Giving up Control at the Grocery Store

Thanks to 2020, and everything that came along with it, curbside pickup is the new norm. And I embraced it enthusiastically … that is, 98% of the time.

I’m more than happy to let Target bring my shampoo and a new pair of school pants for my daughter straight out to my car. Ulta wants to deliver my foundation without me having to unbuckle my seatbelt? I’m in! A local boutique will bring out a birthday present for a friend, already beautifully gift wrapped, and I don’t so much as lift a finger? This is what dreams are made of.

So what was my lone holdout? The grocery store.

But why? What was so different about that, compared to everywhere else I was happily taking advantage of curbside service?

I saw the signs telling me curbside service was coming to my local grocery store location. And I thought, “Oh, that’s great for other people, but not for me.” I couldn’t imagine not walking the aisles every week, getting to pick my own produce, catch good deals, and make changes to my meal plans on the fly, based on what was in or out of stock, a good deal I found, or something that just looked really good. The thought of someone else having that control over my groceries for the week made me absolutely freak out. No way was I giving that up!

What finally roped me into trying it? Christmas.

Between the hustle and bustle, the month of December always seems to bring (even in the middle of a pandemic), I found myself worked up about when the ideal time to shop for all my food-related holiday needs, and how they would line up with the crowds I knew that time of year would bring, even in the grocery store. So I downloaded the app, made my list, gave myself a buffer day in case something was out of stock and I needed to shop at a second location, and got to grocery shopping from my couch.

The actual shopping part was easier than I expected. Typed in what I needed (or I could scan the barcode if it was something I already had in my house that just needed restocking), selected quantities, and told them whether it was okay if they made any substitutions for me. I selected a pickup time for early the next day, and then I sat back and waited, internally freaking out that this was all going to go terribly wrong.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t.

I got a text from my shopper early the next morning, telling me they were out of the specific brand sausage I needed, was it all right if they replaced it with this other brand? Sure! Soon after, I had an email telling me my order was ready to be picked up (early). I poured over the attached shopping list, looking for any errors, other substitutions, or out of stock notices. And everything was … exactly right.

This is the part where I have to admit, that despite my initial reservations, and freaking out over losing control, I haven’t set foot back in a grocery store since that first pickup order. I’ve gained an hour of my life back every weekend that I get to spend with my family. And honestly, I’ve been saving money – no impulse buying here! Learning to let go of that control has been a fantastic gift that I never expected to find at the grocery store.

Caitlin Jacob
Caitlin made her way to Lafayette more than a decade ago, after growing up in North Carolina and then graduating from the University of Georgia. Since then, she married the man who introduced her to Cajun country, and they welcomed their now 5 year old daughter into the world. She spends her days working in marketing, telling stories using her bag of digital tricks. When she’s not working or wrangling her tiny human, she can be found running (slowly), testing new baking recipes (ask about her almond poppyseed bread), or wielding a glue gun for her latest craft project.


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