For some people, grocery shopping is a therapeutic experience. The monotony of walking down the aisles and selecting the food that will nourish their body is soothing or cathartic. For others, the idea of hitting a grocery store after a long week at work sounds like some horrible form of torture, akin to repeatedly stubbing your big toe on a metal bed frame or walking into the car door, shin first. No matter which category you fall into, you can’t argue that grocery shopping isn’t always the most convenient thing we do on a weekly or biweekly basis.
Delivery or PickUp?
No, we’re not just talking about pizza anymore. These days, most grocery chains offer one of two options; delivery or pickup. Delivery services offer the ability to shop for your sundries online, have someone in the store shop for them, and then show up with a truck full of stuff. Pickup services allow their customers to choose their items online as well and have someone shop for their items, but rather than waiting for a convenient delivery window to pop up, they can go to the store to pick up their stuff when it’s easiest for them. Want your stuff to be ready after work? Set that pickup time.
Whether or not you dread grocery shopping, there are downsides to both of the new options available to those shopping for food and other household necessities. First of all, you’re relying on someone else to pick your groceries for you. Do you really think that some sixteen-year-old kid who is making nine dollars an hour is squeezing, sniffing, and rolling your cantaloupe to see if it is at the level at which it needs to be? Probably not. In fact, you’re probably not getting the best of the best when it comes to produce, in general.
Second, if the store is out of your brand of paper towels and you’ve given them permission to fill in the order with another brand, you’re likely not going to get the same quality or price that you’re used to. So if your homemade marinara sauce requires the expensive whole Roma tomatoes and they don’t have them, the sauce quality may suffer at the hands of someone else. Any cook knows that sometimes the brand matters, but it’s doubtful that the shopper in charge of your order is going to care about that.
The final downside of these newfound grocery services is that if the store doesn’t have rutabagas or spaghetti squash inside the doors, you’re not getting it. In this instance, here’s hoping that your dinner doesn’t need either one of those items. It’s an unfortunate part of the process, but the store at which you’ve placed your order isn’t going to send their employee on a run across the street to another store to pick up the items you need. Nope, you’re just not going to get those items.
If you’re a shut-in, you don’t have a driver’s license or a working car, or if you’re just a busy mama who doesn’t have the time to get out to the store, the delivery option is perfect. Someone, literally, will do your shopping for you and bring your items to your home. So if you live on the second floor and you’re ordering six cases of bottled water, you don’t have to worry about how you’re getting it up there, but you may have to deal with some angry looks from the delivery man.
If you are one of the millions of people in this country that work full time and support a family, grocery shopping isn’t always the best use of your time. Kids have to get to sports, food needs to get on the table, and homework has to be completed before bedtime; so finding the time is nearly impossible. With a pickup service, you can order all of your stuff over the internet and go get it when it’s convenient. It’s easier to add fifteen minutes onto your commute home than trying to wrestle two kids into a grocery store.
Are Grocery Stores Obsolete?
With the advent of these two options, is the traditional grocery experience becoming obsolete? Does it make sense to keep brick and mortar locations as the pickup and delivery options become more popular? As more and more chains get in on the trend, are we going to notice a decline in the construction of new stores or have they fallen by the wayside?