This post has been compensated by Inmar Intelligence. All brands and retailers mentioned herein are not affiliated with this promotion. All opinions are mine alone. #WeCreateItForward
We’re in uncertain times right now, folks, wouldn’t you agree? The first few weeks of this pandemic had me worried because grocery stores were insane, items were selling out faster than they could be stocked, and it seemed nearly impossible to get what you needed on your grocery list. The staple items, bread, milk, eggs, meat, and canned goods, were like a scene out of Super Market Sweep…it was scary! Couple that with the fact that I have parents in their mid-60’s that I was worried about and going into stores and getting sick, I can honestly say that the whole grocery shopping experience made me a little nutty these last few weeks. But due to my anxiousness to get the groceries we needed for our family, I feel like I quickly learned some Tips and Secrets to Online Grocery Shopping and Curbside Pickup that may help you all too! Here’s how I’ve been able to get grocery pickup scheduling every single week since social distancing started, which has allowed us to skip going into the grocery stores…
Online Grocery Ordering and Curbside Pickup Tips and Tricks
Know When to Look…How to Find Open Curbside Pickup Times
I’m an early riser by nature, as well as a very light sleeper. Due to the uncertainty of everything, the first weeks I was struggling with my sleeping schedule (I’m certain I’m not alone). I had friends and family members losing their jobs, my kids were home from school with us while we were trying to work, and I was trying to get used to the new normal of being a working at home mom + teacher. So during those early morning hours or late nights, I started searching for online grocery options. I quickly realized that most stores open new Curbside Pickup time slots first thing in the morning or late at night. This is where I say that you must be diligent about this…I have two grocery stores I use, plus Amazon Fresh. Daily and nightly, those first few weeks, I’d log in and constantly check to see if more Curbside Pickup or Delivery time slots were opened and if they were, I took advantage of it! Now that we’re 5 weeks into this in Ohio, it’s not as difficult to come by Curbside Pickup options like it was the first few weeks, but I have a good sense for when to check to ensure we can order groceries. Just know that if you wait until mid-morning or midday to place an order, it’s less likely you’ll find pickup options because that’s when everyone else is online. Being an early riser in this case definitely helps you catch the worm!
Get that shopping cart ready! Be prepared.
Another issue with online shopping and Curbside Pickup is that you’re racing against other shoppers to get your order in before slots fill up. What do I do? I start a shopping cart, which is saved in your account, each week with staple items I know I need. As I run out of items each day, I re-add them to my cart. When I go to place an order, if a time slot isn’t available, I keep my cart stocked and ready to go and check back with the store often. Usually late evening or early morning the next day the stores add more pickup times and since my cart is ready to go, I just hit submit and I’m ready! Don’t wait until you find open curbside pickup times to start your online shopping cart because you risk taking too long and coming to find that all the curbside pickup slots are full.
Modify. Modify. Modify.
Another tip…almost as soon as I book an order for that week, I start another order for the following week with minimal items in it (my stores require $35 worth of goods to start an order). As the week goes on, I log into my account and modify my order with whatever else I need restocked throughout the week. Usually, by the end of the week I’ve modified my order 5-6 times and my $35 order is upwards of $150. Most stores allow you to modify your order up until the night before you place the order. Some stores, like Kroger, charge you for every modification you make (meaning as you add product they do small adjustments to your order total daily), while others like Giant Eagle just save your credit card info and charge you upon pickup. This allows you to always have a future order in the works rather than waiting until you’re desperately needing groceries and having nothing in the house.
Use Amazon when all else fails.
I had never used Amazon Fresh prior to all this happening, but I’ve found that small items that are out of stock in grocery stores are often in stock on Amazon Fresh, plus they deliver to your door. If your order is over $35 then delivery is free, but you may pay the driver a tip. I’ve been supplementing grocery store orders with Amazon Fresh orders when items are out of stock. Similarly to the stores, I place all the items I need in my cart and check back regularly for Amazon Fresh delivery times to open up.
Don’t wait til the last minute.
I want to add that you need to plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’re out of groceries to decide to start a new order and expect immediate pickup. Right now, my rule of thumb is to always have at least two weeks of all provisions in the house at any time. I know that may not be an option for some people who have lost jobs or are unemployed and for that I’m sorry, but do your best to stay ahead. Waiting until you’re completely out, then finding out you can’t get grocery pickup for a week or that essential items you need are out of stock, is frustrating. So plan ahead. Plan to always have something in the works so you’re not left in a bind. Don’t wait til the last minute…procrastination never pays.
I also want to put on the record that right now these Delivery Services and Curbside Order options are at an all time high. Wait times are long to pickup and I’m finding that my orders aren’t always correct or are missing things/not provided substitutes for items despite other options being in stock. While normally I would be upset, I’m giving all these people some grace and realizing that they are putting themselves at risk by doing a favor for my family. So please be patient with those workers filling your orders. Be patient if your pickup time is taking longer than usual (let’s be honest…where else do you have to be right now?!). Be patient with other customers who may be slowing things down. Just…be patient because we’re all going through this. I had almost 10 items I needed yesterday that weren’t fulfilled in my order, but I just rolled with it because I had 30 other items I did need that I did get.
If you have to go inside…
And if you’re still struggling to find Curbside Pickup and Online Ordering times…I would remind you that you continue to monitor social distancing guidelines. Follow CDC guidelines on what to do when you get into stores and get in and out as quickly as possible. Please be mindful of store rules and be sure to thank the people that are keeping your shelves stocked and the lines moving. If something is out of stock, please don’t bug workers to check to see if there’s more in the back…everyone is searching for something that’s out of stock right now. Also, if you’re just making a quick run, stop and ask your neighbors around you if they need anything picked up quickly. Helping them out means less people going into stores and less people being exposed! I hope you find these Online Grocery Ordering and Curbside Pickup Tips and tricks helpful! Stay safe, be prepared, and be patient, friends!! If you have any online grocery or curbside pickup tips, please leave them in the comments!