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Letting Others Shop For Your Food

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    Letting Others Shop For Your Food

    Like many of us I am sure, my COVID-19 risk tolerance has evolved significantly over the past several months. Still, I am doing what I can to avoid any indoor environments in which there are a great many people....like grocery stores.

    We've been using Instacart and I've warmed up to it after being incredibly skeptical. With the exception of some specialty items, the selection of items on the app mirrors the brands that are available in the store. (HEB for you Texas folks.) Occasionally, they will get something completely wrong, but it is relatively rare and a refund happens in a day or so. One does have to be a bit careful on the app to note the sizes the products, as my 128 oz of chicken bouillon in the pantry attests.

    Now that a lot of stores are doing their own in-house delivery and curbside pickup, Instacart has gotten a lot better at picking produce, which has made me quite happy. (My HEB always had good produce to begin with, so that helps.)

    They are still struggling a bit with meat, unfortunately. Chicken seems to be reliable, but ground beef can be a bit hit or miss. Sometimes they'll get me 90/10 sirloin instead of 80/20 ground chuck, even if I selected the latter. If I am very particular to specify the pork in the cyrovac bag, I'll get the right pork butt that I want. I'm sure I'll end up with a pork loin instead of pork tenderloins some day, too.

    I still haven't gotten the courage to have them pick up steaks or other cow cuts yet. I'm particular about those. I'm going to have them try for an eye of round roast this weekend and I'll see what I get. (Alas, they don't "support" going up to the meat counter and getting the prime cuts there. I wish they did, as I wouldn't even worry about it then.)

    Anyone else using such a service? It still seems so surreal that the last time I was in a grocery store was March 11.

    I do a great deal of shopping PLUS use amazon fresh, Whole Foods, Walmart, Sams, Amazon and target. Most of my meat I buy or order.

    I am not opposed to spreading the love but can/will be loyal to the right entity for things.


      I insist on shopping for my own meat and produce. I need to actually see it and put my hands on it. No way I'm trusting some random person to know what they're doing with that.


      • smokin fool
        smokin fool commented
        Editing a comment
        Hit the nail on the head for me

      • Steve B
        Steve B commented
        Editing a comment
        Same here. In fact I won’t even let my wife pick out produce and HELL NO for choosing meats. 😁 But I am serious.

      • Steve R.
        Steve R. commented
        Editing a comment
        Steve B my wife is good at picking out produce, but she knows to just let me buy the meat, other than chicken and ground meat. But even with those, I tend to have a better eye for a good deal.

      I jump right in. I'm elbow to elbow with other humanoids daily at work. Ain't no trip to the store going to significantly increase my viral load. Quick trips lately since our town gets raped due to being on the evacuation route. Slim pickens on Sunday in both wolly world and dollar world.


        Doing much the same. Was skeptical of Instacart when it first came out, but it’s been a godsend as we’re avoiding stores. Generally they do ok except when they mistook a cabbage for a head of lettuce. Don’t do meats except for chicken. It’s nice how you can text back and forth while shopping. Use them for Costco, Safeway and a few others. Also use Whole Foods but their software can’t compare to Instacart.


          Produce can be hit or miss. Meat is fine if you're getting chicken or ground meats.


            My family refuse to shop for meat for me. Even if they come across a great deal in store they will not pick out a piece.
            Why not?
            I'm accused of always being to critical of their selection and then ask a hindered and one questions about what the other pieces looked like. Why they picked that particular one, was there not one with less of this and more of that etc.
            It's tough being me.


            • EdF
              EdF commented
              Editing a comment
              Yep, the old "control freak" thing. Been there, and have learned to "roll with the punches" a bit more and treat something I might have once considered sub-optimal as a challenge.

            • HawkerXP
              HawkerXP commented
              Editing a comment
              Oh boy. +2
              Mrs. H used to turn her nose up on any inner muscular fat. I have since showed her the light.
              Last edited by HawkerXP; September 1, 2020, 10:13 AM.

            • HouseHomey
              HouseHomey commented
              Editing a comment
              It’s easy for me. Sophia refuses to shop. And when she does... oh boy look out and hold on to your wallet. I happily do it all. Well 95% anyway. Phew!!!

            Like others here, I insist on doing all the grocery shopping for my household. Period. My wife realized long ago that I was far too particular about it and willingly gave it up to me. Therefore I cannot ever see us using one of the services now being offered.


              While annoying, I can't get mad about them messing up the produce, especially for the new shoppers. I remember back when I got my first job at a grocery store in high school in the early 1990s. I thought an apple was an apple..you have like red and green and that was it. What do you mean there are like 15 billion varieties?!


