Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: WI
Instacart employee shops for a customer and checks phone for item list Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
STAYING SAFE: It takes about the same amount of time to shop online as it does in the store.

Coronavirus changes views on grocery shopping online

Suddenly, selecting my own produce and meats is no longer a priority.

When online grocery shopping was introduced about a year ago, I scoffed at the idea of letting someone else select the fruits, vegetables and meat I was going to buy. I thought that was something I would never want anyone doing besides me.

OK, I’ll admit, it’s a control issue. I like grocery shopping. Going grocery shopping is more like an adventure to me than a chore. The idea of someone else deciding which vine-ripened tomatoes I might want, or which bananas or McIntosh apples or pork loin I will buy, seemed ridiculous.

I noticed the cars pulling up to the parking spaces set aside for online shoppers who pick up their groceries curbside at the store, but I figured that was not a service for me.

Then along came the coronavirus. My concerns about not being able to select my asparagus, broccoli or which package of skinless, boneless chicken thighs I might want went out the window. When the stay-at-home orders were announced, I was one of the first shoppers lined up to do online shopping in mid-March.

Little did I know that figuring out how to shop for groceries online would be more of a chore than an adventure. I usually shop at a Pick ‘n Save grocery store in Fond du Lac, Wis., which is located 20 miles from my house.

The first two times I tried to buy my groceries online, I failed! I tried a third time and realized because so many people are buying their groceries online, there were no pickup times available until the following Friday. Once I figured that out, I was able to do my shopping.

It takes about the same amount of time to shop online as it does in the store. The first time I bought groceries online, I was out of almost everything and purchased $200 worth of food and household items. But when I went to pick up my groceries, I learned about $50 of what I had ordered was not available, including toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and several packages of meat. They credited my account so I didn’t pay for that stuff, but I was clueless about how I was going to get those items.

I decided to try getting my groceries online from my old grocery store in Ripon, Wis. I figured they may have some items the other store didn’t have, and neither store charges for the service. While I have not been able to get all the items I order at either store, I have learned that is because they can’t keep up with the volume of groceries being purchased at their stores these days.

I continue to switch back and forth, getting groceries at one store one week and the other store the next week. I also bought $150 worth of meat at a local meat market by ordering it on the phone, which ensures my husband and I have meat in our freezer. They offer curbside pickup, too.

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, I have learned that letting someone else select my fruit, vegetables, meat and other groceries is not a big deal. Having my groceries loaded into my car while I stay safe in my car is priceless.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.