Saturday, March 4, 2017

Are You Being Fresh?

Life is busy, yo. There are not enough hours to get all of the things done that I want to get done, that I need to get done, that have to get done. I mean, somehow we always figure it out, but something always needs to be sacrificed. Totally not complaining, because I recognize that the mere fact that I am as busy as I am is a product of my privilege.

I am privileged to be healthy enough to run the miles I run.
I am privileged to have a job that inspires me to work all of the hours.
I am privileged to have children that are healthy and happy and bold and engaged enough to want to be in all of the activities.
I am privileged to be able to afford to keep them in these activities.

I get it, my blessings are more than abundant. My time? Much less so.

In order to get things to all balance out I am, perhaps, a bit of a *control freak*...but also pretty much a time management expert, so whenever I find something that might potentially help me to "herd my cats", I'm all about trying it out.

When the kidiots were much younger, like 1 & 2, and we still lived in sunny South Florida, our local grocery chain introduced an online shopping and doorstep delivery service. Not surprisingly, I swooped in on that, like a hawk. It was an awesome invention and I was willing to pay a bit of a premium for it.

I would log onto their website, while I was in the lactation room, pumping breast milk and check off the items on my grocery list. Once I had it all done, I'd checkout and schedule my delivery for a 2 hour window that would work for me. (i.e., a Saturday, NOT during nap time.)

Saturday morning would arrive and bright and early and, right on time, a big truck would pull up, a friendly delivery driver would call my cell phone (because I specified on delivery instructions to NOT ring the bell as that would set the dogs off in a tizzy) and I would greet him at the door. He'd then lay out a plastic "runner" of sorts, but on little cloth "booties" and wheel my purchases in, on a dolly so as not to dirty my floors.

It was a Godsend.

But, apparently either I was the only one that thought so or they were just waaaaay before their time.

Almost as quickly as this lifesaver started, it stopped. It was gone. I was super bummed.

Fast forward 13 years, and I find myself living deep in the heart of PA Dutch country, among Amish folks and Mennonites and cows and corn. Our town has hitching posts for horses. Our Walmart has a special parking area that is designated for the horse and buggy crowd. We are not terribly modernized.

We *do* have a college, which explains why we have a Walmart.

There are a few solid grocery stores in town, and I live less than a mile from one of them. Giant has some nice features...a great "Bonus Card" program that allows me to load digital coupons to my shopping card and a gas station that I can earn points worth money off my gas for.

Anyway, I was making a point here...I knew my hopes of having a grocery delivery service any time soon were pretty slim, so I tried to block the blissful recollection from my mind.

And then a wonderful thing happened. My best work friend, K,  mentioned "Amazon Fresh". She said it was like regular Amazon...but for groceries.

I was intrigued. (Truth be told, pretty sure she was too)

As an existing Amazon Prime member, I could try it for free. As long as I bought at least $40 worth of groceries, there would be no delivery charge.

Let's be real. I have a 13 year old and a 15 year old. $40 worth of groceries? Shit man, they eat that in a sitting.

So we logged on, at work, during lunch and started to populate my cart with items. I found a good number of things that I can't get in my local stores - or varieties of favorites that I didn't even know existed...for the most part, the pricing was pretty comparable to my local grocery stores. Some items were a bit spender, but some were decidedly cheaper.

I added yogurt, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice and Craisins. (We eat A LOT of yogurt...)but then we got distracted and wound up abandoning my cart and getting back to work.

The next day, we picked back up where we left off, but decided to look at the delivery windows...I realized that I *needed* some of the items before Monday (it was Friday) and if I couldn't get a delivery the next day, well, our experiment would have to wait a week.

To my immense relief, there were Saturday windows. There are two categories of delivery: Attended and Unattended. There were no Attended slot left, so instead I selected Unattended. This provided me with a few 3 hour windows that I could choose over the next two days.

I selected Saturday 7-10am. Once selected, it stated that my slot was reserved for the next 60 minutes. I would need to check out within that window, or I would lose my slot.

I clicked back over to the "store" and added a last few items, to round me out to $40.

Checkout was the standard Amazon checkout process, so simple and fast. I used my Amazon Visa card as my payment method, so I earned 5% back on my purchase.

Once I checked out, I noticed that there was a message that said I could still add items to my order...which is a pretty nice feature for someone that is constantly juggling all of the balls. I am not sure what the cut off is for how close to your scheduled delivery you can add items, but I can envision starting an order on a Monday for a Saturday delivery and just continuing to add items to it all week, as we run out of things.

Needless to say I was pretty excited this morning, in anticipation of my first delivery. (K? Every bit as anxious...she texted me *while I was typing this up*)

Some time between 9 and 10 they quietly came to the door and left my parcels...
Those are cute little totes, wonder if I get to keep them?
I may or may not have squealed when I saw them sitting there, waiting patiently for me to discover them.

I brought them inside and noticed that they were clearly marked with instructions on what I should do with them:
Sweet! Reusable!
I opened the first one, which contained my perishables:

They were protected under a thermal blanket and then, under that, three substantial ice packs. Granted, it's the dead of winter in South Central PA, so defrosting was never really a concern, but this looks like it would be adequate, even in the summer.

Everything I ordered was there, and in pristine condition, so I would call this adventure a success. I will continue testing it out, next time with loose produce and meat products.

My only reluctance here would be about not earning the gas points, but as K and I worked out, the 5% cashback that I am getting is worth much more than the $.10 off per gallon that I get for every $100 I spend in groceries...but there is something kind of vindicating about pulling up to the pump, swiping my bonus card and watching the price of gas drop before my eyes...ah well, perhaps if I had a MUCH BIGGER gas tank.

Stay tuned for updates on additional Amazon Fresh orders. I'm sure you can hardly wait. ;)

**This is NOT a sponsored post. The opinions expressed here were not solicited and I am not being compensated for them at all...though if Amazon would like to throw me a bone, I wouldn't turn them down...

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