Monday, September 25, 2006

Grocery Stores Online

Grocery stores online have got to be some of the finest uses of the Internet and public service arenas combined…ever. First, the busy mom or dad who spends hours working, commuting, tending to kids, preparing for work or events, and grooming, exercising, and etc. gets a waiver of time-reduction—as he/she doesn’t have to drive to the grocery store, ward off the crazy parking lot drivers, fuss with the overabundance of similar but taunting products, or stand in any line to be assisted by any surly checker. But grocery stores online appeal, especially, to those of us who cannot stand public interaction…save those that allow for minimal interaction or contact with the human race. Of many miserable accounts, here is one single incident—minor, but unnerving enough to justify shopping grocery stores online: I lived in the city for fifteen years. Ten of those years I lived in an in-law apartment across the street from a major supermarket chain store, one which I frequented about three times a week. The checkers were never all that sociable, but they were polite and efficient, and once I learned the standards, did things like bag my own groceries, and all, I was able to get in and out without eventfulness. One afternoon, however, I stood in a line for a checker I had never connected with before. I usually shopped very early in the morning and she was, I think, from another store branch. I had about six items in one of those carry baskets. I put the basket on the belt. I stood in front of her. She stopped, put her histrionic hand on hip, started chicken-necking, and ranted, “What? You aint gonna take those things out the basket for me??!!!” I was appalled. Here was this public service person, getting paid three times as much as I was at the time, lazily grunting at her customers, and screaming about items in a basket, which from what I recall were not only no different than the zillions of other items the hundreds of other checkers had had no problem removing and dinging over a scanner (or had usually insisted I leave in the basket, just as easy, they’d said)…but were items that when purchased would pay this psycho lazy bitch’s salary. Yeah, I will gladly use grocery stores online, now. More telling is how grocery stores online help those who don’t just dislike the nasty public but are actually phobic about it. I know a number of people for whom using the grocery store online would be taking the healthiest path of least resistance. In fact, the first time I learned of the dynamic of grocery stores online, I was living with a dear friend who was agoraphobic. She hated, dreaded, even feared going out, and as a freelance artist who had clients come to her and who used the Internet for almost everything, my friend found one of the first (I think) grocery stores online, a store and driver company that took orders online then delivered them within hours to the house. So grocery stores online are great for busy people. They are super for freelancers. And they are ideal for those of us who, for the most part, prefer to deal with the “human” element as little and less often as possible.