Friday, 26 February 2010

The misery of grocery shopping

Fans of the sitcom Father Ted will be familiar with the Christmas special in which housekeeper Mrs Doyle receives a tea-maker to take the misery out of making tea. “But maybe I like the misery,” she says and proceeds to sabotage the machine.

It reminded me of online grocery shopping, designed I presume to take the misery out of going to the supermarket. Think about it: no toddlers having tantrums in the aisles, no dirty looks from checkout staff when your shopping basket contains more than one tub of Ben & Jerry’s…

So I tried it, I placed my very first order with last week. The experience was flawless—website worked, payment worked, delivery was on time, and there was only one product substitution.

But something was missing—the misery of shopping in the supermarket, I suppose. Like Mrs Doyle, I rather like the misery, yet it goes against everything I believe in. I love shopping online—I buy everything from dog food to cleaning products online. So why didn’t I enjoy shopping for my groceries this way? My boyfriend thought buying groceries online was the best thing since sliced bread (probably because he didn’t have to load and unload the car), but for me the experience seemed more of a chore than actually trekking to the shops. I missed the adrenaline of impulse buying. I missed bumping into my friends for a chat. I missed taking my time idly browsing the aisles.

Buying groceries online is still more function than fun, and until it becomes less of a misery than actually going to the shops (something apparel websites do so well), I won’t be giving up on my weekly trip to the supermarket.--MT

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