Online grocery shopping wins and fails

by - July 17, 2023

When I finally got COVID-19 and home quarantined for the first time last year, I signed up for a month of free Woolworths online grocery shopping. I have not unsubscribed. The $15 monthly subscription for unlimited, free deliveries (when you spend over a certain amount) is worth the 60-90 minutes I save every Sunday morning.

It means more time with Boyfriend Pham to start my day and more time with Dad Pham who I used to visit after the grocery shop. Also, no longer walking around the car park to find an available shopping cart in Inala Shopping Centre has been a dream come true. The poor Woolies trolley team cannot keep up with demand there.

The convenience of adding items to the cart in the mobile or web app as we use them up during the week is great for people with short-term memory brain fart symptoms. You add it as items run out and it saves your cart, then when you go back later to complete your order everything you ran out of during the week is ready to go. Woo!

There are some downsides to online groceries. Sometimes, your items are out of stock by the time the team picks up your order. Other times, they may pick your order but the bag/s do not make it to you. Whether they were given to someone else or left at the store, I never quite know. I've only had one major mix-up where half my order was missing. Other times it has been only 1-3 items. The good news is Olive, their chatbot can pull up your order and automatically refund any missing items. No need to call customer service and wait in a phone queue. But the vast majority of the time, my order arrives as expected so I rarely chat to Olive.

There's also the choice of fresh produce. I personally prefer smaller bananas but I suppose because the app charges per banana instead of by weight, the picker feels obliged to pick the ginormous bananas that I eat in two sittings. But, you know, if that was a dealbreaker then I could just shop in-store or at markets for my fresh produce. I take giant bananas for the convenience.

I've online grocery shopped for over a year and can think of only two times when I had to dash to the shops as an out-of-stock item was critical for meal prep that day.

Another online shopping fail will only affect dopey folks like me who don't pay close enough attention and buy items based on photos. You see, an image of tinned goods doesn't give you perspective. For example, a 125g tin of corn looks the same as a 370g tin of corn unless you read the description or zoom in on the photo of the label. I've had a couple of laughs when I accidentally ordered mini-corn and mini-cheese and giant freezer bags.

Overall, I cannot recommend online grocery shopping enough to save you logistics and time!

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