Browsing Tag: shopping

    Miscellany

    All-In on Grocery Delivery Services

    September 11, 2020

    When it comes to “pandemic changes” that we’re going to continue doing/using after the pandemic ends, grocery delivery is pretty high on the list.

    I’d never done grocery delivery until this hit back in the spring, and now I’m totally sold on it.

    Since Cari is a real estate agent, her weekends are often spent out looking at houses with clients — yes, even during the pandemic that’s still the case. So I’ve been doing the family grocery shopping for pretty much the past 16 years. A typical weekend of grocery shopping involves a minimum of two trips to different stores and takes a good two hours or so, sometimes more but rarely less. And that doesn’t include a monthly trip to Costco; add in another 60-90 minutes for that.

    With grocery delivery, I’m spending maybe 20-30 minutes total making a shopping list and placing the orders through Costco.com, Walmart.com, and Instacart. And then everything shows up on our front door and we just put it away and get on with our lives.

    I hear you saying, “What about the costs, Matt?”

    The groceries are a little more expensive when ordered through Costco or Instacart. Walmart groceries cost the same online and in the store. Then there are delivery fees and tips … and I try to be a generous tipper, especially in times like this.

    As best I can tell, and I’ve tried to track this, all of those extra costs come to about $50-60 per shopping “event.” I put it that way because we used to do grocery shopping every weekend. Now with delivery, we’re ordering more and only shopping twice a month. So it’s about $100-$120 extra per month … but it saves me about 8-10 hours per month. When I do the math, delivery is basically costing about $12-15 per hour. And my time is worth a lot more than that, so I consider it a fair trade.

    The only downside to grocery delivery is that sometimes the stuff you’ve ordered is out of stock. With all of the services, you can indicate if you want a substitute item or if you want the item skipped if it’s out of stock. And when this happens to your Costco/Instacart order, it’s no problem — you can watch the order being shopped in real-time, and if you don’t like what the “shopper” has chosen as the substitute, you can text right away and provide instructions. But you can’t do that with the Walmart orders. When something’s out of stock at Walmart, the shopper picks a substitute and you’re basically stuck with it. So you have to be extra careful when ordering about which items you’ll allow substitutes for, and which ones you won’t.

    When the pandemic started, we also signed up with a local community farming co-op — they deliver super-fresh, organic fruits and vegetables every week for $29. That’s been really cool because I hate to waste money and hate to throw food away, so I find myself eating a lot healthier these days to make sure that food and money aren’t wasted.

    The photo above shows a typical delivery from this service — heirloom tomatoes, peaches, sweet corn, watermelon, green peppers, cucumbers, avocado, and blueberries. Soooooo fresh and delicious.

    Put all of that together and you can count me a convert to the joys of grocery delivery.

    Miscellany

    The Sweatpants Conspiracy

    October 15, 2018

    (I don’t believe I’m blogging about sweatpants. Sweatpants? Yes. Sweatpants.)

    I’ve been working out pretty regularly this year in the gym that I put together out in our garage. Since the temps are cooling off now, I’m working out in long-sleeved shirts and sweatpants, not the usual shorts and t-shirt combo.

    That, plus the fact that I work from home and tend to wear sweatpants on non-workout days, too, means I’m running out of clean sweatpants every week.

    Time to shop!!

    I went to Target this weekend, my home for sweatpants over the years. They always have the most basic sweatpants you can find — usually from Hanes or some basic brand — for $10 each. Can’t beat that. But this year, those no-frills sweatpants were nowhere to be found.

    Instead, Target was trying to sell me sweatpants as a fashion statement! They had bedazzled sweatpants, sweatpants with extra zippers and designs and pockets and glitter. Some were $50 and up, and the cheapest were $17. Not a huge deal, but they were all ugly and not what I wanted.

    Oh, and they weren’t called sweatpants. They’re now “joggers.” When did that happen?

    So anyway, after our real estate team meeting today I kept looking. First to JCPenneys, then to Sears, then to Old Navy. Same story as with Target — lots of fashion, lots of overdone designs and not one of them had the basic, no-frills sweatpants I wanted!!! Oh, and they were all called “joggers” again. WTF??!!

    I’m pretty sure the retailers and clothing makers got together and came up with a sweatpants conspiracy: No more $10 sweatpants with simple designs; just over-designed and over-priced “joggers” everywhere. I mean, look at the photo above from Old Navy: “Level up your fleece game with a sleek, modern fabrication….” How about NO? I don’t need a sleek, modern fabrication. I need some simple sweatpants!

    I tried one more place today: Shopko. Found lots more “joggers” with too many pockets and patterns and stripes and zippers and $50 price tags, but I kept going through the men’s section. Finally, there they were on the back wall: basic, no-frills Gildan sweatpants! There was no price tag on them, but I was sure they weren’t gonna run $40 each.

    At the register, they scanned at $9.99 each. BAM! I had three pairs with me, and the total bill came to $26.32. I asked the cashier if she’d given me some kind of discount, and she said she did because I’d been waiting in line too long. BAM! Persistence paid off and I side-stepped this awful fashion conspiracy. And now I have the last three pairs of basic sweatpants that were being sold in the United States.

