We’ve just discovered that “Tandil” is the name of a city in Argentina (we thought it was maybe Spanish for “requires two wash cycles.”) Yet, Tandil laundry detergent is a GERMAN brand. Didn’t all the escaped Nazi’s seek refuge in Argentina?

COINCIDENCE? I think not!

Consumer Experience Review: “You fat cats didn’t finish your plankton!”

GOD DAMN! Between gas and grocery prices, we are officially on a budget!

As I’ve said before, desperate times call for desperate measures -- in a word, Aldi.

Due to circumstances that would take way, way, WAY too long to explain, both Michael and I have prepared Aldi’s food, but have never been to an Aldi’s store before today.

So, for all you Aldi’s virgins out there, first things first:

1)You need to “rent” your grocery cart for a quarter. If you return your cart, you get your quarter back. In some amazing understanding of inner-city microeconomics, Aldi’s figured out that a person looking to steal a grocery cart places higher value on their quarter than on the cart they wish to steal. Maybe those “Freakonomics” guys should look into this phenomenon.

2) Aldi’s does not accept checks or credit cards. They do accept debit cards and, of course, cash.

3) The cashier puts your groceries straight into an empty cart – no bags. If you want to take your groceries home in a bag, you have to buy it – there is a really heavy plastic bag with sturdy handles for .99 cents, and standard plastic grocery bags (but don’t buy these, they always end up in the trees on our block) and paper bags for .10 cents. There are boxes sitting around, but those are a hot commodity and you may have to fight a fellow shopper for one.

And just an FYI, you can buy underpants at Aldi’s. Also wheelbarrows and raspberry bushes. And jogging shorts.

Aldi’s is not the place to look for healthy or low-fat foods. Aldi’s does have a “Fit N Active” line of “health-conscious” products, but it is limited, predominately mango-flavored and weird. Overall, most of their foods are chock full of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. No wonder their fig bars taste so fucking good.

Another thing -- you need to be a little scrappy to shop at Aldi’s -- this is not your typical Pick N Save crowd. I had to protect our place in line from a guy loaded up with Aldi’s brand energy drinks (I think it’s called “Red Thunder” or "Wild Thunder") and something called “GT Cola.” Despite this line-cutter's caffeine high, I managed to hold my own, thank you very much.

Bargains did abound. We bought a full week’s worth of groceries, plus some extras, for $143. We probably would have spent at least $200 on the same items at Pick N Save. For example, a gallon of skim milk is a dollar cheaper per gallon vs. PNS.

We bought little processed or prepared food – and tried to stick with meat, breads, vegetables and dairy products. The $143 also included household goods such as a large jug of laundry detergent (Tandil brand; “New Improved Fragrance!”) hand-soap refill, toilet paper and paper cups and plates.

Here's a 'lil sampler of what we purchased at Aldi:
But wait, you say – what if this stuff tastes horrible, or has cutworms in it (true story), or doesn’t work well -- then it’s not so much of a bargain, now, is it?

This is where we’re taking one for the team – we’re going to use all of our Aldi products over the next week and report back to you, the consumer, on the good, the bad, and the possibly infectious.

You’re welcome.


Stupid Review Review: The Mission

My eldest son and I recently watched “The Mission” on Netflix instant viewing. It’s a fine movie; beautiful cinematography, great music and solid performances by young DeNiro, Irons and Nesson in non-type roles.

Most movie critics and Netflix viewers rated this movie in the 4 to 5 star range, and almost everyone I know likes the film.

That’s why I was so surprised to see a one-star rating amongst the rave reviews.

I was intrigued – maybe the reviewer felt the script romanticized colonization and proselytization? Were there gross historical inaccuracies? Did she feel DeNiro’s performance was a bit wooden?

Nope. It was boobies.

Here’s the actual review:

1.0 Stars

Does not deserve a PG rating! It deserves an R rating for nudity. For those of you with children or actually do not want to see nudity then DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM

1 out of 38 people found this review helpful. (Uh, yeah.)

There are reasons to think twice before showing this movie to young children – there is violence, slavery, fratricide, talk of infanticide and some pretty intense scenes. Notice no mention of those issues in this review. Nope. This genius was offended by breasts and buttocks shown exclusively in the context of traditional indigenous dress. Or as Michael put it, National Geographic grade nudity.

People like this are the reason why the bloodiest, most gory torture-porn movies get by with an R (or even PG-13) rating, yet anything with extensive sexual themes or nudity gets the box-office killing NC-17.

Don’t believe me? Check out this documentary about the MPAA and how films are rated.

Comment Review: Do I Live In The Hood?

An alarmed, and anonymous, reader (see below, in red) is concerned about my foul mouth and the way I was raise (sic). I can assure the gentle reader that my parents spent much time and effort raising me to the highest standards of civilized society.

In other words, leave my mom and dad out of it, asshole.

And, by the way, I do live in the hood -- proud of it. What’s your point?

In summary, if you are offended by profanity, take yourself too seriously or are under eighteen years of age, don’t come ‘round here no more.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post Roundy's Review Roundup!:

Roundy's bar soap is great for washing out the foul mouths of gutter speak adults. Do you live in the hood? Is this the way you were raise to speak (write)?

UPDATE: My mother-in-law thinks I'm ok, too (see comments). She's enormously sophisticated, and she lives in the hood.

Desperate times call for desperate "gutter speak." Really, how could anyone possibly discuss W., the war or our current economic state without letting the explicatives fly? (Although I admit I'm a peacetime profaner as well.)

