Moving to a new city usually involves the sometimes tedious but necessary task of finding new favorites. Finding a grocery store that is priced right and has the best selection is often a challenge, and usually involves traveling to multiple stores. Our move here to England was no different, except that here we don’t have the convenience of our own car. Having our own car makes a trip to the grocery store infinitely easier, as we can go on our own time, and its pretty easy to drop your stuff in the trunk or backseat. Here in Oxford, we either walked or took the bus to the different stores, and then carried our new purchases home in backpacks or re-usable cloth bags.
In the eight months we have been here, we have shopped at no less than 10 stores and each store has its own set of positive and negative points. Some are much more convenient to get to, some have better selection, some are priced lower. Unfortunately for us, none of the stores really had the right combination of positives, AND we still had to carry our groceries home a mile or so every time we went to the store. This can quite literally be a pain if we end up buying a lot of groceries, or a lot of heavy items like cat litter and beer. I suppose the solution would just be to go to the store at more frequent intervals, but who wants to do that?
Enter our solution: having our groceries delivered. I originally scoffed at the idea, I mean, who is that lazy? Well, I guess we are. And actually, I would argue that is isn’t laziness, but selection and convenience that changed my mind.
Most of the big chains of grocery store offer deliver here in the UK, so it actually isn’t a novel concept. In fact, our favorite online grocer Ocado has 1.6 million customers, 4300 employees and 8 huge warehouses in the UK. We clearly aren’t the only ones that like them. Ordering groceries is as simple as browsing their online catalog and adding items to our “trolley”. This method makes it much easier to find the best priced product in the store, but also to add the item that I’ll randomly remember during the day. I just sign in and add it to our list. Heck, I even have an Ocado app for my phone.
Of course something this simple isn’t without mistakes or drawbacks. Sometimes they will forget an item, or run out and have to substitute one with something else. But I’m usually impressed with the selection of sensitive items like fresh meats and produce, and if we really need a specialty item we usually head over to the covered market anyway.
Once we have a list of what we want, we just pick a delivery time and date and then go on with our lives. Usually within the first 15 min of our delivery slot, there is a knock at the door, and the guy places our bags wherever we want. Each bag is even labeled according to where the contents belong, fridge, freezer, cupboard etc.
We no longer have to plan the better half of a day around trips to the grocery store. We have everything we want delivered. It has changed the way we shop, and I’m hoping it catches on back home.