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Rescheduling My Life: Grocery Delivery

On Sunday, I decided to take another shot at improving my time management skills. For as long as I can remember, time management has never been my strength. Always drawn to activities I find exciting, sometimes my responsibilities suffered. I’ve been through a number of programs and read a number of books designed to improve my time management skills, and at times applied some new techniques to my life, even if they were common-sense changes. The implementations were somewhat successful for a few days, but I found it easy to fall into old habits.

Nevertheless, I made it work. I’ve been for the most part successful in the jobs I’ve had, and I was able to do this without sacrificing too much of my extravocational activities. Everything came together, though, when I was able to turn one of my biggest and most exciting hobbies into a business. I became a small business owner, or a start-up founder, or the word I hate, entrepreneur. Business experts often say successful entrepreneurs need to manage their time wisely. I never got to the point where I felt I was making the best use of most of my waking hours, yet I would consider the business a success.

For the last year, I’ve been moving into a different phase with the business, one in which my responsibilities are changing and I’m looking for new growth opportunities outside of the business. I also want to make an effort to spend more time on unrelated activities, like newer passions.

I’ve created a daily schedule that prescribes how I focus my time throughout the day, every day. I’ve never been a fan of structure, so I allow myself some flexibility, but having time set aside each day for certain tasks, both business-related and personal, keeps me focused. The flexibility works for me. By having a daily schedule, I can be confident about not taking time to read and respond to email in the morning when I should be focusing on reading and writing, for example.

I can also set aside time for personal activities I want to encourage myself to do, like getting into shape and increasing my photography skills. This will become more important if and when I add layers of different business responsibilities above what I’ve been doing for the past year.

In a few weeks, I’ll revisit the schedule and my progress with the new time organization to see if I’ve been able to maintain the change and whether I can see the manifestation of benefits.

With this rescheduling, I decided it was worthwhile to outsource more of the tasks I don’t like doing. I probably should have done this more over the past few years, but I held back. I have already hired a cleaning service to visit every other week to handle the deep housecleaning I’m not interested in handling. I missed the opportunity to hire an assistant — virtual or otherwise — when the business’s cash flow allowed me to do so, but I may return to that in the future. The change I made this week was to explore ordering my groceries.

For no extra money assuming I am able to continue to use coupons, I can order my groceries online and have them shipped via the Peapod service. I’ve avoided this for years. After all, the grocery store is in walking distance from where I live. Given the fact I live alone, my needs for groceries are not many. I’m looking to eat healthier, though, and my expenses might shift further away from eating out and more towards meals at home. Grocery delivery is significantly more convenient simply because I don’t need to take time away from working or more enjoyable activities to wander around a grocery store. So even if I need to pay a $7 delivery fee, I find the convenience worthwhile.

My experience ordering groceries online

Because I shop with a grocery store loyalty card, ordering my groceries online was very easy. The website, Peapod, displayed my Stop & Shop purchases automatically, and I could choose from my previous purchases and browse the virtual aisles, adding more groceries to my virtual shopping cart. Using printed coupons is the only drawback, you simply need to present the coupons when the delivery arrives for credit. Delivery was surprisingly flexible; I was able to choose a window of time the morning after I placed the order, and I was able to change or add to my order for several hours after I first finalized it.

Delivery was on time, though I wouldn’t consider the driver to be that friendly. He brought in the bags of groceries and placed them in the kitchen for me. I had already added his tip when I placed the order, so there was nothing left to do but accept the receipt or invoice and allow him to rush out the door to his next delivery.

The only drawback I’ve discovered so far is that the deli meats seem to only be available in larger portions than I need. My challenge will be to consume these before they go bad, but after this first attempt I can change my deli meat strategy for the next delivery. As far as items I prefer to hand-pick in the store, there is a concern that what I receive through delivery might not be as good or as fresh. I did notice that the sell-by date on the milk had passed, but milk is good beyond the sell-by date. I sent an email to Peapod about the issue. All other items seemed just as good as what I might have selected for myself in the store.

If you live in a city like New York, grocery shopping can be more than just inconvenient, and delivery services have been standard for a while. Living in a location like mine, it’s a little more unexpected. I’ve avoided grocery delivery because I didn’t want to feel lazy; after all, I can almost see the grocery store from my apartment. Also, I shop only for myself, so my visits to the store are infrequent. Yet, I still manage to fill five or six large bags and need extra trips from the car to carry larger items. After one delivery, though, I don’t see myself going back to traditional grocery shopping, particularly if I can keep eliminating the delivery fee.

Have you ever used a grocery delivery service? Is a service like this worthwhile for you?

Photo: SodanieChea

Published or updated September 26, 2012.

About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of shizennougyou. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

I’ve never used a grocery delivery service but I can see how it would be a good value in a big city such as NY. Here in the midwest it’s fairly easy to go grocery shopping and it’s something I enjoy doing (as my wife and I both love to cook).

