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Serving: WI

Coronavirus changes views on grocery shopping online

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

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