Shaun of the Read

An inconvenient fruit: My first grocery store pickup

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Last week, we ordered our groceries online and picked them up at the store. We wanted to try the service because it doesn’t cost anything extra to have someone collect our food and bring it out to our car. But, it did not go well.

On Wednesday, my wife ordered $140 worth of groceries and toiletries online. The mobile phone application told her that it was too late for us to pick up our stuff that day.

That wasn’t a problem because I just planned to go to the store on Thursday, open up my trunk, and let them load up the milk, eggs and bread. But an email came just after 5 p.m. saying the store was busy and our pickup time would be delayed.

This wasn’t a problem. The time frame to pick up the groceries was between 5 and 6 p.m., so I expected to have to wait for a few minutes anyway. I took my time getting to the store, drove carefully through uptown traffic and pulled into one of a dozen pick up parking spots just before 5:30 p.m.

Waiting a few more minutes, I called the number on the parking sign to ask them if I would be waiting much longer.

The employee with whom I spoke apologized for the delay saying they were collecting the last eight items, and I wouldn’t be waiting but 30 minutes more. After another 40 minutes, I called the number again and they told me it would be another 10 minutes.

Now, having been waiting over 90 minutes, an employee came outside. I told her how long I had been there and she said that my order wasn’t showing up on her handheld device. I gave her my order number and asked her if I could be prioritized due to the excessive wait. She said some people had been waiting more than two hours, and that the store was extra busy because military members are paid on the 15th of the month, thus increasing the number of grocery pickup orders.

I told her that I understood. And, shortly after, a manager came out to the parking lot, under the 95-degree evening sun, and began to write down everyone’s names. There were at least a dozen other cars in and around the designated pickup spots.

When she got to me, I told her that I had been waiting for almost two hours, and she said she was going to make sure my order would be delivered next. She came back outside a few minutes later to tell me that the reason it had taken so long was that they had to take items directly off a delivery truck to fill our order.

I don’t complain much about service because I know how hard it can be to make customers happy. That said, I could have written a grocery list, picked and paid for everything on that list several times in those two hours. And while the employees were friendly, I doubt I will ever use a car-side grocery pickup service again.

Shaun Savarese is a former reporter with The Daily Record. He can be reached at shaun.savarese@outlook.com.

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