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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Grocery shopping on line is not as straightforward as it could be. It’s not hard to learn the basics, but it’s hard to teach because unexpected things crop up all the time. Especially during pandemics.

It’s not new to me. I started buying groceries on line last year. Just once in a while. It came in handy at Christmas when I had a houseful of grandchildren and was cooking three meals a day for eight people. It came in handy when I got home from a trip, had unexpected company, and the cupboard was bare. But there’s another reason I do it. I’m training to be old.

I wanted to learn all I can now so that shopping for necessities on line will be second nature later. It’s basically like any other shopping on line. You put items in your basket, chose a delivery time, and check out. It’s easier if you register so they already have your payment information. Then coronavirus decided to give me the advanced course.

Lesson One: The stores are not stocked as they once were. If they don’t have something, they may label it “out of stock” on line. OR they may let you order it and ask you to select a substitute. OR they may let you order it and just not deliver it and then credit you for it.

Lesson Two: Your delivery window may be next week. OR they won’t have one listed and you may have leave your list in limbo while you keep trying to get a time. Once I tried every day for a week and couldn’t get a time slot, so we gave up and went to the store.

Lesson Three: You can add to the order until the shopper begins actually filling the order. For a while I had a rhythm going, planning 4 or 5 days in advance and adding to the order now and then until the delivery time slot. Last week they caught me by surprise by having a same-day delivery slot open. I grabbed it, of course, but had to hurry up to finish the list.

Here are a few tips, learned by experience:

  • If you want to add to an order that hasn’t been picked up yet, be sure you click “add to the previous order.” Don’t “put it in the cart,” because this starts a new order.
  • Check sizes and weights. The box or can that looks “normal” on the screen may be really tiny or extra enormous.
  • Read quantities and units carefully. Does “one” mean one tomato or one pound of tomatoes?
  • Stay available during the shopping time so that the shopper can communicate with you. You may have decisions to make about substitutions.

Explore a little. Look up your favorite grocery store, Costco, or Walmart. Look up a delivery service. I use Instacart, but there are others. Check on-line options like Amazon Fresh or Amazon Whole Foods. You may not be able to get everything in one place, but you may discover some interesting options.

Each store and delivery service is a little different. Find one that works for you and stick with it. You will learn its quirks as you go. And remember, you can always go to the store.

Headlines on This Topic

“The Best Places to Buy Groceries Online,” Business Insider, March 24. https://www.businessinsider.com/best-online-grocery-store

“10 Best Grocery Delivery Services to Use in 2020,” Good Housekeeping, April 14, 2020. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-products/g28039081/best-grocery-delivery-services/

“A Guide to Grocery Delivery During the Coronavirus Pandemic–and After,” Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-guide-to-grocery-delivery-during-the-coronavirus-pandemicand-after-11588498201?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=9

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. It is my intention to journal the events of these days from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary crisis.

You are on History’s Edge.

One thought on “Pandemic Journal: Day 58

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