25 May 2010

The Reality of Unreality

When I first came across the idea, I really liked internet food shopping. Not for me the constant putting off, the endless drudge of dragging myself around the kitchen, trying to remember what wasn't there, trying to think sensibly about food whilst being absolutely starving, dragging myself and the OH around the supermarket and then the jenga-like experience of hoisting heavy bags and trying to squeeze all the food into the car and wondering how on earth it all fits every week. And then when you get home you realise you forgot the one thing that you really needed and was the whole reason for buckling down to the chore in the first place.

Nope, I could wait until after dinner, potter around the kitchen and then sit at my computer for a mere 10 minutes whilst eating my pudding and having a drink. And the next day a nice man would deliver it all to my door.

I still like it in theory, because I still do it every single week. What started as a fall back position during the busy wedding planning months has now turned into a weekly ritual, and like all weekly rituals has easily slipped into being a chore. But what amused me this evening as I completed our shop, was that I am still coming across the problems that I faced whilst doing a shop in person.

Obviously the first hurdle to completing any chore is actually getting around to doing the chore itself. And, in this example, shopping in person actually wins. Because with Internet shopping, you don't really get same day service. So you push it and push it and make do with the very last remnants from the freezer, and then finally get around to putting on the order for tomorrow, only to remember that you also need to have saved something to eat because the shopping wont be arriving until way after dinner time.

The second problem is repetition. I am very much one of those people who buy the same thing every week. You see that it is missing from the cupboard, so you put it on the list, buy it, eat it and the circle goes on and on. With a personal shop you might, might just happen to see something different, pick it up and find you have a brand new food favourite. With internet shopping that is a definate no. All your purchases are saved so you can simply tick through a list every week and replenish your cupboard with the same old favourites.

And when I say all, I really do mean all !! As a couple, we share the chores and are quite happy to do so. But if my OH is doing the shopping, he can see all the things I buy at lunchtime. The sandwiches, the little melon packs, the grapes, the cakes, the chocolate. If I use my store card when I'm shopping, all those little things get added to the favourites list. So now if I'm buying things I shouldn't, then I don't use the store card. So I don't get the points. Which was the point of the store card in the first place!!!!!! Its the antidote to the flexible friend; the flexible irritating busybody!

There is a benefit to the favourites list however. Because there will be things that you do wish to always have and its nice to use the list as a "springing off point" Now whether you shop in person or on line, you have to trawl through your list, which is never laid out either as the store is, or the favourites are, and so you will always forget things. But with internet shopping you can just skim back up the window and click. As many times as you want. Wandering around the shop however, that looks odd. Especially if you keep needing to go up the same aisle. Four times.

And now we come to the latest similiarity. Which is the reason for picking shopping as the topic for todays blog class lesson. Checkouts are checkouts whether you shop online or in store. The only difference was that with online shopping you never had that annoying moment with the cashier where they pointed out that if you had brought three lettuces then you would have got one for free. Well thank you, that's marvellous. Except to get me to eat one lettuce a week is enough of a feat. To eat three in one week would ensure that I never ever wanted to eat a lettuce again.

But look, now I can have that option online too. At the end of my shop, before I can pay, I have a lovely new screen which shows me all the ways that I can save money by giving me another chance to access all the offers I was trying so desperately to ignore and letting me buy
twice as much food as I really need. Marvellous, well done. Of all the improvements that you could have made, you thought that this was the best one.

So, when I log on to do my shopping next week, I am fully expecting the website to be equipped with the sounds of screaming children, irritated parents, out of date music played too low to distinguish, which is interspersed with loud and unintelligable tannoy announcements and even louder adverts. Just so I don't feel left out. Thank you.


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