Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Harried Mamas, Rejoice! There is online grocery shopping! (no fee this week)

It is 7:30 am and I just finished what would normally be the hardest part of my (current) hardest household chore: grocery shopping, and I'm still in my p.j.s.  IN FACT, I'm still in bed!  What? Yes. In bed.  Laptop on my lap and groceries ordered.  Online.  I'll pick them up at lunch time, but for now, someone else is doing my actual grocery shopping.  The best part: I'm not dreaming.

Yes, harried Nashvegas mamas, this service actually exists!!  For a mere $4.95, you can have this service. A friend told me about this service a long time ago, but I didn't think it was for me.  Now with being at home with our 2 year old and newborn, I figured I'd give it a shot.  What did I have to lose?  And now, I'm hooked!

The Pros:
- I don't have to get me, a baby and a 2 year old dressed, think about what I need all while wandering down aisles telling my 2 year old that everything she can reach is 'not for you' and 'put it back' and 'don't touch, please'. All while either wearing the baby in a carrier or stuffing groceries in around his car seat while he sleeps.
- I stick to my list and I am not tempted to impulse buy.  Let's face it.  When I'm hungry, tired and faced with Little Debbies, I can hardly resist.  But this way, it's not right there, on sale, calling me and telling me that chocolate will make my sleep deprivation crabbiness and raggedness all disappear like magic.
- I can plan my menu for 2 weeks in advance, fill my 'cart' with what I need and then 'check out'.  Then I drive to the store, ring the buzzer and my 'personal shopper' brings out my stuff (to the car) and then puts it IN MY CAR.  I then swipe my bank card, or hand over my check and then I drive away.  It's practically magical!  No one had to get out of their car seat.  Not one had to convince a 2 year old that they REALLY do have to hold hands in a parking lot.  Nope.  That's it.  I'm done!
- I can add things to my virtual cart as I go and then save it.  The weekly specials and sales items are all there for me to see and I can sort my list by brand, price, unit price, sale items etc, etc. 
- I can send my sweet Geek to the store for me and know that he will come home with what is on my list and not something else because he couldn't find what I wrote down and so bought cocoa crispies instead.  (Love you, Honey!)
- I can search by key word and it will bring up all of the items with that word in it, cutting down on search time.
- I can save a list as a starter for items that are staples at our house. You just go to the list and select from the list of things you usually buy and add them to your 'cart'.

- The only chain of grocery stores that offer this service locally is Harris Teeter, which I generally don't shop at because they tend to be more pricey than my local Kroger. (but with savings from not impulse buying that bag of clearance Christmas chocolate, it evens out pretty well)
- Like every new grocery store, its a little bit of a learning curve to find what we normally eat at a whole new place, and in the categories offered on all internet grocery stores.  (Peanut butter is a 'condiment or sauce'.  Who knew!)  Add the tiny online pictures as my only guide and sometimes I end up with weird things like 3 oz of Parmesan cheese, which is a tiny can!!  I had no idea how many oz. our usual parm cheese purchase was for.  Learning!!
- The three locations that offer the 'Express Lane' service are in Belle Meade, Brentwood, and Franklin.  So it's a bit of a drive.  It's 15 minutes door to door for the Brentwood location.  But considering how long I'd normally spend at the store (typically an hour or more, if it's a big trip), the trade off is pretty worth it.
- You can use coupons, but they apply them to your next order, so you gotta buy more to get your savings.  Not crazy about this feature, but we are not huge couponers, so it's not a problem.
- There is a fee.  However, the fee is pretty reasonable at $4.95.

How it works:
1. Head over to the Harris Teeter Express Lane website and sign up.  You can also link your Harris Teeter VIC card, but that is separate.  Be sure you actually register for the 'Express Lane' login so you can save your cart.
2. Shop!  Add things to your cart at your leisure. Be sure to save your cart so you can come back to it.  If your cart mysteriously empties between visits to the website, just click 'view last cart' and it should bring up what you had.  If you want, as you go, add things to your 'starter list' so your next trip to the website will be even shorter.
3. Click on 'check out' and let them know if you will be paying by credit card or check.  You don't actually pay online.  You pay the cashier who comes out to load your stuff.
4. If you forgot something, you have an hour to log back in and add it to your list.  You can also call and tell them to add something.
5. Select your pickup time.  I usually order the day before and select an early pick up time, but you just need a lead time of 4 hrs in advance to pick up same day.
6. Drive to the store (of your choice) and look for the pickup buzzer lane, ring the bell, have someone load your car, swipe your card or hand over your check and do a little happy dance.
7. Drive home!  You are done!  They even split up the groceries into 'frozen', 'refrigerated', and 'non refrigerated', so I can bring in the stuff that needs to get into the fridge or freezer right now and get the giant package of toilet paper when everyone is down for a nap.

This week only (2/23/11-3/1/11) Harris Teeter is waving the fee!  You can place as many orders as you like and pay no fee.  What a great way to try out this service!  By the way, I am not affiliated with H.T. nor do I get paid to write this post. I am just so excited about a service that makes my Stay At Home Mom chore list just a bit shorter and easier, allowing me more time with my sweet babies.

Edited to add:  This week (8/8/12) is super double coupon week at Harris Teeter!  If you play your coupons right it could be a lot of savings (on your next order).


nala said...

isn't laura damon doing this kind of thing?? like hiring her? and she goes to kroger, trader joes and costco. i feel like i got a ccen email about this...hmmm

Jaime said...

That's too awesome! Only 4.95 no matter how long your list?! I'd pay that every time! Oh, how I wish we had that service here! It's too good to be true... So glad you have that convenience with two little ones to tote. :-)

Kendra & Tobin Kirk said...

I never knew about that...what a great service...they do triple coupons (or used to) every two months or so...I used to get really good deals then, but I agree, their everyday prices are typically a bit higher. Perfect though when you have to shop with a 2 yr old and newborn. I refuse to grocery shop with Wyatt unless Toby is with.

Thesupermanns said...

oooh this is nice to know about. Thanks girl

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