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Cybermom: Online Grocery Shopping

Posted by Elisa Taub
Cybermom: Online Grocery Shopping

by Elizabeth Rodgers

Tech Talk is a regular momready column, where each month Elizabeth Rodgers will write about Lifestyle Technology - technology that goes beyond the personal computer and improves the way you live. 

Did you know that you can buy groceries online and have them delivered to your home, just like Chinese food? When it's raining or the kids are sick or you're just... over it, that's a good time to order in.What online grocery shopping is for:
- a luxury for those who don't want to bother, and
- a necessity for those who don't have the time.

Yes, it can be more expensive than doing it in person. But how much is your time worth? Or do you even have the time? Do you like to touch each apple you buy? Then online grocery shopping (at least for your fruit) is probably not for you.

There are a few different ways you can get your groceries online. You can:
1. get them delivered to your house within the hour or hours.
2. pick them up all ready to go at the store.
3. get non-perishable items shipped to you.

Now, I'm not talking about specialty food items like Omaha Steaks or Cinnamon Sugar Marshmallows. I'm talking about bread, rice, eggs, milk, tampons. Know that the dot com revolution has gone bust and you will get charged for delivery (unless you spend more than a nominal amount, and sometimes, even then). You have to look harder for the savings, but most bigger stores offer coupons and have comparable rates to in-store prices.

The benefits, other than saving time, include:
- a record of everything you buy,
- the option of regularly scheduled deliveries,
- a customized shopping list, so you can just check off the items you want,
- recipes (searchable by ingredient),
- most of the bigger chains are connected to online drug stores and pharmacies,
- online savings, not found elsewhere, and
- someone else carries the groceries to your door.

The only national grocer I'm familiar with is Amazon. They got into the business last year and they actually offer pretty good prices on certain items and rebates that can save you money in the long run. The catch: you have to order in large quantities; that's the way they keep the prices down. Think of Amazon as the Costco of online grocery shopping. And they don't ship perishable items. But they do have vegan, gourmet, organic, kosher and other hard to find foods for those who don't live in a major city. Better yet, if you order $25 or more, shipping is free. If you're an Amazon Prime member ($79/year), you'll get free 2-day shipping.

Other than Amazon, how do you know where to go? Do a Google search: "buy online groceries" and then put in your locale, i.e., Los Angeles.

Maybe you're just in the mood to order in. You know when they're eating out of Chinese food boxes in the movies? How good the food looks? That's the way groceries are going to look when they get delivered to your door.


Elizabeth Rodgers (along with her husband, Jonathon Fishman) is the founder of Ben's Ranch, a personal and small business technology service company. Elizabeth also writes for television and film.

For more info on Ben's Ranch please visit http://www.bensranch.com.

If you enjoy the column and would like to receive the monthly Ben's Ranch newsletter with even more pithy advice, email: lasso@bensranch.com and put "subscribe" in the subject line.