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    Why You Should Really Go To The Grocery Store In Person

    Skip the virtual shopping cart and push you a real one.

    In the era of on-demand everything, same-day shipping, and the ever-growing gig economy, doing your own errands can feel like a whole lot of wasted effort. After all, doesn’t conventional wisdom dictate that our time is more valuable than, say, a negligible delivery fee?

    Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

    Whether or not you’re okay with paying for convenience, there are times when you’ve gotta draw the line, which brings us to the bright fluorescent lights of your local grocery store. While just 3% of US grocery shopping takes place online, that number is only going up. According to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Nielsen, a whopping 70% of consumers in the US will be buying groceries online by 2024. 

    And yes, we realize it’s an uphill battle to make an argument that there’s demonstrable value to embracing the schlep and going to the actual grocery store. But friends, we are ready to climb that hill and fight that battle. That’s how certain we are that the supermarket is, well, super.

    There are a lot of companies trying to get a piece of the online grocery shopping pie (or, the ingredients for the pie): Peapod (which began online grocery delivery in 1996), FreshDirect, Amazon Fresh, Instacart, and Thrive Market all offer delivery across the country, and Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, and Jet also offer delivery in some locations. Despite the increasing ease of online grocery shopping, though, there are some pretty compelling reasons to hit the store yourself. So before you swear off your local market altogether, let us make a case for the brick and mortar. 

    You — yes, YOU! — get to choose your own produce.

    Comedy Central / Via giphy.com

    While it may be true that a box of pasta is a box of pasta, when it comes to produce, it’s always better to be able to look at, touch, and even smell the goods yourself. No shade to the hardworking folks who choose the produce for online buys, but they’re filling a lot of orders and mistakes do happen. Picture this: You order all the ingredients for your famous guacamole recipe, but when your order arrives, instead of cilantro, you’ve got Italian parsley. You know who wouldn’t have made that mistake? YOU, the guacamole master.

    Point is, it’s a lot easier to get the exact products (and the amounts of those products) you have in mind when you do the choosing. And honestly, there’s something really satisfying about selecting the perfect piece of produce. Like, did you know that a good artichoke will squeak when you give it a little squeeze? Seriously!

    There are all kinds of tips and tricks when it comes to choosing produce; the best way to make sure you’re wasting not — and wanting not — is to do it yourself. And if you’ve ever been to a grocery store where they play “Singin’ in the Rain” as a warning before spritzing the veggies, you have to concede it’s pretty delightful. 

    In fact, according to a 2017 survey by Morgan Stanley, the number one reason people gave for not buying groceries online was a desire to choose their own food. Hey, who doesn’t have their own weird banana preferences? Besides simple preferences, factors like food allergies and sensitivities as well as nutritional information are much easier to assess when you’re the one in the store, reading the packages. If there’s one thing worth spending a little extra time choosing, isn’t it the actual food we put in our bodies? 

    It’s easier being green.

    ABC / Via giphy.com

    Apologies to Kermit the Frog, but going to the supermarket yourself does indeed make it easier to be green. Grocery delivery services tend to be a little overzealous with packaging, which makes sense: They need to be sure your groceries get to you in one piece, and that the cold stuff stays cold. Plus, since they’re transporting meat and fish, there are health reasons that online delivery services can’t reuse bags and packaging, even if the consumer returns the packaging. 

    When you go to the grocery store yourself, you’re in control — not only when it comes to choosing products without unnecessary packaging (looking at you, individually packaged fruits), but also of bringing your own bags. When we were researching the best reusable grocery bags, we learned that Americans use more than 100 billion plastic shopping bags a year. When you do your own grocery shopping, you can make sure you’re not contributing to the vast amount of plastic waste. Win for the planet, win for us all.

    Those delivery fees? Yeah, they add up.

    DC Films / Via giphy.com

    Sure, an under-$10 delivery fee may not seem like a high price to pay for the luxury of never having to leave your couch, but those dollars add up. Plus, many delivery services require you to hit a minimum dollar amount on your order: Peapod, for example, has a $60 order minimum, and its delivery fees range from $6.95 to $9.95. Amazon Fresh costs $14.99 a month, in addition to the Amazon Prime membership you’ll need to access the service. 

    If you’re on a tight schedule, it’s also worth considering that delivery windows for some of these services fill up quickly, and some of the more desirable windows actually cost more — similar to surge pricing on ride-sharing apps. Depending on your schedule and location, this might be an entirely reasonable trade-off, but it’s definitely worth considering the cumulative effect of those little fees on your monthly budget. 

    When it comes down to it, every convenience is a trade-off. Online grocery shopping definitely has the potential to make your life easier, but personally, we’re not quite ready to kiss the chilly aisles of the supermarket goodbye just yet.

    Any questions? You can find us by the free samples.