Adventures in Online Grocery Shopping

BY  |  Thursday, May 03, 2012 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (23)

I am not a shopper, antiquing and junking, sure but anything else-no. Don’t even think of trying to drag me into one of those giant big box bulk store unless you want to hear me whine my way through the store taking giant boxes of frozen-fried nibbles and reading the caloric count per serving. No thanks. However, I do love a good deal and this is why I have been a devoted ShopRite customer since I moved to NJ. I love the ShopRite of Brookdale but I don’t like shopping, so when my friend Courtney (you are so smart girl) insisted I try the online service I did and I am now hooked.

Blue for cold items and yellow for everything else

The fee for the service is $10 (add $6 if you want to have your order delivered). I went over my numbers and realized I was still saving $20-$30 per week using this service by not stopping at the high priced grocery store in a pinch, shopping the circulars and by not making impulse hunger buys.

When you pull up in one of the reserved parking spots for pick up within seconds someone comes out to your car to ask for your information. You get to stay in your car, turn up your radio up to drown out the sound of your kids and their shenanigans in the back seat, now pop your trunk and THEY LOAD THE BAGS INTO YOUR CAR . You sign your credit card slip or take your change, place your eggs on the front seat, say “Thank-you” and drive away. What could be better than that? How about delivery where they bring the groceries right into your kitchen?

Love the deli but hate taking a number and waiting? Perfect: you don’t have to anymore! Nor do you have to worry about taking out an end-cap trying to steer one of those carts with the kiddie car on the front. Good times.

The first time you shop online it may take you some time to get used to the system, the second time is far easier and by the third time you shop you will fly through your order a happy person. You can shop in your robe and slippers, take all of the time you need as you open your cabinets checking to see what you are out of, or if you are super organized, making a meal plan for the week. Most people I have spoken to told me their biggest concern is the produce. Do they pick out good produce? YES, YES, YES!!!!! They take their time and do a great job, a far better job than I do as I try and rush through the store before my kids expire.

Here are my tips:

  • Go to: “Grocery shop on line” and create a user name and password
  • First click on “Shopping Lists” and then”My Past Purchases “, (after you have placed and completed your first order), then  click off any items you are out of or on your list. This is the easiest way to add the items you buy every week such as milk, bread, eggs etc.
  • Next check out the on-line circular for the weeks specials
  • Now go back to your grocery list and enter all of the items you need
  • Try entering the exact item you are looking for to help with your searches
  • If you have any concerns or special requests there is a box called “Add Notes” for any item
  • Check over your list before you complete your order. You will get a detailed itemized printout of your order at pick-up.
  • The pick up times are generally about 4 hours after you place your order
  • The cold items will be packed in blue bags and everything else in yellow bags so you can unpack your cold items first
  • Your shopper will call you before it is time to pick up your order in case they are out of an item and his or her name will be on your receipt
  • I always forget something so when I get my conformation e-mail I e-mail back with the items I forgot
  • You can select your bag preference paper or plastic.
  • The off-peak days are usually Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
  • Looking for organic? Click the “Live Right” tab
  • If you would like flowers call Judy or Cecylia in the floral department and  talk to them about what you would like and they will set it aside for you
  • Feel free to call any department and speak to the fish monger or butcher for any special requests
  • I wanted a green tub that I saw out on the sidewalk so I just put that in the “notes” and sure enough Sarah took care of it

This is a fantastic service for busy people, parents shopping for college students,  those shopping for the elderly or the immobile.

General Manager Jerry Manley was incredibly helpful with all of my questions and wants everybody to be as happy with this service as I am. Questions or concerns about the shop at home service? Let us know in comments.

 

23 Comments

  1. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 03, 2012 @ 9:18 am

    I’ll happily stick up for those of us who LOVE, LOVE, LOVE food shopping (and, really, all shopping!).

    The thought of this service makes me cringe. The idea of not seeing my friends who work at Shoprite, A&P, Kings or Fresh Fields (excuse me, Whole Foods) makes me sad.

    The idea of not finding some new food, or hearing a worker or customer recommend something to me is sad.

    The thought of not having those memories of the little prof tagging along on our 2-3 hour Sunday Shoprite trips is sad. (He still gets mad if he can’t go.)

    But mostly, it’s the people. Not a week goes by that I don’t have a nice moment with someone at the store– often at Shoprite, singing one of the songs from the 70′s they play. [You haven't lived until you're in an aisle and EVERYONE is singing, "Play that Funky Music, White Boy..."]

    So forgive me, I’ll be the one in Aisle 5.

  2. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  May 03, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    I think that is wonderful Prof :).

    Let me add this Mr. Ask Holly esq. loves to grocery shop but sending him to the store for milk ends up costing $89.39. This service also helps us stay within our monthly budget.

