Of all the necessary evils we must endure in our daily lives, in my opinion, grocery shopping is perhaps the most necessary.
Necessary because we require nutrients and energy from food to sustain us – as well as all of the other things we need or want in order to live comfortably (like dark chocolate Tim Tams). Evil because the act of grocery shopping can be time consuming, frustrating and downright boring.
Many supermarkets are now offering an online grocery shopping service, which can certainly take much of the evil out of the process – at a price. I have been an inconsistent online grocery shopper for almost a year now and feel that I am able to give an only slightly biased review of both the positive and negative aspects of this truly modern convenience.
No travel, no fuss
The strongest benefit of the online grocery shopping experience is the time you save. Time is, after all, almost universally the most precious commodity, particularly when you have a family and a 9 to 5 job.
A typical trip to the grocery store/supermarket involves travel time, shopping time, waiting in line, checkouts, more travel time – all of which combined can easily run over an hour (double the figure if you have children to bring along or are trying a new recipe).
Online shopping addresses all of the above;
If you become a regular shopper, the store website can “remember” the items you bought last time. So if you tend to stick to the same products and brands each week, it makes shopping a breeze. And you can still see all the weekly specials and discounts that the store offers.
Plan ahead and make the most of your time
The convenience factor is also very important. By simply planning ahead and allocating 30 minutes of your time at least a day or two in advance, you can have the groceries delivered at a time of your choosing, be it Saturday afternoon or (in my case) Monday morning.
Like all delivery services, there is usually a delivery time frame. The store I use gives you roughly 2-3 hour windows in which the groceries can be delivered. It does seem like a long time to wait, but just pick a time when you know you will be at home and make use of it to work from home or catch up on household chores for example.
Less waste, more savings
Lastly, speaking from personal experience, it is quite easy to see something shiny on a shelf or a random special and throw it in your trolley only to forget about it until you see the receipt and have a minor heart attack.
Having all the groceries in a list that you can match to your shopping list, and being able to see the total cost is very helpful – particularly if you are working with a budget. Not to mention that you can simply run to the kitchen and check if you actually need another box of Envirokidz Gorilla Munch.
Not all sunshine and lollipops
Onto the case against online grocery shopping. We have delivery fees, loss of exercise (every little bit counts!), higher prices in general – particularly with meat – and if you are a hermit like me, one less valuable social experience and one less reason to leave the house on the weekend.
Delivery fees are, as I see it, the price for the convenience. While many stores do offer discounts if you spend above a certain amount, actually going to the store (if you are close enough) generally works out cheaper. The store I use charges $20 – $25 for delivery, which doesn’t seem like too much as a once off fee, does add up over the weeks and is avoidable by going to the store. Not to mention that in-store discounts usually seem to be a bit more generous and some fresh items are marked up, such as meat and seafood.
Also be sure to double check the packaging and the number of items carefully. You don’t want to accidentally buy 22 tins of tomatoes instead of 2.
One could certainly say that modern life is becoming more and more sedentary and the internet has contributed to this. Convenience is not necessarily a good thing, and realistically, grocery shopping does not take particularly long. Imagine for a moment, working from home for a living and having all of your needs delivered straight to your door (I don’t need to imagine this, but I do work out – thanks for asking). It is very easy to get stuck into a routine depriving yourself from exercise and social interaction, leading you down a very dangerous dystopian sci-fi looking path.
Overall, online grocery shopping is a very convenient service and all of the online stores I have dealt with have it down to an art at this point.
From personal experience I have never had a missing or incorrect item and they have always delivered within the time-frame, usually within the first 30 minutes. If you do have more money than time it is definitely recommended for you. Just remember that the convenience does come at a price, the impact of which entirely depends on how you view it.
Do you have home delivered groceries? What do you love about it? If you haven’t done it before, let us know what concerns you. We’d love to hear your thoughts!