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Groceries Without Going to the Store

peppers and onions

I used to make lists. While making lists, I often fantasized – and sometimes tried to technically solve – a world where my lists could take action. My grocery list would communicate directly with the store and get the goods without so much effort at remembering, driving, and getting. I was frequently mocked – Nerd! Star Trek fan! Waster! — for voicing these desires out loud. So I did what everyone else did and went – reluctantly — to the grocery store.

And then, all of a sudden, the world leapt right over my list-meets-real-world fantasy and went straight to a reality where I can say what I need out loud – standing alone in my kitchen – and it will be delivered promptly.

Amazon echo

Naturally, this is a reality you can order from Amazon. The Amazon Echo (or the smaller Echo Dot) will search my Amazon order history for items that match whatever I say, tell me the cost, and place the order at my behest.

This is a reality that I have completely embraced. I haven’t been to a grocery store in months. I no longer make lists. I go straight to ordering what I need — either by asking for it out loud or clicking a mouse. It saves me hours every week. It also saves me money. There is no extra charge – or a very nominal one – to have groceries delivered. And, when I’m shopping, I see exactly how much I’m spending. If I exceed my budget, I cull the list before I check out.

Here are five more ways to get groceries without leaving the house.

Amazon Prime Pantry

amazon now

If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you already have access to Amazon Prime Pantry, Amazon’s awesome grocery-delivery service. For things like soda, cereal, cookies, canned goods and other non-perishables, you order a big box and it shows up at your door within a couple of days. It’s astonishing how fast the goods arrive. And the prices are fantastic. It’s like getting big-box retailer pricing without having to buy in bulk. Every box costs $6 to ship. And I have discovered that getting every Prime Pantry box as close to 100 percent full as possible is one of my favorite games.

Amazon Prime Now

Fairly often, I find myself working against a deadline, on a day when I have invited someone to dinner and failed to aquire the groceries necessary to that dinner. It’s not easy being a freelance writer. (Just ask Charlie Kaufman. Some days are seriously just like Adaptation.) This is why I am eternally grateful to Amazon Prime Now. Without getting from my desk or breaking my train of thought, I can order groceries – including milk, eggs, cheese, and other perishables – and they will show up within two hours. We have truly arrived.

Safeway – or Your Local Grocer

safeway

Safeway is the grocer nearest me. And – lucky me — it delivers. This saves me gobs of time and hassle. I shop online at Shop.Safeway.com from my computer or phone whenever I have a free minute. The site recalls everything I’ve ever purchased online or in the store – because it’s all noted on my rewards card. So I can shop lickety split from a list of everything I buy. I schedule a delivery time and someone driving one of Safeway’s fleet of nifty refrigerated trucks shows up, brings the food (including beer and wine) right into my kitchen. The delivery fee is $10 and the drivers won’t take tips. But I’ve never even paid for delivery because Safeway offers lots of promotions that wave the fee. Safeway is part of Albertson’s line of grocery stores and some of the other stores in some regions deliver, too. Go to Safeway.com, Vons.com, or Albertsons.com, click on “Grocery Delivery,” and enter your zip code to see if someone will bring your groceries to you.

Walmart

groceries

Walmart doesn’t deliver in every neighborhood (though it does in some.) But, in many more places, it lets you order online and drive-by to pick up. After you place your order, someone puts your choices into bags and holds them in a refrigerated, frozen, or ambient-temperature waiting area (depending on what you ordered). You drive to a designated space at your closest Walmart near the time you chose and call from your cell phone. Then just pop the trunk and stay in the car; someone will load your groceries. No need to wake the baby or get out the stroller. No more wandering vast isles for bargains on bread. Pickup service is free.

Community Supported Agriculture

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Once I gave up going to the store, I thought I’d have to relinquish produce selection to a hired hand. It seemed a reasonable bargain. But then I discovered that a fantastic CSA (community supported agriculture) service delivers right to my door. I subscribed. And now I shop for produce (and farmer items such as eggs, honey and olive oil) online, too. I don’t get to handle the peaches myself. But all the produce comes to me selected by the farmer who grew it. The selection is amazing and much fresher than I was getting at the store. It’s so good, in fact, that I build my menu around the produce. This is not just convenient, it’s a pleasure. It’s also cheaper, unless I spring for something fabulous. I am using Farm Fresh to You. If you sign up, use the code CHRI1752 to save $10.