Part-time traveller, Full-Time Brummie

A Brummie Home and Abroad's Occasional Guide to Adulting: Online Grocery Shopping

I used to think only posh people did their grocery shopping online. You know, those people who can’t be arsed to stand in line at the only checkout open on busy Friday evening, or to battle with the hell of the self-service tills where every item needs approving by a harassed-looking member of staff, or to hold the inevitable pound coin conversation. (“Have you got a pound coin for the trolley?” “No, do you have a pound coin for the trolley?” “No, where’s the emergency pound coin, to be used in shopping trolley emergencies only?” “Spent it. On a non-shopping trolley-related purchase”)
So, the New Year seemed like a good time to become one of those posh people. Not Ocado posh. Just Asda posh. I’m waiting for Aldi to introduce online shopping. The first order was like browsing through the toy section of the Argos catalogue as a kid. I went through every page, looking at the weird and wonderful items that i usually run past in the store in an attempt to break world records for the quickest shop. I add items to my virtual trolley willy-nilly. I look at the many different types of beans I can buy. I examine toilet roll colours as carefully as I would new nail polish colours. And eventually I click on checkout, add my payment details and I’m offered my delivery times. It’s clear that most people want those nice convenient times for delivery, these are the times that cost a fiver. I find the most convenient cheap time and book my slot.
I track my delivery carefully the next day. I get excited when I get an email telling me that my order is now being selected. I get excited when I get an email telling me that my order will be ready earlier than anticipated. I’m not so excited when I get an email telling me about all the items they well not be delivering. These are not the most exotic items on my list. Ok, dill may be behind parsley and coriander in the exciting herb stakes, but apparently Asda is all out of dill. Asda is also all out of lettuce. ALL LETTUCE. Oh, and chicken. I’m not asking for anything too difficult here. Chicken. Frozen. In a bag. But no. Asda is out of chicken. ALL CHICKEN. Tomorrow I will have to go out and buy chicken, lettuce and dill. Which kind of defeats the object of online shopping which is that i don’t have to come out of hibernation, put on clothes and mingle with the public.
Still, when the doorbell rings, I bound to answer it with an enthusiasm similar to that of when a Chinese takeaway arrives. Then it is time for the slightly awkward transaction between a novice online shopper and Mr Asda. How far do I invite him in? Do I show him into the kitchen, put on the kettle and expect him to unpack and put away my shopping (“yep, tins go in there, cereal goes up there, and the aqua loo roll is for the upstairs bathroom…”). Mr Asda seems reluctant though and merely hovers just outside the porch. I try and pick as much up as I can in one scoop, and throw everything into the arms of Mr Fletche. Then I end up picking items out one at a time, with Mr Asda rolling his eyes at my ineptitude. There’s definitely no dill, lettuce or chicken hiding in the bottom of his crate.
Of course, it turns out that i had inadvertently selected “no substitutions”.  Asda probably has storerooms chockful of dill, lettuce and chicken, just not the same dill, lettuce and chicken that I’d selected. Lessons learned. (Update. I have now managed a second successful online shop with Asda in which lettuce and chicken were delivered. I am yet to enter another dill request.)


Dill. Lettuce. Chicken. Elusive items.

Do you online shop? Have you ever had a ridiculously silly substitution? Sour cream instead of shaving cream? Tuna paste instead of tooth paste? KY jelly instead of raspberry jelly?

Disclaimer: A Brummie Home and Abroad is by no means an expert on any sort of adulting, and cannot ever be relied on as an expert on the subject.


7 responses to “A Brummie Home and Abroad's Occasional Guide to Adulting: Online Grocery Shopping”

  1. April Munday says:

    I have never shopped online. Walking to Sainsbury’s is a good excuse to get out of the house and get some exercise, but I desperately want a bag with wheels on. When I was a child even young women had them and I suspect that my arms are two inches longer than they used to be.

  2. Nordie says:

    I do Mr Tescos, and live in an apartment , so the kitchen is the 1st door on the right. I’ve only had one driver be reluctant to come in (I made him by going “over there please”) and even then he was not going to help me take stuff out the crates. The others seem to have twigged that the sooner the stuff is out, the sooner they get to leave, which means the sooner their shift is over.
    It’s really only when I need heavy stuff so: the big packets of persil and comfort (2in1s dont work for me), bulk cans of tomatoes, etc
    I never/rarely order fresh fruit and veg – I prefer to look at it before picking…..

  3. Nice one! I do an online shopping for my mum sometimes. I think it’s an amazing service for older folk and people who are unwell. I must look out for the no substitutes box!

  4. josypheen says:

    I used to love Waitrose delivery when we lived in London*!! I actually do miss that here.
    I used to buy all the heady things potatoes, caned tomatoes, cat food online, then I could walk out to the small local shops for veggies, meat and fish. Now I have to carry everything so I think of this fondly.
    * Before you think I’m a total posh twat, all the tescos and sainsburys near us were teeny, so only stocked pricier branded versions of everything. Waitrose essentials actually worked out cheaper. 🙂

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