Day 17 – Adventures in Online Grocery Shopping

No groceries on the shelf
Empty store shelves

It’s been 11 days since we last got groceries and we’re completely out of fresh vegetables, so I went back to the online store where we had previously purchased groceries and tied to log in.  No luck.  Apparently their systems were so swamped that I could not shop there. This lead to what I am calling our adventures in grocery shopping.

We tried another store that had no delivery dates in the next 48 hours, which is frustrating because I had painstakingly added everything to the cart only to find out that there were no open time slots during which we could pick up or schedule delivery of our groceries.

I had to try two more stores before I could find one that would schedule me pick up groceries on April 1st. It’s further away, but I can live with that.

I’ll report back on how our adventures in grocery shopping end up, after we take delivery and find out how many of the 45 items we ordered are actually delivered.

The next time we need fresh vegetables, I’m think I’m going to head to a local farm stand.  Even if they don’t have celery.

InstCart Shoppers Protest Conditions

This week, both employees for InstaCart, which runs online shopping for many different grocers, and employees at Whole Foods planned work stopages or sick-outs to protest a lack of protective gear, sick pay, and asking for hazard pay while working during this pandemic.

I believe in a free-market system, which means that if you don’t like your employer, you quit and get a job elsewhere.  If enough people quit because they feel they are being poor;y paid or treated unfairly, then InstaCart will have to start paying more, especially in these period of high-demand.  Go drive for Uber Eats or GrubHub, or apply for a job picking groceries at Walmart, etc.  There are alternatives out there, and they are hiring.

But I don’t blame the shoppers, who are rightfully designated as “essential.” I blame the companies and their culture.

This is a time when suppliers should step up.  They need to remove barriers, hire more, pay them more, protect them from illness, and promote the hell out of their business.  Why?  First, because it’s the right thing to do.  There are folks out there, including many elderly, who need groceries and are afraid to leave their home.

Second, because this is the how they will win new customers.  Millions of people who have never done grocery delivery or grocery pick up before are trying it out for the first time.  InstaCart needs to win those people over so that they will become customers for the rest of their life, not just the rest of the coronavirus pandemic.  If InstaCart doesn’t improve employee morale and customer service, those customers who have a bad experience will drop them as soon as the virus is no longer a concern.

This is the time to Step Up

There are restaurants donating food to healthcare workers.  There are clothing manufactures who have started making gowns and protective masks.  There are distilleries and perfumers that are making hand sanitizer.  Some companies are stepping up; others are not.  I’m sure I’m not the only person who will remember that in the future.