It’s a weird side effect of the way we live now that even a trip to the grocery store requires us to steel up our nerves like we’re heading into battle. There’s so much to think about and so many risks involved.
We’ve all seen how Baton Rouge stores are stepping up their precautions, like sneeze guards at checkout, special hours for the elderly and workers wiping down grocery carts. But the COVID-19 pandemic has led many of us, including here at 225 Dine, to give grocery delivery apps a try for the first time.
There are many out there, from DoorDash to Postmates to InstaCart. Good Housekeeping offers a helpful explanation of the perks and fees of the top food delivery apps.
Once you’ve picked an app that works best for your needs, check out these tips on keeping the experience safe and cordial with your shopper.
Make a thorough list
It’s annoying when you get home from the store and realize you forgot something. That’s why grocery lists are important—and the same goes for delivery apps. Write out your grocery needs first, then transfer it to the app so you can cross-check and make sure you didn’t leave anything out.
It can sometimes be difficult to add items once your shopper is walking the aisles of the store.
Come up with alternatives
InstaCart and other apps will prompt you to select alternatives in case the item you want isn’t available. Use this function religiously! It may take some time on the front end, but it will save you from fielding endless texts from your shopper letting you know that a product you want isn’t on the shelves. We’ve all seen the empty store shelves at grocery stores—so imagine how hard it might be to pick out a new item for someone you don’t know.
And with that in mind, be available and near your phone in case your shopper has a question. Don’t make them stay any longer in the store than they need to.
Being among crowds, even at essential places like supermarkets, is a health risk. That’s why the CDC has advised all Americans to start wearing masks and gloves when at the store, pharmacy or other areas of “significant community-based transmission.” Odds are your shopper is taking those same health precautions, but since they are doing so on your behalf, why wouldn’t you tip them generously?
According to a recent story from Vox, “Many delivery people rely on tips to make a living, either because they are contractors with unpredictable wages and no benefits, or because they have low base salaries even if they are employees.”
So tip more than you would if we weren’t living in a pandemic.
Give clear and safe instructions for delivery
Let your shopper know what you’re comfortable with for the actual delivery. Do you want the bags left at your doorstep? Do you want them left at the curb? We all have different reasons for what we constitute as “safe” right now. And the good news is most of these apps don’t require in-person interaction. You can ask them to text you once the groceries are outside and wait until they’ve driven away before you even open the door. Whatever makes you comfortable … just as long as you tip generously.
Consider sanitizing your groceries—but don’t spiral
While most health professionals say the biggest health risk is the interactions you have in public, many of us are worried about the disease’s staying power on surfaces. There are tutorials online for how to disinfect your groceries at home, and they include instructions for setting up a cleaning station in your kitchen, wiping down packaging and scrubbing produce in the sink.
But soap and water still seems to be the go-to suggestion for those items just as it is for your hands. As this NPR story explains, you shouldn’t drive yourself crazy disinfecting your groceries. The odds of getting the disease from that plastic container of deli-sliced turkey are far lower than sharing the same air in the dairy aisle with five strangers.
And for that reason, Tip. Your. Shopper. Generously. And once your groceries are safely stored away, leave a good review for them on the app, too!
Have you tried out grocery delivery apps since the COVID-19 pandemic started? Let us know your experience in the comments!