Addicted to novelty since 2001

A Paean to Online Grocery Shopping

As regular readers know, I really don’t like shopping. For me, the most detestable kind is grocery shopping. I’m not particularly interested in food, so buying it brings me no joy.

A couple of years ago, I tried ordering my groceries online and have never looked back. It was most convenient when we lived in Dublin and didn’t have a car–all of the best shops were in the suburbs, anyway. On a well-designed site, I can order my groceries in about twenty minutes (the better sites keep ‘favourite’ lists of commonly-purchased items and have them delivered in a two-to-four hour window, including evenings and weekends.

When I sing the praises of this practice, the most common concern I hear is that people like to pick out their own produce and fresh meat. I’ve never had any complaints with the virtual shoppers–I think they take extra care because they’re shopping for someone else. In fact, the shoppers from Stongs–our local service provider–would occasionally call to clarify an item or ask about a substitition. The delivery fee for Stongs is $10, and in Ireland we used Tesco and it cost 7 euros. When you consider the grocery shopping takes at least an hour of your time (plus transportation costs), that’s well worth it.

3 Responses to “A Paean to Online Grocery Shopping”

  1. Gail

    I use Stong’s, too, and their customer service is worth the $10 delivery fee. They often substitute (if you choose the substitution option) your original item with one that is pricier. I just placed an order this morning and was comparing their alcoholic beverage markup using the BC Liquor website. The markup on certain wines surprisingly low — for Tinhorn Creek Merlot 11%, while on other wines, it’s more. Some of the ciders are marked up 36%. Some items, like deli food, organic packaged salads, etc., are priced the same as you’ll find instore, and sometimes their prices are better. I try to buy heavier and bulkier items, like canned goods and bathroom tissue, from Stong’s and the highly perishable stuff from the local markets or an online organic delivery service like SPUDS.ca (Small Potatoes Urban Delivery) or GreenEarthOrganics.com. I suppose if you shop exclusively with the online services you wouldn’t know how competitive they were, but it’s worth comparing them to get the most for your online time/money.

    If you don’t have a car, or find that you don’t need/want one but could use a vehicle once in a while for errands and such, I highly recommend CAN — Co-operative Auto Network.

    http://www.cooperativeauto.net/

    I have a car, but don’t use it enough to warrant the high maintenance costs for a 20-year old vehicle, so I let my brother drive it every day and I use CAN most of the time. They place their vehicles near where members live, and their fleet has trucks, minivans, VW Beetles, and a Toyota Prius Hybrid (gas/electric) as well as sedans. The Prius hybrid is a great city car.

  2. Sue

    I’m thinking seriously of trying that Stong’s service. I’ve got to talk it over with the significant other, but if we go with it, I’ll let you know so you can get the referral bonus.

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