We Are Both Right

The Jury’s Out On Grocery Delivery Service

I had a hot date on Friday night.

With the grocery delivery guy. He came into my kitchen with his ball cap and brown uniform, carrying 15 bags attached by two carabiners. I was boiling over with excitement.

In one fell swoop, the bags landed on my counter at my request and he asked, “Will that be all?”

I handed him a tip and with a “Yes, thank you!” he was heading out the front door and I was digging into my treasure.

This was so cool. After spending just ten minutes online Wednesday night, pouring over a list of my recent in-store shopping purchases (tracked by my store card), I simply entered a quantity next to the “regulars” I brought home every week and clicked through the sales just as quickly. An e-mail alert had arrived earlier in the day to let me know that the delivery ETA was between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

It turned out to be perfect timing, considering we got a late start with dinner after everyone came home from work, school and activities. Knowing that the groceries were being delivered in advance of an otherwise jam-packed weekend was a huge load off my shoulders. The kids were pretty excited too, realizing that they didn’t have to give up an hour toiling through my list and coupons with me on a beautiful sunny day.

And then out of the blue, as if the universe were trying to prove a point to me about how much fun I could have if I just let the mundane tasks of life get less of a grip on me and my “free” time, the neighbors across the street invited us over for drinks, dessert and a movie for the kids.

It was shaping up to be a hopping Friday night!

Even better we could see the delivery truck arrive from the neighbors’ yard, so it delighted me to no end to think that right then and there someone was doing my shopping for me and driving it to my house. Make that directly to my kitchen counter!

I was pretty proud of myself. And I wondered again why it took me so long to get on board with the idea of having groceries delivered.

Even though I’m working full-time and have a busy schedule with the kids’ activities on weekends, I could never quite wrap my head around getting a housecleaner, or farming out any of the other tasks that make the weekend more of a rat race than the workweek.  I’m someone who doesn’t even have pizza delivered, opting instead to call it in and pick it up.

But listening to a few moms on the baseball field speak glowingly of grocery delivery finally convinced me. They placed their orders after the kids went to sleep, giving them time and space to organize and match coupons to sales with no pressure, and then scheduled delivery at 7:30 a.m., just after the kids got on the bus and they headed out to start their day. And the best part: with a $15 off coupon code you can find online, the delivery is free and then some.

Still, I had my doubts.  Would some teenage boy filling my order select ears of corn with as much care as me. Would he check the dates on meat and know exactly when I planned to use it (since my husband doesn’t go for buying meat in bulk and freezing it)?  Was he going to use as much strategy as I do when picking out yogurts for the kids?

Probably not. But I didn’t want to be an old dog any more.

In the end, it was a mixed bag. I was thrilled with the convenience, and for the most part the groceries were delivered with care. There are the two packages of meat which I have to use by Tuesday, because they obviously didn’t dig in the back of the freezer case like I would have to find the latest dates.  Oh, and the bread has a freshness date of Tuesday too. Some of the apples were nicked, but the ears of corn were exquisite.

So delegation can have its pitfalls. As anyone who is the least bit particular knows, asking someone else to help out can be unsettling. First, you have to accept that no one knows your “special way” of ______(fill in the blank). Then you have to take the results and like them, because after all you took the help.

In the end, you have to decide for yourself: convenience vs. perfection.

Because if you want something done just so, I guess the old adage holds true: do it yourself. And I’m still grappling with that one.

Have you ever used a grocery delivery service? How did it work out for you? What other household duties have you outsourced?