Call me crazy, but I love wandering the grocery store on early weekend mornings. While most normal people are still dozing in their beds, I’m smiling behind my cart at an hour when the muzak seems extra charming, fake birds chirping in the produce department are authentically relaxing, the employees are still chipper and I cruise around unfettered while envisioning a week’s worth of home cooking. So why have I officially ditched the habit, cut the in-store cord and signed up for at-home grocery delivery?
Call it a self-diagnosed case of agoraphobia. During the evening rush, my neighborhood grocery stores are packed to the gills, and the magic of shopping is lost. Everything from parking to picking out a parsnip is less enjoyable with crowds packing the aisles Skipping a busy aisle throws me off my game or causes me to forget a crucial ingredient, and congested checkout lines are the definition of unpleasant wasted time. I decided to weigh my options.
Here in Minneapolis, we’ve got a few at-home grocery providers: Instacart, CobornsDelivers and Gopher Grocery. Liking the selection and easy website, I signed up with Coborns—a local grocer with a long track record. I’m now two full months into this new lifestyle, and I’m never going back again.
Sure, picking out $150+ worth of grocery items is tedious on my tablet—a good 20-minute job at the last—but at least I’m sitting in my comfy chair sipping coffee or a cocktail while doing so. Product selection is my most important criteria. So far, there have been very few items the site hasn’t had, meaning supplemental trips to the brick and mortar have been few and far between.
As you might imagine, a few thrifty friends and relatives have reacted negatively when I’ve told them of this new service—or lifestyle upgrade, as I’ve framed it. “What are you 80 years old?” one friend asked, who seemed to disagree with the added expense.
It is slightly more expensive, but I’m still in the few-month free delivery window with my provider. While some items I’m used to paying $4 at Target cost $5 through Coborns, the company sent me a stack of $10 and $20 off coupons to really get me hooked—and they’ve worked on me hook, line and sinker.
Beyond price and selection, coordinating the deliveries themselves was also a priority. Choosing 5-hour delivery windows is reminiscent of the hassles of scheduling a cable company appointment, but the added planning hasn’t been a problem for this homebody.
Speaking of planning, it takes more foresight to schedule a week or two week’s worth of meals as I punch in my order. Throw in a few anytime staples like deli meat, sandwich bread, soups and pizzas—but the rest is a curated list of meals and ingredients I’ll need for the meals I plan to cook from scratch.
Not wanting to waste food, missing a meal due to changed plans (or the occasional lack of ambition) can be frustrating, but I just shift my meal plans back a day or two and am back on track. This planning is a cost savings in itself, as we’re eating more leftovers and following a plan, rather than just stocking the kitchen with stuff that looks good or is on sale at the store.
Thus far, with five or six deliveries under my belt, I’ve found the Coborns delivery people to be exceedingly friendly. We look forward to seeing which super-friendly driver will show up with our crates full of food. Each interaction has ended with an exchange of names and a handshake.
The added cost of delivery (through the markup of individual items) is definitely worth it to me. I don’t miss having to stop at the store after work, I have an additional 1-3 hours of weekly free time and, in case I get nostalgic, I can even play some lite adult contemporary or bird songs on the stereo as I cook.