Time stamp: April, Year 1 A.C. (after COVID). I had discovered Wal-Mart grocery delivery. We had a good relationship . . . for awhile. When COVID hit, Wal-Mart grocery stores were slammed with hoarders and their entire online grocery service had a complete meltdown. So when I needed something, I decided to do my regular run to Costco. I headed to Costco at 8:00 a.m. on a Tuesday to get a few things before work. I was stopped at the door, because I wasn’t over 90 and using a cane, and was told I would have to wait until all seniors had finished shopping. I figured most of them got there at 6 a.m. and couldn’t hold up much longer, so I decided to wait. While waiting, I noticed 20-somethings being ushered into the store. So when I inquired why, I was scolded to get back in line, and that they were with Instacart. And that was the first time I had heard of the service. What do you do when you are waiting? You surf apps on your cell phone and find Instacart.
What has come from using Instacart are various grocery items I never ordered, and that I’m not sure what to do with. After my last delivery, where I received Oat Milk (instead of Egg Nog), Plantains (instead of Bananas), strange bread with grains I have never heard of, and a random gallon of orange juice, I started to really look at the delivery person more closely.
Instacart is like the Uber of grocery shopping. The call goes out that some loser like me is too lazy to go to the store and needs eggnog, bananas, and a loaf of bread. An Instacart shopper in your area picks up the call. They go to the grocery store you choose, shop your list using your substitutes (if you figured out how to give them substitutes), and then deliver the groceries to your door. But if shopper is not from a country that has egg nog or bananas, or they barely speak English, then communication through an app can be difficult. Some of the shoppers and delivery people tell you their back story (e.g., “I’m a single mom working three jobs, please leave me good feedback” followed by a smiley face emoji in 5 different colors). In the meantime, she couldn’t find the chicken broth and didn’t text to ask what to do. Then you have shoppers who text you 10 times because they can’t figure out what exactly you want even though you have selected the exact item and there is a picture. And last, you have those that never shopped in their lives, don’t text to ask, and deliver oat milk, plantains and bread made by an alien.
The takeaway for me has been to just rate them on what they did, accept the Oat Milk, Plantains, weird bread and orange juice you will never drink, and figure out what to do with it. I have recently learned how to fry up plantains, been adding oat milk to my coffee, drank coffee with my weird toast, and made orange juice popsicles. Next up, I’m going to place an order for alcohol and some eye make-up just to make things interesting. Happy shopping in Year 2 A.C.