For someone who used to frequent no fewer than four grocery stores per week, I have really been missing running errands and wandering around Whole Foods reading labels and drinking a latte.
But one of the many things the COVID-19 shutdown has taught me is that maybe I had it all wrong.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, I considered myself to be quite skilled in time management. After all, I manage my PR career, the running of our household and schedules for two very busy kids, as well as various volunteer positions at school, church, etc. Several friends raved about ordering groceries online, but I quickly dismissed the idea because, quite frankly, I am very particular about my produce.
Fast forward six months, and let me tell you, this self-proclaimed germaphobe has mastered the art of managing almost all my interactions via online orders.
Queen of Curbside
It hit me last week when I was running a few “errands” with the kids in tow. Our first stop was Benjamin Moore to pick up the paint samples I ordered and paid for over the phone earlier that morning. The nice gentleman walked them right out to the car.
Next up was Seaboard Wine for our biweekly call-ahead order. Then we headed to curbside pickup at The Container Store. We are moving this week, and not even a global pandemic was going to get between me and the mecca of organization. Then we swung through Harris Teeter and Target to grab our online orders. We pulled in and popped the hatch, and just like that, we are stocked for the week. (Who am I kidding? At the rate these people are eating, it will be gone in three days tops.)
Our last stop, or so I thought, was NoFo to grab dinner from the prepared foods section. I called in the order while we were in the car, and a staff member walked it right out to us. Even though we had never left the air-conditioned Suburban during our outing, the kids proclaimed they were hot and needed some ice cream. Kilwins to the rescue! I called in the order, and within minutes we pulled up to the door and were greeted with two ice cream cones at the curb.
The New Normal?
Wondering where I am headed with all this? In less than one hour, I accomplished what would have taken closer to four or five hours if I would have had to park, shop, wait in line to check out and drag two kids through seven stores.
It got me thinking about time management and how we can be more efficient. Has the way we shop been forever changed, even after COVID-19 is behind us?
Don’t get me wrong, when all this is over, you will definitely find me back at Whole Foods or wandering aimlessly around HomeGoods from time to time, but I will certainly be more intentional about how I schedule my errands. And I anticipate retailers will see that this level of customer service will need to be integrated into their ongoing business models. There is not a great deal we can control these days, but how we spend our time is certainly one of them.
I am curious to know if I am alone in this new world of online ordering. Has anyone else been embracing the convenience of call-ahead ordering during the pandemic? Head over to our Facebook Page and tell us what you think!