In a bar-soap-in-the-mouth-related note, our youngest son once took a bite out of a bar of Burt's Bees soap, thinking it was chocolate (it does look very much like a candy bar). He's just starting to trust the cocoa bean again.


Roundy's Review Roundup!


Have you seen the price of groceries these days?

In these uncertain economic times (Wait, I mean “Robust Economy,” isn’t that right, George W. Bush? Wow, what we will do when that motherfucking genius isn't around?), you might cast an eye toward those store brands. I know, it’s a risky proposition. Is generic ring bologna really going to meet your family’s high, high standards? Will they judge you harshly if you bring home some no-name Thousand Island dressing?

Here at Summary Judgments, we always have the public’s good in mind, so we’ve compiled a review of Roundy’s store brand products.

For those of you outside of the Wisconsin/Illinois area, the Roundy’s corporation owns the Pick N Save, Copps and Rainbow chains of grocery stores.

A few overall notes:

1) First of all, the “Chairman Bob Approved” campaign? (Bob Mariano is the Chairman of the Roundy’s corporation.) Might need some re-tooling. The primary in-store feature of this campaign are little “thumbs-up” cardboard cut-outs that stick out from the shelves, alerting you to featured Roundy’s brand products.

Cute, right?

It took us about 2.4 seconds to realize that the thumbs could be easily flipped over, thus creating the unintentional “Thumbs down from Chairman Bob” campaign and scaring shoppers away from that reasonably-priced can of jumbo pitted olives.

And trust me, we weren’t the only ones flipping the thumbs, not by a long shot. It’s pretty much the primary form of entertainment at the 16th and National Pick N Save. Well, it’s a close second behind loudly airing your marital grievances via cell phone.

2) I realize it’s probably some family legacy thing, but I think the products might go down easier with a more appealing name. Roundy’s. Meh. It’s not exactly unappetizing, but it’s not doing anything to draw me in, either.

Aldi’s does it right when it comes to store-brand names. In the market for some generic canned veggies? Why, look, it’s “Happy Harvest” brand! Need an industrial size bag of noodles? Well you’re in luck sir, for you’re about to purchase “Chef’s Choice” dried elbow macaroni. Ooooooo, fancy. Better hurry before the chef’s snatch it up!

(Please note. Summary Judgments does not recommend Aldi’s products, particularly “Happy Harvest” canned goods. If you really want to know why, send me an email.)

3) The design values on the Roundy’s packaging is poor. Weak fonts, muddy colors – the overall design just screams, “I am so fucking cheap.” Could the good folks in the Roundy’s creative department step it up a little? We’re already shopping generic – give us just a little bit of our dignity back.

Despite their creative flaws, I would wholeheartedly recommend most Roundy’s, Roundy’s Select or Roundy’s Organics products…

But, let’s face it; it’s hard to fuck up applesauce.

Most of the Roundy’s stuff is of the processed, smashed, blended or otherwise smooshed variety. How can you assess the true quality of ingredients rendered into a liquid, paste, spread or sauce?

Know what I’d be impressed with? Roundy’s brand Filet Mignon. Roundy’s Select brand Beluga caviar. Roundy’s Organics stripped sea bass on sautéed jicama matchsticks.

Ok, moving on. Here are the ratings for some specific Roundy’s brand products:

Roundy’s Organics Pure Maple Syrup: I give this two thumbs up (WAAAAAY up). Tastes exactly like the $8 pure maple syrup and it’s seriously cheaper. Like many whole dollars cheaper. The kids like it, we’re saving whole dollars, everyone’s happy.

Roundy’s Organics Fruit Spread: Also two thumbs up. Keep in mind, though, this product is smooshed up fruit. Not real hard to fuck up. It’s definitely cheaper than the national brands, with no discernible difference in taste or texture. Go for it.

Roundy’s Select Premium Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: One thumb up. It’s okay, but it’s not that much cheaper than Breyer’s and it has a weird, slightly foamy consistency. It tastes a lot more processed than other premium ice cream brands. However, it does go on sale a lot, and, hence, the thumb.

Roundy’s All Natural and Roundy’s Organics All Natural Apple Sauce: Two, thumbs, but please see my comments above re: degree of difficultly in fucking up applesauce.

Roundy’s Select European Sodas (Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, Blueberry something, and I forget the rest): I guess one thumb up. These are really expensive, like $3 for a 1.5-liter bottle. Not available in individual serving sizes (which means serious loss of carbonation if you don’t drink the whole thing right away), the bottles are too tall and take up valuable tall-item space in the fridge. Taste is not memorable. That’s it, I’m taking the thumb away. These things blow. No thumbs.

Roundy’s Organics Crunchy Peanut Butter: Two thumbs up. Comparable to any national brand “natural” peanut butter. People, it’s smashed peanuts and salt, no need to pay more.

Roundy’s Citrus Breeze (or something like that) Anti-Bacterial Dish Detergent: One thumb. As dish detergent, it’s on the low end of the scale -- not as bubbly as Joy, without the grease-mitigating properties of Dawn, and lacking the historical presence of Ajax. Still, the price is easily half that of national brands, and sometimes, that’s good enough for us.

Roundy’s Eggs and Milk: Two thumbs. All eggs and all milk come from the orifice of a barnyard animal. There’s really no need to pay for a name-brand orifice.

So, in conclusion, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Roundy’s store brand products, especially when it comes to things consisting primarily of smashed fruit or nuts or products that come from an orifice. Also, George W. Bush is a fucking idiot.

Help us help you – if you have something to say about Roundy’s, or any other store brands, let’s hear it in the comments!