An adventure in online grocery shopping: Tips for first-timers

Okay, my wife and I are tech-savvy – to a point. We use a computer, iPad, iPhones. We text, have Facebook accounts; we can navigate YouTube and Messenger.

But we don’t use Instagram or Snapchat, we don’t Tweet, we don’t speak ‘WhatsApp” or “weChat,” we don’t know what TikTok does, or “Viber” either.  You get the idea.   

We are that Baby Boomer generation — still hip (when ours don’t ache) — but we’re not rockin’ the tech universe. However, because of the COVID-19 outbreak we are plunging into something we have never, ever done!

We are ordering groceries at our Edmonds supermarket, online, and we will pick them up — no masks; no elbow bumps; nobody coughing on us; no spreading coronavirus.

Okay… you’re laughing. Sure, almost everybody under the age of 45 (and some Baby Boomers too) orders groceries online, picks ‘em up or has them delivered or has Scotty ‘beam them down’ from the Enterprise to their kitchens.  We’ve just never done that before.

Before we stumble into this, here are links to grocery chains in the area that offer online ordering, pick up or delivery or some variation of that.  

Fred Meyer


PCC Community Markets


Sprouts Farmers Market


Whole Foods

WinCo Foods

There is truth in the old saying: “Everything old is new again.” 

The last time anybody bagged up groceries for pick-up or delivery was when our parents and grandparents told us about “the olde days” when kids on bikes loaded with grocery bags zipped through neighborhoods to your door; or when the bakery or veggie truck honked its way down your block. 

Why are my wife and I doing this? Our kids, now in their late 30s, early 40s, are worried about us and COVID-19. They don’t want us going to the store, or out to eat, or to the big box stores, going to movies… ‘nuff said. We love our kids and want to be around for a long time to enjoy them and our grandchildren. (Don’t tell them, but we will still sneak out with friends for dinner from time to time… shhhh…). Our family has done some shopping for us, and we love them for it. But, we wanted to face this Brave, New, and Chaotic Coronavirus World on our own!

We scribbled our list… then went online to our local store…

Sign in, create an account, and then try to build your online list for the first time… that took 24 minutes! 

Why? Because we made some beginner mistakes; and finally navigated to the correct order page: we need onion soup mix, apricot jam, ground beef, cheese, fresh packaged salads… 

Then, we get the ‘happy icon’.  Our order is confirmed. Pay and schedule our pickup… It’s about 2 p.m. Click and… what?????? Pick another date?

Lesson #1: 

Order early in the day or the evening before. Online grocery shopping means plan ahead. 

Lesson #2:

The websites want to know what store, in what location, are you shopping. Make sure to enter that. Our groceries would have been ready for pickup in North Bend if we hadn’t caught it. 

Lesson #3:

The store website will ask if they can substitute for something you order, in case the item is not in stock. That’s fine, but watch out: we wanted laundry bleach.

But, we wanted just a liter and a half; we got the three liter size! Same thing happened with cheese. We ordered the 32-ounce package. They did not have it; we got the 8-ounce size. Now, you can always say “no thanks,” but by that time, they have charged your debit or credit and it’s cold in the parking lot, and everything is in the bag… so, double check your final list online to see what they put in the bag.

Lesson #4:

Know exactly what brand, style, size, quantity you want. There is nothing like scrolling through dozens of types of cheese on screen to get to the one you could spot on the shelf in five seconds. We could have been to the store and back by now, twice, by the time it took to order online the first time!

Lesson #5:

We know filling out the second order will go much smoother, and it will be quicker. The computer files away your “likes” and the second list should be a breeze.

Good luck! This “everything old is new” concept of online grocery pick up and delivery is just one of the things that make up our “New Normal” in this coronavirus world. But, we did it… no in-store shopping, no coughs, no swarm of people; and no spreading virus.  

Hope you are happy, daughters! 

In the car…and done.

  — By Bob Throndsen

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