Chances are, if you weren’t big on online shopping before March, you quickly became a new staple on the Amazon/UPS/FedEx delivery route. I know my parents have.
I have always been an Amazon star customer (an, but with the pandemic my status has risen to new levels. We bought EVERYTHING online.
This basically summed up the KK household while a pandemic was swirling around us:
Since we were all in lockdown, all clothing shopping was done online. We were transitioning from Winter into Spring, and Little Mister had ZERO clothes that would fit him. Enter Target, Old Navy and Kohls, and lots of comfy clothes that were perfect for wearing…around the yard. That was about as exciting as summer was going to get, it seemed.
And the boxes started piling up.
Amazon as usual was my go-to. Personal care items. Dog food. Toys. Protein shakes. (Still no disinfecting wipes!) Could the virus live on packages? I had no idea, so I let them sit in the garage for a few days “de-germing” before bringing them into the house. And even then I washed twice after opening them. The Poor Little Mister started asking, “Can I touch that? Is it from the warehouse?” Who is going to pay my for child’s therapy sessions in 10 years??
Online shopping was just so…easy. Click, click…it’s here! Even Little Mister discovered the joys of online shopping. Look at it on the screen, Mom clicks a few buttons, it’s here in 2 days! (Have to teach them early!)
But perhaps the biggest change for me came in the form of grocery shopping. This was new territory for me. I LOVE going to the grocery store. Sneaking out of the house on the weekends before anyone was awake, preferred seasonal beverage and list in hand, walking the aisles, making a weekly menu in my head as I went along. I tried online grocery shopping once last year and it was…fine. But physically going to the grocery store allowed me to change my mind on the fly about what we would make, should something catch my eye. It allowed me to change gears should something not be in stock. I could make my own substitutions and decide when I need to jump ship and find an entirely different product. That sort of customization is very limited with online grocery shopping.
Instacart (for all of its faults) allowed me to do this within limits. I liked that I could text with my shopper while s/he was shopping. It was like making a new friend every time I put in a grocery order! Some shoppers were better than others, engaging in my witty banter (“Any TP? Two-ply only, please!”) and sending me photos of products to make sure they were the right ones.
And, of course, I likely annoyed them with my Type A personality. For example, I had Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts on my list one week. My shopper sent me a photo of a frozen round pie crust saying, “This is the only one they have – do you want it?”
No, I didn’t want it. It was a completely different product than the one I had requested. Also? My shopper was in the wrong section of the store. So I did what any other expert grocery shopper would have done: I passive aggressively led them to the correct part of the store.
ME: “No, thank you! If they don’t have the one in the red box near the butter and cans of crescent rolls then please don’t get any!”
The next text was pic of the exact item I was looking for with a note that said, “I found it! Last one!” with a smiley face.
Am I crazy? Yes.
Did I get the right pie crust? Also yes.
We used online grocery shopping for quite a few months. In the early summer, Mr. KK started going to the grocery store again. (Perhaps he was tired of listening to me complain that the lettuce was the wrong shade of green? Or he no longer wanted to support the avocado farmers after that time I thought I ordered 4 avocados but instead ordered 4 bags of avocados. I’m still burping up guacamole.)
With Mr. KK going to the store, I had my very own personal online grocery shopper with the added bonus that this shopper knew exactly what I liked (thin-stalked broccolini) and what I wouldn’t stand for (Lay’s chips substituted for Cape Cod).
I finally, after 6 months of avoiding it, finally went to the grocery store for the first time. I went on a Tuesday, in the middle of the day, to avoid the weekend crowds. And it was…fine. The directional arrows are a little annoying; doubling back down certain aisles definitely makes the time in store even longer. It was eye opening to see some of the empty shelves (still no disinfecting wipes!), and amazing to see who are mask wearers and who aren’t (and that no one is really standing up to anyone asking them to follow the rules posted on the door). I have gone back to store two other times, both at 7am on the weekends when no one else was in the store (those could also have been the designated senior citizen hours, but seriously, this pandemic has aged me decades and I feel I now qualify).
One positive that has come out of this year is that I have found my job when I retire: online grocery shopper.
I would be the perfect employee for a few reasons:
1. I love being in the grocery store.
2. I know where everything is, including sneaky items like QTips (baby aisle) and Bisquick (not with the other pancake mixes but in the baking aisle).
3. I’d make sensible substitutions (if they request a box of spaghetti, I would replace it with another long pasta, NOT a short, tubular one).
4. I’m very adept at spending other people’s money.
5. It’s safer than driving an Uber.
I’d be happy to start my client base now. I’ll even go to specialty stores! Reserve your spot now!