What a Time to Be Alive: Modern Conveniences for a Modern Girl
I'm not married and I don't have kids. But you know what? I enjoy perks that initially seem to be targeted to that demographic because I have two other things - a lack of patience and a budget.
So to continue my slowly-becoming-a-series of posts about things you probably already know about, I want to share my love of meal delivery and curbside grocery services. There are a lot of places that offer this now, but I've only tried two. Here are my experiences:
Meal Delivery: Hello, Fresh
I have close friends who use Hello, Fresh, Blue Apron, and Freshly, and will confess that my sole reason for choosing Hello, Fresh was that it had the best introductory offer. I placed my order for the two-person Classic plan on a Thursday, and my first delivery was the following Tuesday - that's service!
From the app or website, select your meal preference (Classic, Veggie, Family) - I used the website for my first order just to be able to see all the options on the same screen at the same time. Select a day of delivery; all future boxes will be delivered on that same day of the week. Go into the app or site to choose meals or skip weeks. Et voila!
GREAT APP - It has been the most helpful for choosing dishes for each box, as well as skipping a week of delivery. I like being able to easily do this right when I think about it instead of having to remember to log on to a website. (I'm sure Hello, Fresh isn't the only service with an app, but I like this one!)
DIVERSE MEAL OPTIONS - There are a variety of protein choices each week, and usually at least two menu options with the same protein choice. Avoiding sweet potatoes has never been so easy.
PERFECT SUPPLIES - Everyone mentions the portions in regard to spices, but you know what? Spices generally have a shelf life. I love that the produce provided uses everything up in the recipe and I'm not left with half of a purchase to go bad in the fridge while I rack my brain to figure out another kale-based meal.
SAUCES - Chicken, fine. Potatoes, fine. Y'all, I've learned how to make new, versatile dips and sauces! The entire time I'm cooking i'm thinking of different menu options and veggie combinations to use my super duper sauce skills again.
WINE PAIRINGS - There's a pairing recommendation in the bottom corner of every recipe card. Genius! (Okay, it turns out this is kinda just marketing because they have a wine club, too, but...maybe that's an aspirational subscription for you, I don't know. Maybe it's one for me?)
KNOW YOURSELF - With my travel and work schedule, I don't think I'll ever get boxes in back-to-back weeks and be able to make everything before ingredients go bad. That's not so much a con as it is a word of caution. I just skip every other week and I'm fine!
BUTTER - So far about half of my recipes have called for butter, and that's not something I keep on hand. You know that Alexa commercial where the guy asks for egg substitutes? That's me, but with butter. Again, not a problem for people with a well-stocked kitchen and/or the self control not to butter everything. (I've found that a little EVOO works almost anywhere butter is called for, but I also haven't been asked to bake anything yet.)
Curbside Delivery: Wal-Mart
Now I'm going to tell you how I'm really lazy: I'm addicted to curbside grocery delivery. I know a couple of people who have used the Kroger service for a while, but my guess is they'll spend more on paper towels than I'm willing to. And I've attempted Amazon Prime Pantry before, but I'm honestly not looking to spend $130 just to fill one box for delivery, no matter how appealing it sounds to have someone else carry a case of water to my second floor doorway for me. So, because of all of this, and because of the trusted recommendation of a friend, I tried Wal-Mart Grocery.
From the app or website, select the option for curbside pick-up. (TIP: The ability to pick up on the same day is based on the time you place your order, so if you're looking for a quick turnaround be sure to order early.) I'm not sure how broad the service goes across the store (for instance, I don't know if you can buy toys or camping equipment), but I was able to get food, paper products, laundry supplies, and shampoo! Pretty much everything I needed.
Once you have everything in your cart and hit checkout, you'll be able to choose from all available pick up times (they're so easy to sync with a commute!). Once that time comes and you're on your way to the store, you can check in on the app (if you choose, this step is optional) and they'll map you to the store so that they're extra prepared for your arrival. Follow signs in the parking lot to the designated pick up area (which looks like the picture below) and dial a number listed in the parking area to confirm arrival.
They'll load everything in right into your trunk, tell you of any substitutions (which you can reject if you don't approve), and have you sign that you've received everything. And then you're on your way home!
THE APP - Yes, another great app (and I'm really not one for new apps, guys). I actually use this as my grocery list now (which meant I could delete another app, yay!) - adding things to my cart and hitting checkout when I'm ready!
SANITY - Admit it: we all want Wal-Mart prices without a Wal-Mart experience. This is just that. I also like to think that I'm providing a respite for the poor employee who can now provide customer service without dealing with bozos like us face-to-face.
SAMPLES - A little bag of free samples handed to you when you sign the receipt is the cherry on the top of this great service!
FINAL DIAL IN - Because I used the app and it tracked my route to the store - including telling me that I'd arrived and my stuff would be right out - I didn't dial the phone number posted in the parking area the first time I tried the service. So I just sat there. Finally I dialed, and they immediately came out with my stuff. Now I know, and now you know. Not a con!
PLASTIC BAGS - You can actually opt for reusable bags, but you pay extra (in TN) - and I wonder how this would work in the future. I can't remember if there's a way to select "use my bags." Also, I'm guessing in places like Texas you're paying for your bags regardless. Does anyone have that intel? (Note: Your items come out in big plastic bins, so potentially if you had your own bags in your trunk they'd just transfer the stuff over at that time. Seems like a time issue, though...hmm...)
This is THE ONLY way I'm shopping at Wal-Mart from here on out, unless I'm getting plants or something. So, so easy. So convenient. So inexpensive. Great value for service! Here's a code for $10 off if you'd like to try it, too!
Now, go out there and life your best hassle-free life!
Psst...Do you want to see how the meal delivery services stack up? Here's an article that will help you do that.