Most Minnesotans remained blissfully ignorant while the rest of the country's supermarket shoppers came to blows over Aldi's Festive Collection Wine Advent Calendar in Aldi stores on Wednesday.
The $69.99 box includes 24 mini-bottles of wine, one for each of the 24 religious days of Advent leading up to Christmas Eve. It was the first time the Germany-based grocer released the Advent calendars in the U.S.
Customers were ready and once again Aldi was not. It underestimated (deliberately?) the demand and most customers left disappointed. Cooking Light reported on its website that in Green Bay, "Sheer panic broke out as managers tried to manage a crowd of people who were all interested in getting their hands on one."
Reports around the country all reported sellouts, That's not surprising considering that store employees reported getting only three to 12 calendars per store. In fairness, Aldi advertised the item as a "limited time" item and anyone who's tried to nab Wednesday meat specials such as rack of lamb for $9.99/lb. or ribeye steaks for $6.99/lb. often goes away empty-handed. Aldi did advertise a limit of one wine calendar per person.
The 21 pound box was not sold or advertised in Minnesota because Aldi stores do not sell wine here. State law requires that liquor stores have separate entrances and Aldi's smaller store size footprints eliminate that option.
Still, Minnesotans are not completely left out of Advent calendar options. The Happy Farms Preferred Cheese Advent calendar with 24 mini cheeses was supposed to be available on Wednesday, but Minnesota stores did not receive them yet. Aldi divisional vice president Matt Lilla said the delay was due to a "mechanical issue," but they should be in stock Friday or Saturday, Nov. 10. The price is $12.99 with a limit of three per customer.
Shoppers missing out on the cheese calendar can also look for the Moser Roth Chocolate Nutcracker Advent calendar ($7.99) or the Mattel Toy Advent Calendar ($16.99).