Do you live an area that offers curbside grocery pickup? My area (Southern Utah) started offering this service a couple years ago and I jumped in pretty quickly! I have an extremely bouncy/impulsive five year-old daughter. So, ever since she could walk, I have avoided taking her to places that have items on shelves, ya know? 🙂 I have learned a lot from my many grocery orders from the three different stores I shop at. I thought I’d compile all the info into one place. If you’ve been dying to try it, but not sure where to start, this post should help!
Simply put: curbside grocery pick-up is when your grocery store offers you the ability to order your entire grocery shopping list online. Not all areas offer this, but you’ll notice signs outside your store if they do! How do you take advantage of online grocery ordering?
- Download the store’s app on your smartphone.
- Choose a pick-up time. (usually 4 or more hours out)
- Fill your shopping cart with your items and check out!
- Drive up to the designated pick-up area at the pick-up time (one hour window).
- Text or call the phone number on the sign posted.
- An associate will come out with your order and load it in the car for you! You don’t even need to get out!
- You’re already paid- they’ll just go over any substitutions if needed and get your approval for everything.
- Drive away in pure bliss…
This post has a TON of info in here, but bottom line: curbside pick-up is fantastic. I love how it affords me time to plan well and make the most of my time with my kids. However, online ordering is not for everyone. Let’s start with the Cons.
Cons to Curbside Grocery Pickup:
- You have to think ahead.
- To get an order placed that day, you’ll need to complete your online order in the morning usually.
- FYI- with smaller stores, sometimes you can call and have them move up your time! I had great luck with this for the first year at Smith’s and Lins, and they were so happy to accommodate and even happily added items I’d forgotten. Walmart was always a nope 🙂
- You’ll need to download a new (free) app and get used to how it works. Here’s what I think about each of them:
- Walmart: most user-friendly/intuitive. Simple and quick!
- Smith’s/Kroger: Not a bad app, but you have to know that adding something to your “list” is not actually adding it to your cart. I LOVE going through their coupons, and adding items I need based on those- at no hassle! Just be sure to scroll down and pick which specific item you want to add to the cart.
- Rosie app for Lins/Macey’s etc: It’s fine and simple.
- Curbside pick-up can cost money. All of these stores do the first few orders free and after that, you may find promos off and on for free pick-up in your email inbox! Here are the fees-
- Walmart: Free with $30 minimum
- Smiths: $4.95 per order
- Lins (Rosie app for hundreds of other stores): $1.99 with $30 minimum.
- Sometimes it’s hard to know what you’re getting by a small photo on your phone. I’ve been off about how big something was, and you just don’t know how ripe the avocados are going to be! You can put a note in the order to specify what you need in your produce- i.e. greener bananas etc… but still!
- By always ordering online, you could be missing out on a few important things. I had a great convo with a friend about why she doesn’t feel good about online shopping for HER. She doesn’t judge anyone for going this new route, but one morning she noticed a shift in the store vibe. Normally, the store would have friendly shoppers browsing and politely smiling as you pass, but the only shoppers that morning were the associates- on their mission to fill orders. There was no chit-chat of running into a neighbor, only bright orange vests focused on their job at hand. This is what she pointed out— (below)
What We Learn from Grocery Shopping
- Kids learn so much from grocery store trips!
- Manners in public places or appropriate times to talk to strangers
- Practice for driving- we stop at the end of an aisle- there is a “right of way” and we stay to the right side etc.
- Gratitude to Mom for figuring out the meal plan, and frugality.
- We can teach our children about budgets, math and how advertising affects us.
- A child can count the cold items vs warm items, nutritious items vs. not nutritious
- You could have a child be in charge of reading the list and crossing things off as you go.
- Have a child count the items in the cart and make sure it all adds up as you check out.
- Moms get benefits too:
- Moms get to socialize and a reason to get dressed for the day.
- We are forced to use our creativity to interact with our kids as we accomplish a task.