    I love watching people sing in the aisles at ShopRite.

  3. POSTED BY walleroo  |  May 03, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    Question: when they ring the bell to deliver the groceries, can you answer in boxers and a wife beater?

  4. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  May 03, 2012 @ 9:36 am

    Hmmmm. Do they have local organic produce? ‘roo, everyone knows you live in that pink sweater, so you don’t need to pretend to be macho with us gals.

  5. POSTED BY DagT  |  May 03, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    I learned to HATE shopping when as a little girl my mother, who could spend spend several minutes exploring every piece of fruit, checking ever can, or mulling over a meat selection, took me along. It cut into the time I could spend roller skating on Brooklyn streets. Years ago, with my first cell phone, I learned I could call ahead to the deli dept. instead of waiting on those lines. I haven’t used this service yet but you bet I will.

  6. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  May 03, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    Man, these people must be REALLY busy if they can’t carve out a few hours a week to feed themselves.

    I enjoy shopping, and would never buy a piece of fish or meat or fruit that I hadn’t seen. Good Lord!

    But for older people or those who for one reason or another cannot get out to do it themselves, I’m glad that the service exists. Why, in the old days they’d have just been placed on a mountaintop and left to wither away.

  7. POSTED BY msmr  |  May 03, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    I’m with Prof. I was in Shop Rite the other day singing as I shopped. My first thought: “Shop Rite is playing some good music today.”
    My second thought: “You know you’re old when you’re enjoying the music at Shop Rite.”

  8. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  May 03, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    Roo- Only if you wear black socks and sandals with that smoking hot combo

    JG- Organic yes I don’t know about local

    Dag-Me too

    Cro-It comes down to how do you want to spend your time? I can’t get back my precious time with my kids and when they are grown and gone the grocery shopping will still be there.

    You do see the fish and meat as soon as it comes to your home. If for any reason you are not happy contact Jerry trust me it will be taken care of. They want their customers happy and they do a great job.

  9. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  May 03, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    To each his/her own, Holly.

    You could bring those kids with you when you shop, you know. It would be a nice opportunity for them to learn about food, where it comes from and how much it costs. I also found that they were much more willing to eat it when they had “picked it out”.

    But as I said, I’m glad that the service is there for those who need it or want it.

  10. POSTED BY geoff gove  |  May 03, 2012 @ 11:02 am

    “for older people or those who for one reason or another cannot get out to do it themselves, I’m glad that the service exists. Why, in the old days they’d have just been placed on a mountaintop and left to wither away.”
    You should shop there on days when they’re bussed in on senior shuttles. They me feel younger than my AARP card does. I’ve met more than one 95+ year old who insist on driving there on their own.

  11. POSTED BY DagT  |  May 03, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    Cro the last thing I wanted to learn about when I was a kid was the source and cost of food. Nor did my kids. You are kidding right?

  12. POSTED BY Randel McMurphy  |  May 03, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    Have been using this since it first started and never looked back. Perfect service for new parents or anyone who doesn’t have the time to meander around the slow pokes that always seem to pause in front of the items you want to grab. It gives us back at least an hour a week. There are frequent mailers with $5 off coupons for this service (occasional ones for $10). The hour+ that this saves us each week is SO worth the $10 shopping fee. At the start there were a lot of bugs in the system & bags would be forgotten – they would make up for it back then by refunding the shopping charge. There is still the occasional mistake – usually a forgotten bag – less so when you pick up in person. Overall a great quality of life improvement for a busy family that dislikes shopping!

  13. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  May 03, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    I’m not kidding at all, Dag. My kids loved picking things out at the store, and they were fascinated by the whole idea of farmers growing things and fishermen catching things and getting them to ther store. As for the cost, I don’t particularly acre whether they WANTED to understand, rather I insisted that they SHOULD understand.

    I took them once a week at the most, and we generally did something afterwards like go to lunch or whatever. They seem to have emerged unscarred from the experience, and they do the same with theirs today.

  14. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  May 03, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

    My husband does the big shopping at Shoprite on Sunday, but there have been times that we’re busy and we’ve used this service. It really makes life easier. I’m all about making life easier. As for me, I like to do smaller, during the week shopping trips to Whole Foods or King’s, and that’s when I take my kids. They do love to see the lobsters at King’s, smell the stinky cheeses at Whole Foods and help.

  15. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  May 03, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    Cro- I accept your kind offer! This is great news for me and my kids will be soooo excited that Uncle Croey is going to take them shopping and to lunch. My 9 year old likes to shop but the five year old will make you drive that big honkin’ cart with the car on the front just watch out because he sometimes grabs women’s legs from the car window.

    I will do the fun stuff with them like the farmer’s market and cook with them.

    Thanks this news made my week. Yeah for Uncle Croey!!!!!

