I’m one of those people who LOVE grocery shopping, it’s relaxing. However, because of the pandemic, I have greatly reduced my in-store time. Also, I rarely use the curbside pickup option for groceries anymore. One too many times I received a damaged or expired product.
Really nobody is going to shop the way I do, I'm extra picky and check everything before it goes in my cart. I’m checking for package damage, nutrition info, expiration dates, and country of origin.
I shop quickly and only the perimeter of the store. All the perishables are on the outer aisles so no need to spend time in crowded aisles. Eggs, cheese, milk, produce, meats, poultry, and even the Deli counter are on my path.
Condiments and pantry items are available from the local Target. Target really has the curbside down to an efficient process, not surprising, they jumped on the curbside way before the Pandemic. Another plus is their amazing prices!
Stocking Up is Alright.....But NO HOARDING
If you want to purchase larger quantities in the store ask the clerk if they have another case or quantity in the back. Be kind and don't take everything off the shelf, unless there's only one, then it's fair. Also, ask if there is a case quantity discount. This is a win-win situation, you get the quantity you want at a good price and still leave product for others.
My Problem with Most Curbside and Delivery Services
Instacart just wasn't for me. I'm sure there are many people who use the service without issue but my experience was negative. The guy delivering my groceries had a mask halfway over his mouth, the paper bags appeared old and dirty, and I could only imagine what was inside the trunk of his car. Needless to say, I did not bring those groceries into my house.
Ralphs wasn’t much better; the fill rate was terrible. On my last shopping trip I went into the store and found the item they didn’t fill WAS on the shelf! That ended that relationship.
In the first couple of months I understand everyone is scrambling to get things figured out, but come on after nine or ten months and still issues, no thanks.
Grocery Shopping the easy way
I found it's much less stressful to have a short list of stores to shop.
Target Curbside – I can get just about anything here. Always friendly, their online inventory is almost always accurate so I know what I’m getting before I get to the store. My first choice for non-perishable pantry groceries.
Illy direct – I purchase my coffee in bulk because I go through one can of ground coffee a week. It takes about a week or so with shipping but as long as I don’t wait till the last minute I’m stocked.
King Arthur – Flour and other baking supplies. This is really a backup because I can get most of my baking supplies at Target.
In-Person Shopping – Meats, Produce, Dairy, and other perishables. I shop in-person 2-3 times a month and in and out of the store quickly. In a perfect coronavirus-free world I would every couple of days and frequent the local farmers market for fresh produce.
I probably look ridiculous but I double mask, have a face shield, wear my eyeglasses, and wear disposable gloves. On the way in I select a cart and use my own alcohol wipes to wipe down the entire cart!
A word about big membership stores, I’m 100% against them. I’m not going to pay for a membership for the right to make a purchase. Others may find value in the membership.
Some food manufacturers selling direct to consumer
- Illy coffee Great coffee, it's the only brand I drink.
- King Arthur Flour An assortment of flours and other baking supplies.
- Omaha Steaks Steaks, chicken, Prepared meals, and even desserts. I've placed several orders from them and the only item I was less than impressed with is the hamburger patties. My favorite is the steakhouse chicken breast.
- Kansas City Steaks
- Wild Alaskan Company
- Vital Choice
You can also purchase non perishables from Amazon but pay attention to who the seller is. Amazon has a pretty good reputation, it ships from the Amazon Warehouse there a good chance the products have been stored safely.
Tips for Safer In-store Grocery Shopping
- Prepare your grocery shopping list in advance. Buy enough to get through to the next planned shopping trip.
- Always wear a face mask while you are in the store and consider adding a face shield especially if you don't normally wear eyeglasses.
- Carry your own alcohol wipes, or use the ones provided by the store to wipe down the handles of the shopping cart or basket.
- Keep your distance from other shoppers and store clerks.
- When you get home wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then again after you put away your groceries.
- Limit time in store to under thirty minutes.