    (I don’t believe I just blogged about sweatpants….)

    Miscellany

    I choose to not be offended

    July 11, 2017

    1.) I’m not going to be offended by the 25-yr-old gal at the pet store today who asked me, “Do you want some help out to your car?” as I was buying a 30-pound bag of dog food. #ageism

    2.) I’m also not going to be offended by the woman at the grocery store a couple weeks ago who warned me that the avocados I was buying weren’t quite ripe, because she’s surely smarter than a guy when it comes to buying avocados. #sexism

    3.) Likewise, I’m not going to be offended by the female cashier at the grocery store a month or two ago, who decided to educate me about 75% of the items I was buying because surely guys have no idea how to do the grocery shopping. #sexism #womansplaining

    Nope. Not gonna be offended. Life’s too short. Just gonna keep smiling and doing my thing. YMMV 🙂

    ps –

    1.) Fortunately, I can carry 30 pounds of dog food very easily at my current age.

    2.) I don’t like avocados, but my wife says no one picks a better avocado than me. Weird, huh?

    3.) I’ve been doing the family grocery shopping for the past 10 years at minimum.

    walmart
    Miscellany

    Walmart Actually Called to Confirm an Online Order

    August 22, 2012

    walmart

    This is crazy. In 2012, who’s ever heard of any online store calling a customer to confirm an online order … much less the biggest retailer on the planet??

    But it’s true. I got a call from Walmart to confirm an order that I placed online. Here’s how it happened:

    On Sunday (Aug. 19th), I saw on Dealnews.com that Walmart was selling $100 iTunes e-Gift cards for just $80. Bargain! Since we don’t store a credit card number in our iTunes accounts, we use gift cards to establish a credit in our accounts and make purchases against those credits.

    So, this was a deal I wanted to jump on. I placed an order for two e-Gift cards via Walmart.com, and created a new account there in the process so that I could check on the status of the order. I got a notification saying that the order would be processed on Monday and I’d get the e-Gift cards then.

    Monday came and went, and nothing. I logged in to Walmart.com to check the order, and it still said “Processing” with Monday as the delivery date. I figured they might’ve had a ton of orders for this deal, so I waited.

    On Tuesday, at about 11:25 am, I got a voicemail from an unknown number. It was a female calling from Walmart.com “calling to verify recent activity on a Walmart.com account.” Her message included an invoice number and instructions to call back to confirm the order.

    I didn’t get around to returning the call until about 3:15 pm. I was kinda suspicious because the invoice number she left on voicemail didn’t match the order number that showed in my Walmart.com account. I called anyway, but got a voicemail system saying that business hours had ended at 4:30 pm CT. The voicemail said I could leave my name, invoice number and a message confirming or rejecting the order.

    So I called and confirmed the order. And then I hung up, hoping it wasn’t some kind of scam, and reassuring myself that I didn’t give away any personal information — I repeated the invoice number given to me, not the order number from my account.

    And then … 39 minutes later … this arrived in my Inbox.

    giftcard

    It included our gift card codes and, yes, they work. 🙂

    Isn’t that bizarre? I mean, wow … in one sense, it’s really cool that Walmart has the wherewithal to call to confirm orders like this. I can’t imagine any other major retailer, nor many smaller ones, doing the same thing, and I have no idea how personal confirmation calls can be scaled to the level that Walmart.com must do this. But they do.

    Is it just because I was a new account?

    Is it because I ordered an e-gift card – something not physical, not returnable and something they’d want to make sure was a legitimate order before they “shipped” it to me?

    Something else?

    I don’t know why. But I’m amazed and impressed about the whole thing.

    (Photo from Walmart. Used via Creative Commons licensing.)

    costco-shop-online
    Miscellany

    Now You Can Shop Online!

    June 11, 2012

    As I mentioned before, I’m still in the process of unpacking some boxes — primarily old personal paperwork like bills and pay stubs and stuff like that.

    I was going through a folder with stuff from 1999 (yes, really) and found part of their membership statement/invoice. It had this:

    costco-shop-online

    How’s that for a blast from the past?!?

    I love the second line, how instructional it is:

    Simply type www.costco.com in the address field of your internet browser….

    You just know that a lot of their customers were like, What’s an internet browser? Where’s the address field?

    Great stuff. I’ll post more if I find any other archaic gems like this while going through the old boxes.

    Miscellany

    Common Supermarket Trick

    April 3, 2011

    I took this photo last time I was out at the store doing some grocery shopping. It’s not obvious, so let me explain.

    On the upper shelf, you can buy one 40 oz. jar of peanut butter for $4.08. On the shelf below it, you can buy a wrapped two-pack of 40 oz. peanut butter for $8.62. Same size, same brand, exact same product.

    peanut-butter

    When I was in high school, I spent about a year working at a local supermarket. We had a similar trick with Tastykakes, everyone’s favorite snack desserts.

    We sold Tastykakes for 44 cents each, or two for 98 cents. I couldn’t believe how many people bought two at a time…..