Let your fingers do the shopping…

If you regularly work online, live and breathe search engines and internet research, and regularly order merchandise through the world wide web, please skip to the sports section or prepare to get your laughs for the week…

Life is pretty great. Really. There’s not much I don’t like to do. But those who know me well, if asked to pick my least favourite activity wouldn’t hesitate to answer… grocery shopping. I almost need psychological support to head out to fill the pantry. And it’s a self perpetuating problem… I don’t like to do it so I leave it until the family’s crying at the front door because there’s nothing to eat, so it takes two entire carts to fill the list and it takes forever to select, bag, pay, roll out to the car, unload, drive home, unload again, carry it all down the front steps and in the front door. And then there’s a mountain of stuff to put away.

The family once again smiles.

When they’re around I make them come with me. But often it’s my 10 pm priority after an evening meeting and I’m all alone and miserable.

So when I got the flyer for easygrocers.com, online grocery shopping delivered to your door, this seemed like a business made just for me. Truly.

Well folks, on Thursday afternoon, from 3 to 3:45 pm I did my grocery shopping. First I opened my internet search engine, and then I typed in easygrocers.com. If you make the mistake of typing easygrocer.com (missing S), you’ll find yourself at an American site which goes berserk when you try to log in and enter your postal code in the zip block. I checked directory assistance, and called easygrocers.com and kindly Jen explained the difference.

In the process of doing my first online shopping, I spoke to Jen five times. I warned her. I also told her that she could expect to coach many of us who are chip-challenged through our virgin food forays. She walked me through entering my login name and my password and then helped me learn how to shop.

Good thing I’d made out a list beforehand. I don’t usually do that because we normally need everything by the time I get to the grocery store.

I clicked on the cereals picture and it gave me all kinds of choices… hot, cold, dry, wet, sugared, not surgared etc. I chose sugared. What the heck… our teenager deserves something to kickstart her early mornings! Once into the sugared cereal section, pictures come up for all the brand names plus some no-name products. Beside each item is a little “buy” icon. You click the icon of choice and over on the right hand side the item gets listed by description, quantity and price.

With each item added, your list grows, including item cost and subtotal.

I strolled along the dairy aisle, pushing my cart (ha-ha!) and picked up a large brick of old cheddar, a package of feta cheese, 2 litres of soy milk (vanilla flavoured), and a dozen eggs. Zip, zip, zip… the list grows. If I want two of something, I click twice.

I had to call Jen back again to find out where they hide the juice, and she quickly took me back to the “main menu” and pointed out the beverage section. Frozen juice? Oh, that’s under frozen foods.

How about dishwashing detergent? Laundry soap? Ah… under cleansers. I’m starting to get the hang of this.

Jen helped me again to find spaghetti sauce, but I found the macaroni and cheese by myself. Ten packages of that. Teenager. It’s part of her DNA.

What took so long was moving from aisle to aisle because unless you’re on high speed internet it takes the picture icons awhile to download. So, having a list that’s kind of organized means you don’t go into the dairy section several times… you just go there once so you don’t have to keep waiting for pictures to come up. It’s the same as getting one item from the dairy aisle in a real grocery store, then running with your cart over to the bread aisle, then back to dairy for something else. Probably takes about the same length of time!

Anyway, once I’d completed my list, I browsed through the aisles again, had a look at the sample shopping list to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, and then hit total at the bottom. $119.83.

(easygrocers.com tells me that their service is growing so quickly that many of the food items are being picked up at Zehrs, Costco and Sobeys right now until their warehouse is finished and they bring their own food in.)

That done, I get to choose whether I want to pick this stuff up myself or have it delivered. For $7. Once I enter my postal code, a message comes up that says, “yes, we deliver to your area… give us the nearest intersection, please.” Then I select which day I want to have my groceries delivered. I chose Friday. Once I chose Friday, a series of timeframes popped up and I clicked on 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

This column that you’re reading on Sunday has to be filed at the Advance by Friday morning, so you’ll have to guess about how it all turned out. Jen tells me that when they arrive at the door, they’ll take my charge card to pay my bill.

I get to unload and put it away myself.

PS… this has been an interesting activity. There are lots of benefits to it. Great way to avoid taking your three and your four year olds at the same time to the grocery store. Great way to shop if you’ve got the flu, or you’re caring for a family member who’s really sick. Or, you don’t have a car. Or, you hate shopping.

However, I think I’d miss the friendliness of our neighbourhood grocery store. I know I missed the selection that’s available when you’re in the physical shopping environment, as opposed to the virtual environment.

But, for people who work weird hours, or a host of other reasons, this experience might just take the cake. Click once on baked goods.