                I have not had a positive experience with the online grocery shopping experience. Like some others here I am very particular about the ingredients in my meals. I am kind of limited in my shopping choices here, no Wholefoods and Amazon does not deliver. Don't do Walmart either. Safeway is where I go, closest to me.
                I will not buy anything that is their store brand because I have found it to be of poor quality. When I asked the man behind the meat counter who do I know what grade of meat I was getting, his reply was " I would have to go look at the box it came in and we don't always keep the box". I don't buy their meat either, except for and occasional chicken. The produce seems to be the first ones they pick up no matter what it looks like. When ordering online you specify the size and brand you want, then check or similar size in another brand or no substitutes. If I check substitutes, I get their brand. If I check no substitutes I often get nothing.
                I gave up on the service and just buck up and go to the store.


                  We have been using Kroger pickup service since mid-March. The staff bringing my orders to my car has been older high school and college age folks, and as Michael_in_TX pointed out a lot of the issue may be that they haven't learned the subtleties of shopping for groceries yet. I sure hadn't at that age! It took me until my mid to late twenties before I shifted from shopping based on cost to looking at quality, nutritional value, etc.

                  Our approach has been to place a pickup order for most of our items that are straightforward for any employee to select. Just before our pickup time we go in the store, choose our produce and fresh meat ourselves inside the store, then checkout and drive around the back to the pickup area and receive the rest of the order. This seems like a reasonable balance between minimizing the unnecessary social interaction of a long shopping trip with still obtaining the quality of food items that we prefer.


                  • Michael_in_TX
                    Michael_in_TX commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I like your "hybrid" approach idea!

                  • HouseHomey
                    HouseHomey commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The Hybrid model. Very nice.

                  Nah....I want to do my own shopping so I put on my mask and head out. Figure I have as much of a chance catching this crap at work in the office as I do in the store. Heck i can distance myself from people in the store better than at work.
                  Plus I really think people need to get out and stop staying shut-in inside their homes....we as humans still need to socialize.


                    I have done probably 95% of the grocery shopping for our family for years. I enjoy going to the store. If I just need standard packaged goods like cereal, canned goods, milk, etc. I have no problem doing curbside pickup and letting someone else pull it from the shelf from time to time. Some produce like vegetables I would be OK with letting someone else pick. I might even be OK with them getting some chicken breasts, pork chops, ground beef, or other stuff like that but steaks? I will always pick those myself. And I want to be in control of my own fruit as well.


                      I did Instacart twice, early in the pandemic. Not satisfied. At that time, curbside pickup was overwhelmed--no time slots for the entire seven day calendar. I prefer curbside to delivery so as to avoid the $10 delivery charge and the tip, but didn't have a choice. So, the first time, I allowed substitutions and got: a box of frozen breaded popcorn shrimp instead of the raw, shell-on shrimp I ordered. Seriously? Also got thinly cut chuck roast in place of filet mignons. Kids--what canya do?! The next time, I didn't allow substitutions. Alas, this means that if you select a can of, say Del Monte diced maters, they won't even sub Hunts.

                      My solution: Don't allow substitutions, but DO order multiple brands of the same product (assuming brand doesn't matter to you), especially if you really need something. Hey, canned maters are shelf stable and I will use 'em. F'rinstance, order both Del Monte and Hunt's canned maters, maybe add Red Gold as well. Next, I shop in person first thing in the AM at opening for things I don't trust the store shopper to buy--mainly produce and meats. Also, when shopping myself, I'm always on the look out for things that are "rare" and thus not available for pickup--stuff like KA bread flour and Clorox disinfecting wipes.

                      FWIW, I have tried to tip the store employee that brings the order to my car, but the tip has always been refused per store policy. My store is a Kroger affiliate-Fry's.

                      I look at curbside as a plus for me and the store employees. Aside from the business they get, I don't get exposed to them and they don't get exposed to me. Win-win.

                      My best wishes to you all in these weird times!


                      • Michael_in_TX
                        Michael_in_TX commented
                        Editing a comment
                        (Someone please tell me I was not the only one who had no idea what a 'canned mater' is.)

                        I like the multiple brand strategy. If you know you are going to use it and -- with your example -- Del Monte the same as Hunts, get both.

                      • Mr. Bones
                        Mr. Bones commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Michael_in_TX nope, amigo,; 'canned maters' is well within my patois.

                      I'm somewhat fussy about my produce and my wife is very fussy. I can't see it working. We're all required to wear masks and compliance is just about perfect except for a few wearing them under their noses. We feel pretty safe shopping for ourselves even with both of us being 60+ and me having high blood pressure.



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