My New Favorite Way to Buy Groceries: With the Click of a Finger!

This weekend I’m hosting my 4th biennial Big Game Tailgate. I only throw the party when the game takes place at Stanford, which is every other year. After much deliberation, I decided to serve a Tex-Mex inspired menu. I’m expecting anywhere from 15-25 people to stop by, so I’m making a lot of food. A lot of food requires a long list of groceries. In an attempt to be more frugal, I’ve been avoiding Whole Foods and hitting up Safeway. However, Safeway is much further away from my house than Whole Foods and I’ve spent many hours worrying about how I would get the groceries to my kitchen in one piece.

There would definitely be too many bags to walk home and probably even too many bags to carry on a crowded bus. Sure, I could take a cab, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of being frugal? Yesterday, while I was contemplating what on earth I was going to do, I suddenly remembered a friend telling me that Safeway delivers groceries for free when online purchases are over $100! I quickly headed to the grocery store’s website and registered to purchase food items online.

It was easy to sign up, you simply enter your email, home address, and phone number, but I was hesitant. Would Safeway online offer as much variety as the actual store? Would I be able to order a variety of chiles? Could I select gourmet cheese? I typed chile into the search box and was disappointed to see only one result: Serrano chiles. Next, I searched for flour tortillas. This time I was delighted by the results, but unsatisfied with the information listed. The top search read “Mission Large Flour Tortilla 40 OZ,” yet it didn’t say how many tortillas make up 40 ounces. When I clicked on “more info,” I was redirected to the homepage.

I typed other ingredients into the search box: cheese, shrimp, chile powder, but started to get increasingly frustrated. I couldn’t find anything that I needed. That’s when I looked down and noticed the words, Shop by Aisle, on the navigation bar. Duh! Of course I wouldn’t walk into the grocery store and aimlessly shop around searching for things! I always shop by aisle and even organize my grocery list by aisle, so why wouldn’t I do it at the online shop?

Once I clicked on Shop by Aisle, the variety of products was displayed along with the correct details. At first it felt like shopping online was taking me twice as long as it would to walk around the store, but as it does with any website (or market for that matter), after I learned my way around, I was able to add ingredients to my cart quickly.

Shopping online has its perks: it’s ideal for comparing prices. I was able to select the cheapest brands for everything from canned tomatoes to bacon. It’s also great for identifying rip-offs: the 4-pound box of C&H granulated sugar is a dollar more than the 4-pound bag of C&H granulated sugar. When choosing fresh produce, I noticed when an item was out of season. One red bell pepper was a shocking $1.50!

After I was done shopping, I clicked checkout, entered my credit card information, and selected a time for the groceries to be delivered the following day. It was oddly rewarding; I felt totally tech savvy! Fast forward 15 hours and I’m anxiously awaiting for the groceries to arrive. Would they really just magically appear at my front door? With only 8 minutes to go in my allotted two-hour time limit, I finally hear a knock on the door! In walks a burly, but jolly-looking man weighted down by my groceries. He carries them into my kitchen and announces that they were able to find all of the products that I ordered. I unloaded the ingredients and was amazed at how effortless the entire experience was. Will I shop for groceries on Safeway’s website again? Well, considering the site automatically saves your entire grocery list to make it easier for you to shop repeatedly, how could I not?

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