Do you enjoy taking your kids to the grocery store with you? If yes, this post isn’t for you. Ha!
If no…do you waste time reprimanding them for goofing off or being totally distracting? Do you wander the aisles, forgetting what you came for and adding a bunch of unplanned-for junk to your cart? Does every trip leave you exhausted and pulling your hair out?
Kids need to learn, of course, but there are many opportunities for this; the grocery store doesn’t necessarily have to be the place for it. And even with a list, things are overlooked and impulse purchases always somehow land in the cart.
Enter grocery pickup. I discovered online grocery ordering while pregnant with my fourth and it’s been a game changer! I rarely step foot in the store to get my groceries now. Here’s why I choose grocery pickup to make my job as Mom much simpler!
First off, how does grocery pickup work? Well, you simply login to the store’s site or app, you search for and select your items, you pick a store location and pickup time, and submit your credit card info. Unfortunately, there are no stores that accept cash or food stamps at this time (I think food stamps is because you need a pin number). Hopefully that will change so more people can use this great service! At your pickup time (a one hour time slot), you drive to the store, check in, and they bring your groceries right out to you. They let you know if they had to substitute anything (when they are out of something, they will upgrade you in most cases!) and they load your car with your stuff. I always get out to help and I can sort of make sure everything is there and check the produce, etc. Plus it’s always nice to have a quick chat with someone older than age six.
Without further ado, here are the reasons I am in love with online grocery ordering.
Concentrate on what you’re buying
For me, the worst part of shopping with the kids is that they are totally distracting. Not just “Mom, what’s that?” and “Mom, can we get this?” But making sure they are all still in arm’s reach. Making sure nobody is creepily sizing them up. Making sure the baby isn’t about to start screaming to eat. Making sure the toddler isn’t trying to get out of the cart’s seatbelt thing. Looking for a bathroom. Looking for a kid who thought it funny to hide from me. Looking like a crazy mess with all eyes on me ’cause “Are they all yours??????”
If I can just concentrate on getting in and getting out (read: no kids involved), it is not a bad chore, but schlepping them all down there, turning the cart (and them) around a million times because I missed something, and dealing with potential bad behavior is just stressful. And then we get home and I have to unload (them, and the groceries). I would do almost anything to avoid the store at this point. As an aside, they are normally pretty well-behaved in the store, but you never know when someone will have an off day (and sometimes that person is the mama…).
My priority when shopping is to get everything on my list, and it is quickest and easiest to do that from the comfort of my home with my meal plan and recipes in hand.
Fewer impulse buys
I can’t totally pin this one on the kids, but we all know how this goes:
“Oh, well, I could use that other box of cereal, too.”
“Hey, this is on sale. MUST BUY 10!”
[Kid sneaking stuff in]
And then we have the rest of the store if we’re in Walmart. Baby clothes seem to always jump into my cart somehow. Heh.
I won’t claim that online ordering totally eliminates this issue, because they are very good at suggesting other items or announcing what you bought last time that you just might be interested in this time (I do like this feature because I can go through and grab the things we always get like apples and cucumbers and orange juice, but it’s a double edged sword because it also shows treats you buy only on occasion…). But doing it this way REALLY cuts down on the impulsive and unplanned adding to the cart. With grocery pickup, you can stay within your budget much more easily.
This is a no-brainer. You just sit in your home (or soccer practice, or the DMV, or the waiting room at the dentist) and do your order, and you drive over and pick it up. You don’t have to get out of your car if you don’t want. And you drive back home. I mean, do I really need to explain this further?
You can also easily shop sales this way (speaking of budgets). Like when Kroger has their deep discounts on chicken, I can stock up on that, plus I can grab my normal stuff from Walmart. I do sometimes go to Aldi, and word on the street is they are going to start delivering in certain areas. But I can more easily shop around if I don’t have to drag everyone inside with me and unbuckle and buckle all the carseats a million times.
Which stores offer this stupendous service?
If you have not tried grocery pickup yet, I would suggest starting with Walmart if there is one within easy driving distance. You can use this link for $10 off your first order of $50+ (new customers only). The great thing about Walmart is that the minimum order is only $30, there is no fee (unless you want to do an express pickup), and you simply check in on the Walmart Grocery app (different from their main app) when you are on your way. It gets your location and sends an ETA to the store so they can be ready for you. Some stores are better at this than others, and sometimes they are short staffed or extremely busy.
In the interest of being honest, there are some stores I dread going to for this reason. I have waited 40 minutes for an order before, and some of my orders have been incorrect with items forgotten, wrong items given or bad produce. Now, I want to give grace because nobody is perfect and I’ve picked bad produce myself and I’ve most definitely forgotten things and grabbed the wrong item in haste! They do, however, seem to care and want to make things right. That’s really all I can ask. Note that with Walmart, you cannot use coupons.
Kroger also offers pickup at most locations now. At the time of this writing, your first three “ClickList” orders are free and after that, there is a $4.95 fee. I don’t like paying extra, but if I’m loading up on awesome sale prices, or I’m in a hurry and Kroger is closer (which was the case when the closest Walmart pickup location was 20 miles away), I’ll go ahead and pay it. In my experience, Kroger has excellent service, they do take coupons both digital and paper, and I’ve made out pretty well on substitutions a few times (organic chicken thighs for 77 cents a pound, score!!). Another thing I really appreciate is that you can put comments on each item. It comes in especially handy for produce and meat. There is no minimum order. Right now, you cannot use the Kroger app to do a ClickList order; you do it on their main site, which I don’t really like because it can be sluggish.
I have heard that Ingles, Meijer and Sam’s Club all offer curbside grocery pickup now, so check around for what is available in your area and give it a shot! UPDATE: We have relocated and no longer have Kroger, but Metro Market is a sister company and they, too offer ClickList. The Meijer in my area does not offer pickup yet.
Do you love grocery pickup, or have you found that it is not really an asset to your family? Let me know in the comments!