Coffee heat rising

Shopping without Shopping…

So this morning I determined to put my life on the line and make a Costco run, after dropping off a client’s check at the credit union. This would normally be routine around here: the CU is right on the way to the Costco on the I-17, and so two errands are easily run in one trip. And that Costco is better stocked than the down-at-the-heels store closer to the ‘Hood — a store slated to be closed permanently in a couple months.

On reflection, though… Why?

Seriously: covid figures are going batshit here. At this point, Arizona is as bad off as New York was at the height of its contagion, and our whole state probably doesn’t have as many people as NYC does. Why risk my health and very possibly my life by charging into the germ-laden atmosphere of a wholesale big-box store? Is that or is that not freakin’ kee-razy?

Well, yes, that is pretty lunatic.

So the decision was made: hold the check until the next one shows up, and hold the suicidal shopping jaunt — indefinitely. Instead, order up the coveted items through Instacart.

There are some drawbacks to Instacart, the main one being that because relatively few Americans make a habit of eating whole foods, most of Instacart’s runners have NO clue how to select fresh produce. Nor do they recognize a decent variety of cheese — to them, all cheese is Kraft rubber cheese, and that is what they will grab off the shelf if you ask for cheddar. Even if you ask for a specific brand! 😀

Costco has self-righteously announced that it will not sell alcoholic beverages of any kind through delivery services. So that means if you need to restock the wine, you have to make a SEPARATE order to some other store. So now I’m waiting for someone to show up from Costco and someone to show up from Total Wine. This, IMHO, is mildly annoying. Not a big deal, but…annoying. Time-wasting. Tip-wasting: now I have to tip two runners instead of the one who was really all that was necessary.

Also problematic is that when it comes to Costco, Instacart sends its staff to the one closest to the delivery address. Well. Our Costco, which will close permanently in another month, is located in a slum. Just the other day a woman was killed in the park there by a drive-by shooter. It’s not a place you would willingly go, if there were an easy alternative. And, like any other sensibly run retail enterprise, Costco markets to the local demographics. So a number of things that are available at Costco stores in more middle-class and up-scale locales are not offered at our Costco. Chunk blue cheese, for example. Apparently the only thing pore folks know to do with blue cheese is crumble it up and sprinkle it over a salad. Hence, the only blue cheese you can get there comes in crumbles packed into a plastic container.

But all in all, my sense is that Instacart has more benefits than drawbacks. Videlicet:

Most obviously, it saves you time and gasoline wasted traipsing around the city. I haven’t bought gasoline since the first of April, largely because I’m not traipsing to stores every day or two.

In the Time of Plague, it puts a layer between you and the Infected, reducing the chance that you will catch the dread disease.

As you get older and can no longer navigate insane traffic and acre-sized stores, Instacart makes it possible for you to stay in your home rather than having to move to a life-care community.

On the other hand…

The Instacart lady just arrived. Instead of the deli-packaged black olives I’d ordered, she bought a bottle of icky green factory olives. The salt I’d ordered, which I thought was coarse-ground, is actually fine-ground and so cannot be used in my salt grinder.

That latter is not her fault: she picked up the item I pointed to online…I failed to realize it wasn’t coarse-ground.

Therein lies another drawback: miscommunication.

Soooo…oh goodie gumdrops! Now I get to sit around and wait for the delivery from Total Wine. Then climb in my car, traipse to Costco, stand in line at the return desk, and try to extract a refund for these useless items.

Directly obviating the specific reason for paying extra for Instacart delivery: to avoid exposure to the covid virus.

4 thoughts on “Shopping without Shopping…”

  1. I’m not sure if this is something you really want to pursue or not, but– I received a check from a client during the height of our local lockdown. I ended up installing my bank’s app on my phone and using it to deposit the check. It worked out fine.

    I think you’re less interested in using technology so much, but– it could be something to look into. My state isn’t in as bad of a situation as yours, but is on a gradual upswing. I don’t see myself visiting a bank in person for quite some time to come. I plan to continue using the app for the foreseeable future.

    • Yes, I know that exists. Our credit union got rid of the function that allowed you to scan a check, front & back, with your computer’s printer/scanner. Now they require you to use a smartphone for electronic deposit. Well, I now have an iPhone but do not know how to use it and, with the plague raging, have no way to get any instruction in using it.

      The CU is closed except for the drive-through. I carry disinfectant wipes in my car. When I get up to the drive-through thing, I wipe down the plastic container before opening it, drop the check in, send it, and wipe my hands. Then when the receipt is sent back, I wipe down the container again before opening it, then wipe my hands and the steering wheel thoroughly with another, clean disinfectant wipe. It’s a hassle, that’s for sure.

    • Without a doubt! First, though, I have to learn to use the iPhone, which to me is tabula rasa. Was going to devote a couple of hours to that this afternoon, as a matter of fact. But after cleaning bathrooms, banging around the yard, hauling trash, watering plants, fiddling with the pool, and fighting with the laundry in 110-degree heat — following a night that ended at 3 a.m. — I believe I’ll use that time to take a nap! 😀 Tomorrow, maybe?

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