Food Shopping in the Time of Pandemic

One would think, wouldn’t one, that during this awful Pandemic when our lives are basically “shut down,” that we might have ample time to do those chores and activities at home that we have been putting off.  Well, think again.

Cleaning out the closets to get rid of stuff from long-ago activities that were front and center in our lives 40 years ago but are no longer relevant? (Think scuba diving, tennis playing, unfinished model airplane.)  Getting rid of my old math notebooks from college?  Re-organizing the linen closet so I could actually find something I’ve been searching for?  Trying out a new recipe on paper that’s already turned yellow?  Organizing my photos in my Smart Phone?  Nope.  I have too many other things to do.  One all-consuming task is food shopping!

Early on, my husband and I made the decision to not enter stores.  Have you ever shopped for food on line? No?  What might promise to be a joyful, almost “fun” activity turns out to be way longer and more annoying than you might imagine.  Peapod!  First, I built up a cart, no easy task.  Each item requires searching for it, choosing size, weight, etc., comparing to other products of its kind by scrolling down an endless page, and, finally, checking out what they will substitute if they item is not available.  Greek yogurt for plain yogurt? No thanks!  Ring Dings for Devil Dogs?  Whole milk for skim? Nope.








The next step … and it’s a tricky one … is obtaining a date for delivery.   Yikes … earliest listing is 2 weeks out with no availability!  Every day I checked and each day disappointed to see that even tho they removed the earliest date and added another date to the end of the 2 week period, that last date is completely booked! How are these people checking in so quickly?  And how can I be one of them?

I decided to outsmart other shoppers.  Surely, there is one particular time of day when the program turns over, removing Day 1 and adding on a new day 14.  And surely the most logical time for that to happen is … midnight!

I’m up at midnight.  (Truth be told, during the Pandemic my sleeping hours are like 1 am to 11 am).  Went to the computer at 11:50 pm and refreshed every 2 minutes or so until 12:10 am … no luck!  No changeover.  I set up a plan.  If either of us were to get up (bathroom call) in the “middle” of the night we were to check the Peapod site, see if a new date popped up and select it.

I drank a full glass of water, went to sleep and sure enough, at 1:50 am woke to Nature’s call.  Peapod?  (Or should I say Peepod … LOL) SUCCESS!  A new day was added and there was ONE slot available which I took.  Wondering how all the other people beat me to better time slots, I complacently went back to sleep.

Receiving the order was a full-day activity for which we had to prepare.  Our time slot was 7:30 am to 10:30 pm (obviously they were going to fit me in when convenient to them).  The morning of the date, I checked online and they narrowed it down to 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.  Great!  We planned dinner for 6:30 and, as we were eating, the truck pulled up.  It was 6:40 pm.  Now we had to get our counters ready (sanitized and clear), our gloves on, get out my clean containers into which I would transfer the berries, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. and put all unperishables in my daughter’s old room, our “storage” room.  Alcohol wipes for packages and jars, etc.  Of course, we got no toilet paper, no Clorox wipes, no DW soap, no paper towels and, to my husband’s dismay, no Devil Dogs.  Exhausted after all that, we broke open our newly acquired Cherry Garcia ice cream and had a treat.  That’s it for another 2 weeks or so!

My next blog will address other activities that have consumed my days…. Stay tuned for more.


  1. Maureen Jackson

    I feel your pain! Same process here in Florida! Although Publix uses Instacart (and add fees!) i am able to get my order the next day an I can choose a 2 hour window time period ! But I like food shopping and miss the aisle walks and the touching of items and reading labels! Picking out produce is a particular joy; the smell, the texture the colors!! I really miss it!

    • I agree with you totally, Mo. At lease half of my food shopping is spent reading labels!

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