- Moms can practice saying “no” to the candy/toy temptations- which is a good thing!
- Handling melt-downs in public is not a favorite perk shopping with your kids, but after you’ve handled so many melt-downs you become a pro!
- We get some exercise too!
- My friend pointed out that there are many ways we can get these above-mentioned benefits, but we have to be very intentional. Otherwise, this lifestyle of extreme ease can deteriorate our culture! I enjoyed our conversation and thought she was right on- what are we replacing our saved time with? I hope it’s with something greater!
So… That was a huge list of CONS… But what about the PROS (aka my fave part!)?
Pros to Curbside Grocery Pickup:
- Online ordering relieves stress. Bringing my four kids into a store is just too much! I can take time to think about everything I need while my kids are freely playing with each other. I found myself DREADING going to the store, so I totally avoided it! We were regularly out of milk at our house!
- Time-Saver. It can save you 20%-50%+ of the time you’d spend walking around the store, waiting in line, and checking out. I still spend a decent chunk of time choosing items in the app and making sure I haven’t forgotten anything. When you pull up though to curbside pickup- it’s really quick! Grocery bill is all processed- it takes a minute or two for the associate to come out, a minute to go over any substitutions and sign. A couple minutes to load and you’re done! *** I like to keep a good cleaning rag in my car so I can clean the inside of my car while I wait.
- Beautiful Produce. The produce manager checks off the produce! I swear- they save the best stuff for us! I have been VERY pleased with their choices.
- The customer service is incredible! All three stores staff is above and beyond friendly and helpful. I mentioned Walmart is less flexible, but the other stores are happy to add items I forgot or change the pickup time etc. When I pull up, they often come bearing a cold bottled water and sometimes a treat (Lin’s).
- Free or Discounted items: If items are nearing their expiration, they will give them to you for FREE or a significant upgrade at the lower price. (Smith’s is extra good at this!) Also, out of stock items will be substituted to give you a better deal than you’d get in-store.
- Some moms say they spend less when they shop online as opposed to the store, (i.e. no impulse buys). But, I just find that for me, most of those impulse buys are usually items that weren’t on my list, but we need anyway! With traditional shopping, we all have a “route” we take that reminds us what to grab and the app isn’t set up how we walk the store! So, I think this “spending less” thing is a wash… you get less stuff you may need to buy sooner or later. 🙂
The tips for success are all dispersed throughout the article (be sure to read about the cons, and then you’ll be well prepared so they won’t be a bother at all!) Let me share one final tip:
I have found curbside pickup to be really valuable for our family when it’s part of a weekly system. Monday is “meal planning” day for me, and if I can place an order that night for pick-up the next day while I’m already in the car for another weekly task— it’s a beautiful thing! So much less brain-work and stress goes into feeding my family!
What’s a girl to do?!
With all these pros and cons, you could be more confused than ever about if curb-side pickup right for you.
Here’s a couple questions to ask yourself:
Is grocery shopping somewhat enjoyable to me?
Do my kids look forward to the experience of going into the store?
Could I (realistically) use the time spent in the grocery store with my kids in a good, fulfilling way?
Do I enjoy having the flexibility to run into the store at the spur of the moment to see what I’m getting and buy it right then?
Am I completely drained when I come home from a grocery shopping trip?
Could I start a weekly routine that automates my “chores” so I have time and energy to do more fulfilling/important things?
Do I completely avoid grocery shopping, thus in a regular state of “we’re out of everything!”
… Hopefully answering those questions helped you see if you should just enjoy regular shopping, or if curb-side pick-up would benefit you!
My OWN conclusion:
Combining weekly errands is a beautiful thing, and so most weeks, I’m placing an online order! If I do need to take my kids to the store, I can approach it with a positive attitude and put on my A game and make it great! Preparing them ahead of time with expectations is smart, and enjoy your time with them!
How do you like to get your groceries? What are your thoughts about utilizing curbside grocery pickup?