Doing the weekly grocery shop online is a lifesaver for busy people. My local supermarket is a mere 10 minute drive from the house, but even so I never make it home in under two hours. Given that I write during the school day, let’s call that half a day wasted (including recovery time).
Doing it online spares me having to examine 27 new brands of shampoo before choosing the one I always buy. It cuts the risk of a disc hernia caused by a trolley that appears perfectly functional at the door but only reveals its untameable stallion alter ego halfway round. And in theory, it prevents impulse-buying. The online substitute for impulse buying is mistakes. But more of that in a minute.
The local supermarket is not my favourite anyway. Go to the posh one, people say, it’s actually fun wandering around the empty aisles choosing all those tempting goodies. Well, yes, in the sense that
paying through the nose for stuff you don’t need usually is fun. But I have clothes shopping for that. I’ve tried the posh one online a few times and when they realise I’m not hooked they embarrass themselves like a desperate ex, mailing me huge discounts, half of which they then claw back with delivery charges. They don’t just think I’m rich (I’m not), they think I’m stupid.
So, I go with the mid-range store. They’ve been delivering our gargantuan quantities of groceries for several years now. I know the names of the drivers even without their badges. We always have a chat. I know about their families. (I’m not just lonely, I’m nosey. I’m a writer, for heaven’s sake). Last week the new guy did go too far. He called me ‘my dear’ about 20 times despite being young enough to be my son (sounds better that way round, doesn’t it?) which got my back up sufficiently not to want to tell him my life story on demand.
But now for the pitfalls. Doing the order at the comfort of your desk, at 3am, naked, or however you want to do it, doesn’t alter the fact that it is mind-numbingly dull. I’m a keen cook but unless I’ve given it some advance thought, I seem to be incapable of getting in the right ingredients. I’ll get half of them for several dishes and end up concocting. Things are often missing because I’ve input different items
on the same page too quickly and the website can’t keep up. And then of course there’s the surprises –when I’ve mixed up items and weight and ended up with a single courgette, or been charged nearly £2 for an aubergine the size of a large plum. I once sent back 20 bottles of laundry detergent having wanted 2.
Sometimes the hardest bit is remembering to finish the order at all.
I just stick a few things in my virtual basket at first to secure a delivery slot. I recently came within 6
minutes of being presented with a raw chicken, a hand of bananas and a £6 delivery charge at the doorstep. My driver friends wouldn’t have let me forget that in a hurry.
Need to get petrol. From the supermarket garage, obviously. Haven’t they thought of that?
Got any good supermarket tales of your own? Spill the beans below.