I am also hoping to be able to afford a cleaning lady. I put a very high value on time considering I have so many commitments and my schedule stays jam packed. I’d rather have time with my wife, friends, or family instead of having to clean the house every weekend.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

I absolutely hated Peapod. My wife and I tried it one week, for many similar reasons. Why not save time, right? We ordered our groceries with very specific meals in mind. Unfortunately, they forgot 1 item and several items were incorrect (it was something like frozen broccoli instead of peas). I’m glad your experience was much better.

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avatar 3 Luke Landes

Sounds like an unfortunate experience. Did they attempt to correct the problem? I’m wondering what their resolution policy is. It’s only been an hour or so, but I’m waiting for a response to my question about the milk sell-by date.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

Their policy is usually to refund on that particular item. Unfortunately for me, I called after I noticed the missing item. They refunded me that item, but then I noticed the other items after that conversation and I didn’t get refunded for those. Not sure why…

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avatar 5 Luke Landes

Received my response today — as expected, they refunded the price of the milk and claimed they would put processes in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We shall see.

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avatar 6 Anonymous

Just like you, my time management skills need a lot of work. It is something I have always struggled with but never really knew where to start.

When my wife and I used to live in Chicago and were more towards downtown before we moved to the northside of the city, we used Peapod. I found it to be great. The prices were reasonable but it was so much easier on us. While we had cars, we didn’t pay the $150 a month for a garage parking spot. That meant street parking was a premium and we never wanted to leave the spot unless we were driving home to see family.

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avatar 7 Ceecee

If Peapod doesn’t work out, there are probably people in your neighborhood who would shop for you for a small fee. I know there are where i live, and they are usually people who really need the money. A side note—-I know lots of people who buy deli meats at Costco(yes, large quantities) and they take out what they need and freeze the rest. I’ve eaten these frozen cold cuts and they taste fine. I wouldn’t use Peapod in my neighborhood because Stop n Shop is the priciest store around here, and I’m surrounded by many other stores.

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avatar 8 Anonymous

I’m surprised that Peapod is still alive. I thought they died around 2000.
In my area Safeway will do home delivery but thats the only one I’m aware of. They charge like $7-15 fee depending on the details. One other grocery chain had delivery but they stopped doing it. I haven’t tried a delivery service yet but I’ve been tempted. Right now though with only Safeway doing it in my area I don’t know that I’d do so. Safeway doesn’t have the selection of items that I want compared to the chains we usually shop at.

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avatar 9 Anonymous

This is 100% opposite of how I shop — my preferred method is a farmer’s market, where I can speak directly to the grower.

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avatar 10 Luke Landes

There have been more and more farmer’s markets popping up in the area…. which makes sense because I live in an area with tons of farmland nearby. I enjoy farmer’s markets and I’ve been meaning to check out those that are here, but it’s something I can do when I have the time to devote to it.

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avatar 11 qixx

I’ve used Amazon Fresh (i think it is still only available in Seattle) and had a great experience. I prefer to pick out my produce and meats myself so i didn’t order those. I have also used a meat ordering service (similar to Omaha Steaks) and Safeway home delivery. The only thing i can’t get past is letting someone else select the fresh produce and meat. I don’t even like sending family to the store to get those items.

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avatar 12 Anonymous

I understand being busy…but how long does a trip to the store really take? For a Entrepreneur like yourself it would seem to be a reason to get out in public at the very least

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avatar 13 Luke Landes

Heheh. Grocery shopping usually takes me about an hour — but I would make infrequent, bigger trips. With delivery, it takes about five minutes to place the order and two minutes to put everything where it belongs once it’s delivered. And I’m getting out into the public a bit more than before, so I’m good.

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avatar 14 Anonymous

I wasn’t trying to say you are like some type of hermit lol…I meant more that sometimes it feels good to get out and get some errands done.

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avatar 15 Luke Landes

That’s true. I do try to get out of the house when I can. I go to the gym every day now — with this new schedule — and it’s a great feeling to leave my desk and get some air.

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avatar 16 Anonymous

I haven’t and they don’t have them where I live now. I would be worried about produce and things with sell by dates but honestly I don’t think I’d do it anyway.

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avatar 17 Anonymous

I have used a grocery delivery service on and off for about 4 years. I live in a huge city in S. America about the size of NYC and at times grocery shopping is difficult here, especially on days when I’m stuck in traffic for 2+ hours. Instead I can order online, and know exactly when to expect my groceries to arrive. I work from home most of the time, so I plan to prep meals for the week as soon as my groceries arrive. It’s a perfect system. I hate that I’m going to loose it when I move back to the US.

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avatar 18 wylerassociate

I’ve never used a grocery delivery service although I can understand the benefits of it if a person lives in a big city and has a hectic work schedule. Luckily, there are many grocery stores within a 5 mile radius of where I live.

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avatar 19 Anonymous

I started a grocery delivery service as of last Friday (Green Bean Deliveries) here in Indiana. They source a lot of local produce and meats and etc., and pull from around the country for other things.

So far, I’m very happy with it.

I am sick of the grocery store and I’d rather go on more infrequent stock-up trips for awhile, and do this as I can.

The price has been reasonable, too. The farmers’ market near me is over for the season and it’s harder to find good organics at a decent price. So far, so good.

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