So it’s Monday and something doesn’t feel right — no, I’m not having “a case of the Mondays.” My schedule feels out of whack because I didn’t go to Sainsbury’s. Every Monday I always drag my trolley over a mile to go grocery shopping. Today I didn’t, but I still got my groceries. That’s right, friends, I caved and tried online delivery. And I’m afraid I may be hooked.
I’ve been considering grocery delivery ever since I almost broke my arm and back carrying my groceries back almost a year ago, but I hesitated because I’m a cheapo and don’t like the words “delivery fee.” My weekly pilgrimage to Sainsbury’s was also good exercise, and lately I’ve been listening to my Teach Yourself Chinese lessons as I walk (yes, I’m the crazy girl pulling a shopping trolley, muttering “Thank you, but I don’t drink alcohol,” to herself in bad Chinese.) But last week I received a £10 off £50 online order voucher with my receipt at the store. And my love of coupons overpowers my hatred of shipping/delivery fees. And lately my local store has been out of some of my usuals… and the forecast said rain on Monday, my shopping day… so on Saturday I started adding items to my virtual cart. It was surprisingly easy. The only downside was they were out of some of things I was really looking forward to, like frozen mango for my smoothies. My store doesn’t stock it and I was happy to see it online, but maybe it’s being phased out because normal people start drinking tea and hot cider when fall hits, not smoothies. (My addiction to my new blender and smoothies is material for a different post). I managed to get my cart (I’m sorry, “trolley”) to almost exactly £50, stocking up on heavy things like bottled flavoured water and a giant pack of toilet paper. I was pleasantly surprised when they said delivery on Monday would only cost £3.50 — I was under the impression delivery cost at least £6 and you had to order more than two days in advance. Kudos, Sainsbury’s! So I got a week’s worth of groceries plus some stock up stuff for £43.50. Now I just had to wait for it.
As you probably inferred from my plumber posts, I don’t like waiting for people. I booked a delivery slot of noon to 1 p.m. and started getting antsy at 12:45 p.m. when my groceries weren’t here. But just as I was googling “Sainsburys grocery delivery late” to see if late groceries meant free delivery, my doorbell rang. The friendly driver placed my groceries neon orange bag-by-neon orange bag in my front hallway. He didn’t deliver them to my kitchen like some stores do, but I was OK with that. He jokingly tried to throw my 18-pack of TP at me, then had me sign for my food. And that was that. I had my groceries without the epic journey. I checked each item off my receipt as I put it away and was pleased at the far-off expiration dates on the produce. That was my other concern about not picking out my own groceries. I’m a stickler for expiration dates. Even if I’m buying something I plan to eat that night, I will still rummage in the back of the display to get the item that expires latest.
When I was in college I took an advertising class where our main project was to create an advertising campaign for Peapod’s relaunch of its online delivery grocery service in Milwaukee. We spent class after class going over the pros and cons of online grocery shopping. The main con was the delivery fee (which is $7 to $10 for Peapod. Sainsbury’s cost me £3.50, which at the current awesome rate of £1 = $1.54, is $5.42. And I got £10 ($15.49) off!), followed by expiration dates and not being able to select your own produce. We tried to counter that by saying only one person at the giant Peapod warehouse selects your produce, instead of at the store where your fruit is manhandled by dozens of shoppers before it gets to your cart.
The struggle with launching in Milwaukee is that everyone has a car there — delivery grocery service is best in cities like New York, Chicago and London where a lot of people don’t have cars (and choose flats that are over a mile away from the store and it rains all winter long). Delivery groceries are definitely wildly popular in London. Instead of just one company like Peapod, every major grocery store offers its own delivery service. (If they all have £10 off coupons, I may try them all!) I will probably still make the hike to Sainsbury’s occasionally to get the things that cost more or are sold out online, but I think I can say I’ve finally joined everyone else in my neighborhood in the delivery grocery revolution.