Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Online Grocery Shopping

This past winter I embarked on a new grocery shopping. I had heard about this idea of ordering your groceries online and then having them delivered to your house soon after we arrived here in England but I never felt that I wanted to try the service because I love going to the grocery store. I could wander the aisles for a long time (and sometimes I have done so!) and I enjoy looking at all of the products, especially the British products over here. I like to see the various placements, packaging of products and more.

However, the thought of having to go grocery shopping when I was going to be home with a newborn started to panic me a bit. Before Crosby arrived I kept thinking about the out of town visitors we would be having right after the baby arrived and I kept wondering how I would manage to shop for them and for us, with a newborn in tow, when the grocery store is always such a zoo by us? Because of the driving differences, I knew our house guests were not going to be willing to drive out to the store at a moment's notice - plus, they don't know how to get around over here. So, I decided that it would be worth trying the service before I "needed" it to see how it was, and then if I liked it, I would continue on with it for the first few weeks after the baby was due to arrive.

Well, I tried it and I fell in LOVE with this service. I have been so pleased that I do not have to fight the parking lot mess at the big retail park by us on a weekly basis to do my shopping for food! (the parking lot woes with a baby in tow will be covered in another post) Plus, I don't have to spend the money on the petrol to get to and from the grocery store either! The groceries now come to me.

I order them from the comfort of my living room, I then select my delivery time slot (an hour's window), and then voila, on the day and time of my order, a nice delivery man in a fancy delivery truck shows up at my house and unloads the grocery bags for me. He even walks them into my kitchen if I want him to do so.
The nifty part is that when the groceries arrive, the bags are color coordinated so I know which items go in the freezer (Green bags), which go in the fridge (red handles), and which items are to be left out for the cupboard area (purple handles). Genius!

The one challenge with the online grocery shopping ties back to the English language. As an American shopping online at a British grocery, I sometimes cannot find what I am looking for. I have become to realize that when I was physically shopping at the grocery store I knew where the item might have been located within the store, but now when I am searching for it by name, I do not always know the proper name of the product.
Some examples:
dishwashing soap = washing up liquid
diapers = nappies
tomato sauce = passata
tomato paste = tomato puree
sour cream = soured cream (not a huge difference, but interesting, isn't it?)
popsicle = ice lollie
garlic powder = garlic granules
zucchini = courgettes
chips = crisps
french fries = chips

I know this service is one part of British life that I have already become attached to in a very short period of time. I am surprised that this concept is not more popular in the US, given that there are so many customer service centric stores there. Hopefully by the time we move back, our local grocery store will have adopted this concept because I would sign up again in a heart beat!

1 comment:

Almost American said...

I think it depends on where you live in the US. Stop & Shop here in the northeast (owned by Giant) has a service called Peapod that delivers. I can imagine that if you live in one of the less densely populated parts of the USA, the supermarkets don't deliver, but I have lots of friends who swear by Amazon. They deliver diapers and all kinds of foodstuffs. A friend was telling me yesterday about a company she orders detergent (laundry & dishwasher) from and says it's no more expensive than buying it at the store.

I wonder if Peapod has the color-coded bags - I suspect not - that's a neat idea!