently on sale in department store Myer.
With a $100 difference in price, can you spot the difference?
The old favourite from the Aldi homewares range will make a comeback, but this time it'll be available in charcoal as well as the Scandi-style grey and ash material.
At $99, the discount retailer's armchair is around $400 less than a similar looking version at Temple & Webster. But if it's anything like previous sales, chances are you'll miss out on bagging one unless you're first in line.