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Monday, September 13, 2010

Online Grocery Shopping

The grocery stores in Bs.As. and I have a true love/hate relationship. On one hand, I love that I can find most everything I need at the larger grocery stores - but I hate just about everything else about the store itself. I guess I'm not really sure how they feel about me.

In our first 6 months living here I spend an embarrassing amount of time at the store. After my first attempt at grocery delivery was a complete disaster I was nervous to try it again, so I would buy only what I could carry and then laboriously lug my purchases the 4 blocks home in the summer heat. Not a good plan.
I graduated to using what I lovingly call my granny-cart. This incredible little device used to be the butt of my jokes, but now I have eaten my words and it has become my BFF. This cart, combined with Envirosax, great reusable bags given to me by my mother-in-law, made my life much easier.

Even armed with my trusty granny-cart I have to make multiple trips to the store when I do our "big" grocery shopping of the month, which brings another issue to light. The stores themselves take FOREVER to get through. Things that are different in Argentina that cause some of the delays:
  • Everyone has to weigh their produce at a specified produce weigh station. This station generally has a long line, a slow worker and, at times, no worker at all - leaving you to search for someone who has the qualifications to weigh your fruit. This also creates a second line-waiting situation in the store, which is never good for the quick in-and-out.
  • There are quite a few checkout lanes, but they are very rarely fully staffed. Even when the checkout lanes are staffed, there are not enough packers for the "delivery" lanes so the lanes wait for the packers to become available.
  • The cashiers keep a ridiculously small amount of change in their till, (see The Need for Change for more of my issues with small bills in Bs.As.) so when they are given a bill or coin that they can't break, they yell "cambio!" and wait for a manager to come by and give them change. This results in 6 or 7 cashiers yelling "cambio!" with one manager on call to dole out the money.
  • The culture is extremely friendly and everyone kisses hello and goodbye when they arrive/leave places. This includes coming and going from work. Heaven forbid you happen to be in line during a shift change and you may see, no exaggeration, 10 people walk around to kiss hello or goodbye to literally every person working at the store. This actually causes a significant amount of delay.
All of these factors combined have given me reason to venture into the world of delivery again. I started out shopping in the stores and having the items delivered at the checkout line. This is a good option, however delivery can take anywhere from 1 - 5 hours after checking out, so my entire day would be spent shopping, waiting and receiving groceries.

Then I heard about online grocery delivery.

You can shop, purchase, arrange for delivery and pay all without leaving home. It's been the best time saver! I'll write future posts about specific stores, websites and options that are most useful - but in general, this is my greatest discovery yet. There are items that I have not been able to find online, but that's where my granny cart and Envirosax come back into play, and I only have to visit the store for small items in between larger delivery orders. Which is great, I hate waiting in the checkout disaster pictured on the left every other day.

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