Silly Saturday – Cyber Shopping

If you have recently come out of isolation, albeit briefly before we’re all in lockdown again, you will have noticed that shopping is now very different. Perhaps you will look back nostalgically to those months of cyber shopping. I got an email yesterday from the Co Op ‘We have missed you, please come back.’

I have been back, but they didn’t recognise me in real life; even with a mask on I am not quite the anonymous self who ordered twice a week. On line shopping with our local Co Op was fun, not at all like the big supermarket chains, more like a game. At the start you had to spend £15 to get free delivery, but could not have more than 20 items, this gradually increased to 30 items, but still delivered by scooter. There were always plenty of delivery slots and I though smugly of all those people staying up till Sunday midnight, desperate to get any slot with Tesco or Sainsbury in the coming week. Of course, with the limit on number of items the cosy Co Op was not likely to suit those needing a big family shop. The website was a challenging computer game; you could always get chocolate, but not necessarily what you needed for dinner. It was vital to think outside the box. Type in baked beans, no luck. It was weeks before I discovered that typing in Heinz revealed beans and such Covid comfort food as tomato soup. The website did improve over the months, with the layout involving less scrolling down, but keeping the fun of guessing whether you should tap onto ‘Get Inspired’ ‘Food Cupboard’ or ‘Bakery and Cakes’. If you forgot to check your emails with updates on how your order was progressing, there was the fun of not knowing if you would get everything on your list, or perhaps an unwanted substitute.

So what is it like at real shops now? Don’t forget the mask… the rest of the rules seem to vary from shop to shop; another game to play, with arrows to follow and circles with footprints to stand on. Don’t mix up the bottle for sanitizing your basket handles with the hand gel. Move out of the way once you have swiped you card  ( cash is out, except at the greengrocers ) to make safe space for the next person. But that little row of chairs where you used to sort out your bags and make sure your purse was put away has gone; don’t have a medical incident, that was where shoppers who had a funny turn were seated as they waited for the ambulance!

How will you get on at shopping centres? Those benches where husbands were parked while waiting for wives to finish in the shop or come out of the Ladies are gone. There is nowhere to rest your heavy bags and meet up at the arranged time. In town will department stores ever be the same again? Restaurants and toilets closed, no meeting friends or relaxing with coffee and scones while you check you phone, or if you are a writer, do some people watching and scribbling.

It is nice to once again see what you are buying, but will you be going on line or out to the shops in the near future?

21 thoughts on “Silly Saturday – Cyber Shopping

  1. I’ve done my main food shopping online for nine years, so the only change for me has not been doing the occasional midweek top up. I think we’ve all worked out what suits us!

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      1. Once you start doing it you realise how easy it is, apart from the period of frantic screen refreshing around midnight which rather got in the way for us regulars !

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  2. We had a few weeks of online food shopping here in Oz and it very much resembled your Co-op experience, Janet. Given the massive IT involved in their complex logistics systems, how the supermarket chains failed so miserably at this relatively simple task passeth all understanding. We ordered a Basics Box from one chain (i.e. a predetermined box of items at a fixed price) that took 2 weeks to arrive. For us, with a pantry where use-by-dates go to die, it wasn’t a problem but for many it was not funny at all. It was a great relief to go back to watching World Championship Toilet Roll Wresting at our local supermarket.

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  3. I will admit that I am becoming very comfortable in my ‘hermit mode’. I never really enjoyed shopping but I did enjoy people watching. And that I miss. It isn’t nearly as much fun looking over my balcony from five floors up. I look forward to the day when I can once again sit and watch others.

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  4. It will be news when they tell you they haven’t missed you. Restaurants are now opening in our area for sit-down dining. They do have fewer tables. The difference in shopping in stores is remarkably different when the virus first began. There used to be hardly anyone in stores (masks are required, thankfully) at the beginning of the pandemic, but now it feels like people have lost their patience or fear.

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    1. Yes Pete I have been on several occasions to our local Ludo Lounge with family or a friend, two of us each time. Felt quite relaxed. A new paper menu on an empty table meant it had been sanitized. We had to register our contact details with our phone – or slip of paper in the box for we technically challenged!

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  5. We dined out last night in Reno, NV and it was nice to be a part of civilization again but we found ourselves moving our table further away from the couple sitting closest to us. 😳A strange new world. Stay safe and blessings!

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