  16. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  May 03, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    Why I’d be delighted, Holly.

    Of course, on our way to the store we’ll have to stop at the police station, where I’ll report the children’s mother for giving over her kids to the care of a man she “met” on the internet.

    Think how much they’ll learn about the criminal justice system!

    And no need to worry — Uncle Croey likes to grab women’s legs from the car window as well. Now, I’ll be able to blame the little one when those women who can’t take a joke get steamed!

    Win, win!

  17. POSTED BY hipflask  |  May 03, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    I too absolutely love -LOVE – food shopping; wandering the aisles, squeezing melons (ahem) and jamming to the sweet sweet Shop Rite tunes (yes, that was me the other day loudly harmonizing with the melodic offerings of Barry Manilow — man, that guy gets me every time, and the accoustics in aisle 7 are suprisingly good). But I used Shop Rite’s pick up service for the first time the other day and I gotta say that am hooked. They were nice, quick and courteous. That is a winning service that I’ll be using again.

  18. POSTED BY Sandy  |  May 03, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

    We food shop at the Shop-Rite in W.O. at Essex Green. Why ? They have not only excellent produce at all times, but they carry many more products than Brookdale does !! I spoke to the owner,of Brookdale, one time, and mentioned the products that W.O. S-R (actually also available in S-R of Millburn as well as Livingston and Short Hills) and he was NOT interested in increasing shelf space, or some such excuse. The other noted towns, herein all have the products, that I suggested he stock here, in Bloomfield. He declined.
    SOOOoooo, we go to Essex Green W.O. which is actually exactly the identical mileage (and time) from our house to either Shop Rite. (Blmfd VS W.Orange)
    I know AND realize that different locations have different products, but … it is ODD when four other Shop Rites all have the products that Brookdale refuses to carry !!

    Brookdale is a nice store, big parking lot, is clean and everyone is nice, but….if you cannot secure what your family likes (or prefers) then you go to where you can secure those products.

  19. POSTED BY es2v  |  May 04, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    I’m with Randel M. We’ve been using this service since it started and L-O-V-E it. With 4 small kids and two parents who work outside of the home, this service is a blessing.

  20. POSTED BY kay  |  May 04, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    I super-love this service too!

    Prof, your little guy is a wonderful child who obviously does well in the store, probably because of you and your Supremely Excellent wife, and back in the day I would have enjoyed taking mine grocery shopping too if they’d been more like him. However that was not the case way back when. In fact, when they were little I was kind of glad for the weekly two-hour break!

    Now is a different story. I have been using the pickup service off and on for a while now. It doesn’t work for me every week, as I do need to get in there and pick my own stuff sometimes. But when it’s snowing… or extracurriculars prevent me from the luxurious two hour shopping trip… and when I was recovering from minor surgery last year – it was fantastic. I would spend a nice long while doing the list online, in my jammies, and hubby would just go pick it up. So painless! Plus you can get three of those big packages of toilet paper and not worry about it fitting into the cart! AWESOME !!

    As for Brookdale not carrying things… yes this is a problem. Not sure if it’s always them so much as manufacturer/distributor limits. I now order two different kinds of cereal from Amazon subscription service (a total bargain!) and get my certain juice boxes at Kings (Believe it or not, they are the only store that carries them any more).

    One of these days I will have to take a ride up to Sandy’s Shoprite just to compare. Of course, I will need at least three hours for that trip – since I won’t know where anything is. (Because if I am already in the frozen food when I realize I forgot the mayonnaise, I won’t have a clue which aisle to double back to!)

  21. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  May 04, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    Kay and Sandy,
    Jerry told me they are happy to order products you are looking for just ask. i’m not sure who told Sandy no but try again.

  22. POSTED BY Sandy  |  May 04, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    Kay, at every beginning & ending of each alsle hangin high are large signs telling what is on THAT one.
    Holly I do not know any the the employees, by name, but the man that I did speak to was the owner. It’s okay, as my wife & I can get it all at
    W.O. and at Livingston S-R, as well as at Short Hills (but that’s out of the way – but sometines we hop over there when in Millburn. The Millburn store is tiny – but I giggle there there because of the 4 or 5 products in queston, Millburn does have 2 !! It’s a bit larger than a 7-11 !! :)

  23. POSTED BY kbanda  |  May 04, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    Not a fan. No matter how many times I specify “no dented cans”, I always get dented cans. So instead of saving myself a trip to the store I have to go to return or exchange the dented cans after spending all that time online trying to find exactly what I need. Much a I hate food shopping and hate Shop-Rite even more, I’d rather spend my time getting my own groceries, especially produce and canned products, and know everything I have is what I want in the best condition possible.

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I will really miss their store. It was always so easy and fun to find a fun gift there. Walking into their store made me feel like I was transported into a faraway happy place!

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