From what I understand, online supermarket shopping is much more popular in the UK than in many other places, most of the big supermarkets here now deliver to most of the country. So I thought I’d give a little run down of what it’s like for those of you who might not have experienced it. Personally I’m a huge fan – from the comfort of your home, you just click a few keys on your keyboard and voila! Next thing you know, a nice man arrives on your doorstep with your week’s shopping, and all you have to do is flash him a smile and then put your groceries away. What’s not to love?
You generally get a bit of a laugh and banter with the friendly delivery drivers too, so that adds to the enjoyment of the experience. One time, two delivery guys arrived, one was in training I learned, and when I answered the door, the other one pointed at him and said “He’s the one who sounds like your Kevin!” and they both laughed raucously, so I laughed raucously too even though I didn’t have the slightest idea what they were talking about. I don’t have a Kevin. Most of the time though I do understand what it is that we’re all laughing about so that’s good.
Of course it’s not all plain sailing. Sometimes you can spend as long doing your online order as you would physically going to the supermarket, especially the first few times you do it. But navigating the website isn’t the biggest issue.
One of the issues is substitutions. Just because a product is in stock at the time you place the order doesn’t mean it will still be in stock at the time they pack your order, so in most deliveries you get at least one substitution. Usually their substitutions make sense – a different brand of the same product, or a different variety, or a different pack size. Sometimes they’re a bit strange though, once when the toothpaste I had ordered was out of stock they substituted a toothbrush instead, and another time I ordered hamster food and they substituted rabbit food. It’s ok though, you can refuse the substitutions at the door if they’re not suitable. But substitutions aren’t the biggest issue either.
The biggest issue is pack sizes and weights. It’s not until you start ordering groceries online that you realise how much you shop for food by assessing quantities visually. Suddenly you’re being called upon to say how much broccoli you want by weight – I don’t know, I just want one head of broccoli. What does that weigh? Does anyone know? Everyone who regularly orders groceries online will have funny stories of quantities being much more or much less than they had expected when they ordered. The photo of the mushroom at the top of this page was from one of my recent orders, I thought I was selecting one pack of mushrooms, but when it arrived it was just the one mushroom. I always think the packers must derive great amusement when they’re putting the orders together, knowing perfectly well that you probably didn’t want enough bacon to feed a small nation for a month, or a block of cheese the size of a dice.
For me though, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, I still pop into supermarkets in person for bits and top ups, but my big shops are mainly online now.
Do you do any supermarket shopping online? If so, please do share your funny weight/pack size stories, I know you’ll have some!