Saturday, January 25, 2014

My Bhaaji wala in my ipad!

Who would have ever thought that onions and potatoes could be bought at the click of a mouse in the comfort of one’s home? That the ubiquitous bhaji wala and the friendly neighborhood grocery store would converge into your computer? Neatly lined stacks of products from all categories. Widest possible choice. Shopping at the convenient time of your choice. And much easier to pick up and dump in your trolley. Just click! It’s heartening to notice (which i did recently) that something as mundane as grocery shopping has gone online and so smoothly!

Even though it is a very convenient way of quickly finishing an otherwise time consuming task in a woman’s life, i have mixed feelings about online grocery shopping chains.

First the good. There are a lot of such websites to choose from. Popular ones include bigbasket.com, Nature’s Basket from Godrej and (newly discovered today) localbaniya.com. And you can find pretty much everything you would in a full fledged supermarket. Sometimes more! So rest assured that shopping online for groceries isn’t some new fangled gimmick for a privileged social strata. But very housewife-friendly activity that can get you the most mundane of articles required in your household.

Online shopping also saves the huge trouble of having to lug the monthly supplies to your car to carry them home. Or worse still, like in my case, find an auto rickshaw and put all of it into the vehicle and then carry it to my apartment up the stairs. Too much hard work, that.

Now, the bad. Despite all these good points, i still have a few pretty strong reasons why online shopping doesn’t really work for me. (In fact, i placed my very first online order only today and i am waiting to see how my experience goes when the supplies arrive tomorrow). Utility of online shopping aside, i think the very rush of adrenaline when you enter a supermarket and look around at neatly stacked brand new items on aisles is replaced by nothing. The joy of personally picking up items, turning them around in your hand and reading labels before you toss them into your basket is totally lost with online shopping.

i am still willing to forego the tactile experience of the real shopping world if it wasn’t for my next two problems. Online shopping is really useful when you have the whole month’s supplies to order. It is not at all ideal to order a few things that might be out of stock along the way. You have to step out right then to get them from your local store. And i actually prefer the local store that’ll help me fill that in-between gap to jing bang of online shopping. And the last of my problems is related to this very time frame. The time slots in which they deliver aren’t usually when i want them to the stuff i order. If i order this evening, i prefer to have my it latest by tonight. And not having to sit at home at some random time slot the next day when they are available to deliver. So, for their time slots to work for me, i need to plan in advance so that my things arrive before the existing stock is over. And I am not sure it is possible to do that all the time.

So, online grocery shopping has is definitely a revolution in a county full of conservative shoppers. Yet there can still be more to improve it and make get skeptics like me into its fold. i am not suggesting that my suggestions be put to practice. i am just saying that even though the concept is great, it still doesn’t completely work for me.

Long live Internet!




PS: Just an update, since this post couldn't go live last night - It's 11am and my eggs and bread from localbaniya.com haven't arrived yet forcing me to have last night's leftover pizza for breakfast. Well, the slot ends and 12.30, so fingers crossed!

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