I have this small addiction to Google. “Everything Google.” That’s my motto. I traded in my iPhone to get a Google powered phone (not a pixel, but I’m dreaming of one in my future). I’m a fan of my Google calendar. I’m a superfan of my Google drive. I’ve even paid to upgrade my storage. I love my Google photos. And, I love my Google maps. I’m a serious Google-a-holic, if such a thing exists.
If you’ve ever used Google maps, then you probably know that after you take any trip to anywhere, Google will send you a notification asking if you want to leave a review or if you liked whatever place you just went to. If you give a review, they give you points. If you give a detailed review, they give you even more points. If you post pictures, you get even more points. And if you can find out missing information, guess what? Yep, more points. And then they give you a title, “Google Guide.” And there are levels 1-10.
I take my Google guiding so seriously, I am currently at a level 7 and working my way quickly up to level 8. I wish I could just get paid by Google like the dude in the maps car except instead of taking videos, I just spend my days going to places to get info and give reviews. But, I do it for free so I don’t think they are likely to open up any paid reviewing opportunities.
Anyway, I have been waiting patiently for the newest ALDI store to open up near me. It’s been in the works for weeks and I had even stopped by once because on Google maps, it said they were opened, but they were not. So the other day, I got a coupon in the mail for $5 off a purchase of $30 or more and it was good thru opening week, but there was going to be a “grand opening.” I don’t care about grand openings. Do you know what I do care about? Google photo ops. I thought if I could get there when ALDI still had that new grocery store look, I could get some awesome pics for Google so when people looked up the ALDI store on Middlebrook Pike, they’d see my perfect pics of perfect produce and perfect products all lined up, well, perfectly, before the public got in there and ruined it with their black friday-like shopping.
I went in with my coupon and I was almost in the door when the manager stopped me and asked me if I had a ticket. I asked him what I needed a ticket for and he said for the free grocery bag. I showed him that I had brought my own bag and also that I really just wanted to get some pictures before the aisles got messed up. He told me that I was not allowed to take pictures because they were a private company and ALDI was private property. I’m not usually the dumbfounded type, but I quickly became it. So I was like, “so I can’t go in and take pictures of your store for a Google review that will essentially be free advertising and free marketing because I’m a level 7 Google guide?” I said it with such authority as if being a level 7 Google guide was something of an accomplishment that should make me immune to ALDI’s private property no picture rule. He said that I could go talk to the manager, but he didn’t know where he was. I don’t know why I got so irritated that he said “private property” to me about ten times. But to retaliate, every time he said “private property,” I said, “but Google wants to know.” I probably sounded like a pouty 4 year old in retrospect.
I ended up giving up, but I was so irritated that I couldn’t take photos, which I have taken at literally every other ALDI I’ve been to in Knoxville without incident, that I didn’t even want to go in and shop anymore. Flea Market Guy was waiting outside talking to an old lady about why grand openings were stupid when I walked out with an indignant look on my face and told him what happened and that I didn’t want to shop anymore. He laughed at me a little and we walked back to his truck.
I went online and gave them a 2 star review before we ever left the parking lot. It may have been an unfair review. Not that ALDI has to worry about reviews, most people know what they are getting when they go to an ALDI store. Now that I am calm, maybe I could go back and just delete the review altogether. But I have not calmed down enough to talk myself into going back to an ALDI again. I may just stick with my usual Kroger shopping trip. Or go to ALDI’s brother Trader Joe’s. I haven’t decided yet. But I do still have this $5 off coupon that you can have if you want it.
I did get a picture of the outside of the store and posted it. About 10 minutes later, I got a notification that said, “Your picture is featured.” Take that ALDI!
Yes, I’m being petty, but Google made me do it.
Disclaimer: Google didn’t make me do anything.
Dear Google, I love you and want the nonexistent position of paid travel writer who visits awesome places while writing ridiculously funny, but true and informative reviews with photos as a public service for travelers everywhere. Just think about it and get back to me. I won’t let the power go to my head (much).